Program funds university research

Last Wednesday Minister of State (Science and Technology) Gary Goodyear announced $159 million in funding for Canada Research Chairs (CRC). A total of 181 chair positions were either awarded or renewed at 45 Canadian universities.

Laurier scientists Mark Eys and Ashley Ward were among those newly appointed as tier two chairs. Each scientist will receive $100,000 annually and will hold their positions for five years. There is an opportunity for a one-term renewal.

Established in 2000, CRC is a government program that funds research in Canadian universities. The aim of the program is to attract and retain the finest scientists from around the world, helping Canada to become a leading country in research and development.

According to the CRC website, chairs are selected based on a university’s nomination of researchers who reflect its “strategic research plan” and whose work is exceptional and innovative.

“The idea is to help you build on existing strength,” said Paul Maxim, associate vice-president of research at Laurier. “We have to identify the area of strength for the university and the candidates have to have an element of excellence and promise.”

Maxim believes that the newly appointed chairs will of great benefit to Laurier. “Both of [the scientists’ research] have financial consequences and well as quality of life consequences.”

Maxim speaks very strongly of the CRC program and the potential it has to benefit not only universities but also the entire country.

“The federal government is to be congratulated on maintaining this program … it’s definitely made a contribution to Canada’s capacity to perform cutting edge research.”

Mark Eys: Group Dynamics and Physical Activity Chair

Eyes, who is cross appointed to the kinesiology and physical education and psychology programs at Laurier, research focuses on how group dynamics influence physical activity, with particular emphasis on how to translate active childhoods into active adulthoods.

“My interest and belief is that the group is a very powerful influence on everybody, but especially with youth, and that if their group experiences are positive then they’ll stick with [physical activity],” said Eys.

“We can use the group as a method through which we can keep kids active and ultimately their adult selves later.”

Eys, who also receives funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, is optimistic about his position as research chair and hopes to utilize the role to the best of his ability.

“I think the expectations are to help continue what Laurier is trying to do, which is to become a more of a research institution.”

Ashley Ward: Animal behaviour

A current senior research fellow at the University of Sydney, Ward will be joining Laurier’s biology department next summer.

Ward is helping to build an expertise in the area of fish research, and focuses his research on how pollutants interfere with the communication process between fish.

Chair funding by province

$48.5
million to Ontario

$48.1
million to Quebec

$22.2
million to British Columbia

$14.7
million to Alberta

$5.3
million to Nova Scotia

$4.8
million to Manitoba

$4.2
million to Saskatchewan

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