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Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council invests $43 million in U of T research

176 projects and 186 students receive funding

Gary Goodyear, federal minister of state for science and technology, checks out solar energy research at U of T with grad students from Professor Ted Sargent's lab (photo by Jon Horvatin)

The Government of Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) are investing $43 million in research and scholarship at the University of Toronto.

The funding, announced May 23, will support 176 research projects and 186 students at U of T.

“Our government’s top priority is jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.  To remain at the forefront of the global economy, our government is investing in the people and ideas that will produce tomorrow’s breakthroughs,” said Gary Goodyear, federal minister of state for science and technology.  “Through these investments, we are creating the best-educated and most skilled workforce in the world.”

Goodyear made the announcement at an event held on U of T’s St. George campus.

Universities across the country will receive more than $410 million in grants and scholarships over terms ranging from one to five years.  These awards comprise the 2012 competition results for NSERC’s Discovery Grants, Discovery Accelerator Supplements, Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships, NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships, and Postdoctoral Fellowships.

“We are grateful to the Government of Canada and NSERC for this magnificent investment in our research community and our students,” said Professor Peter Lewis, associate vice-president, research at U of T.  “This funding will go directly to work that will have a tangible impact on areas that are of vital importance to global society.”

One of the recipients is Professor Ted Sargent of the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  Sargent received a Discovery Grant and a Discovery Accelerator Supplement to explore ways of harvesting solar energy.  While solar power is abundant, clean and free, it is not easy to harvest inexpensively and efficiently.  Sargent’s research will build low-cost, high-efficiency novel devices to help advance solar cell performance.

“Through these programs, NSERC provides direct support to an exceptionally strong base of scientific and creative talent in every field of the natural sciences and engineering,” said Suzanne Fortier, NSERC president. “Our scholarships and fellowships programs help us recruit and retain the bright young minds that will lead the next generation of Canadian discoverers and innovators. The flexibility and broad base of research supported by our internationally recognized Discovery Grants Program maintains our capacity to promote important breakthroughs.”

An integral component of Canada’s support for research and training excellence at Canadian universities, the Discovery Grants Program funds ongoing programs of research in every scientific and engineering discipline. Of the 2,161 recipients across the country, 125 have been identified to receive a Discovery Accelerator Supplement, in addition to their Discovery Grant.

Valued at $120,000 over three years, Discovery Accelerator Supplements are awarded to researchers whose research proposals suggest and explore high-risk, novel or potentially transformative concepts and lines of inquiry, and are likely to have impact by contributing to groundbreaking advances in the proposed areas of research.

Overall, 1,599 new NSERC scholarships and fellowships have been offered this year—consisting of the Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships, NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships and Postdoctoral Fellowships. The funding announced today offers support at the master’s, doctoral and postdoctoral levels.
 
For the lists of recipients and descriptions of projects, visit: www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca.