On January 20, 2011, seven McGill research teams received a total grant of $3 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s Strategic Project Grants program, which will be used over the next three years to “develop and enhance tools, models and mechanisms in fields of engineering and the environment.” These projects include the building of all-fibre infrared lasers and components for chemical detection application, improvement of ecosystem services, biodiversity, and landscape connectivity, quality-driven integrated system design, design of horizontal single-belt casting for the competitive manufacturing of ferrous and light metal alloy sheet material, engineering of nanostructured titania thin film electrodes for highly efficient solar energy conversion and storage systems, the study of post-earthquake functionality of schools and hospitals in Eastern Canada, and new approaches to detect and characterize environmental risks through the study of toxicity, transformations and transport of engineered nanoparticles in soils.
This grant will help the leaders of each project deal with financial and practical issues and focus on successfully reaching their goals. Professor Elena Bennett of the McGill School of Environment, emphasized that the hardest part about applying for this grant is not so much the writing, but rather finding a substantial goal that will benefit the world. While some researchers may find this process frustrating, she finds it fun, “because you get to interact with different people on things that matter.”
The grants are not awarded until October, so there remains much to prepare for. Still, despite this gradual process, the projects all seem to be well on their way. McGill researchers are honoured to have earned such national recognition.
“As ever, we are proud that McGill researchers can make such broad and important contributions to the development of knowledge in Canada as well as the economic development that flows from moving this knowledge from the laboratory to industry and to society at large,” said Rose Goldstein, McGill’s Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations).