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Governments, private sector back U of T research projects

Funding for ten projects tops $100 million

Graduate student Brandon Sutherland gives Ontario's minister of research and innovation a tour of Professor Ted Sargent's laboratory (photo by Jon Horvatin)

Ten research projects at the University of Toronto are now receiving more than $100 million in combined funding from governments and private sector partnerships.

That figure is the result of the latest award, an infusion of $35 million from the Ontario Research Fund (ORF) announced by Reza Moridi, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation at U of T March 15, 2013.

It’s funding that matches an award from the federal Canada Foundation for Innovation announced January 15, 2013. The money, which will go towards the purchase of infrastructure needed to support the research, builds on previously announced funds from the federal government as well as private sector and institutional investments.

“As researchers across Ontario continue to excel, their work depends increasingly on access to state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure,” said U of T president, Professor David Naylor. “We are therefore very grateful to the Province of Ontario for this forward-thinking investment. It will support world-leading innovation ranging from fundamental science in diverse disciplines to projects involving technologies that have rapid industrial applications.”

Funding for the projects includes: $35 million from CFI for purchase of infrastructure; $10.5 million from the Infrastructure Operating Fund for operating and maintenance of infrastructure; $35 million from ORF to purchase infrastructure; and $22 million from other sources such as partnerships with the private sector and institutional investments.
The U of T faculty members and research projects receiving this funding are:

• U of T Host Microbiome Research Network, Dana Philpott, Immunology
• Centre for Biofouling Control, Gilbert Walker, Chemistry
• Centre for Chemical Analysis, Andrei Yudin, Chemistry
• Development of Open-Access Research Tools for Epigenetics, Cheryl Arrowsmith, Medical Biophysics
• Nanomaterials for Energy, Ted Sargent, Edward S. Rogers Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
• Ontario Centre for Characterization of Advanced Materials, Charles Mims, Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry
• Technology and Instrument Developments for Space and Ground-based Astronomy, Dae-Sik Moon, Astronomy & Astrophysics
• Centre for the Evaluation of Technological Innovation (CETI), Murray Krahn, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
• High-Pressure Blow-Down Facility for Gas Turbine Combustion Research, Omer Gulder, University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies
• A Digital Radio Telescope for CHIME: Making a 3D Map of the Largest Volume of the Universe to Date, Ue-Li Pen, Canadian Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics

These successes are notable in terms of the national and provincial share of the awards, said Professor Paul Young, U of T’s vice president (research and innovation). He added that U of T and its partner hospitals received $35 million or 20 per cent of the $166 million awarded by the CFI in January and U of T and its partner hospitals received $35 million  or 46 per cent of the $76.4 million of the Ontario awards.

“This is a fantastic success rate and is due to the innovation and relevancy of the research and to the talented U of T faculty and staff who developed the proposals,” Young said.