Government of Canada invests $341,000 in discovery research at StFX

Pictured is the presentation of StFX initiatives to engage youth in science and increase diversity and inclusion in research. It was attended by (clockwise): Dr. Jane McMillan, Cheyla Rogers, Dr. Lisa Lunney Borden, Jennifer Fraser, Minister of Science and Sport Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Dr. Truis Smith-Palmer, and Central Nova MP Sean Fraser.

ANTIGONISH: Fresh ideas have the power to change the way we view the world and can lead to discoveries that will help solve some of our biggest challenges.

Sean Fraser, Member of Parliament for Central Nova, highlighted the $341,000 funding that’s in support for discovery research at StFX, and was part of an unprecedented investment of more than $588 million through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Discovery Grants Program.

“As a proud StFX Alum, it is exciting to see this meaningful investment in the research community on campus,” Fraser said. “These research grants are helping the faculty at StFX discover the solutions to our world’s greatest problems, and at the same time, putting people to work in our community.”

The program’s funding, which is part of the historic $4 billion for research committed in Budget 2018, will also support graduate scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships for students in natural sciences and engineering.

Three researchers and two graduate students at St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) working in areas including earth sciences, chemistry, human kinetics and computer science have secured federal funding.

StFX Chemistry graduate student Dreenan Shea received a Canada Graduate Scholarship worth $17,500 over one year to support her research on nanoparticle materials for the photodegradation of pollutants and biomass waste. Sean Freeborn, a new StFX graduate student in Earth Sciences, has received a Canada Graduate Scholarship worth $17,500 over one year to support his research on magmatism and the evolution of mountain-building.

Dr. Melanie Lam in Human Kinetics has received $127,500 over five years for an exploration of the behavioural, electrophysiological, and neural mechanisms underlying joint action. Dr. Jacob Levman, Canada Research Chair in Bioinformatics within Computer Science has received $127,500 over five years to develop methods for reliable machine learning with applications in medical imaging. Dr. David Risk received $51,000 for a one year project to study thermogenic methane distribution, sources, and drivers in the MacKenzie Delta region.

“NSERC Discovery Grants, as well as NSERC scholarships and fellowships provide a critical underpinning for diverse university research and student researcher training across all science and engineering disciplines,” Dr. Richard Isnor, Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies, StFX University said. “This NSERC funding ensures that our faculty members and students are able to stay at the forefront of Canadian research efforts in the natural and physical sciences.”

This funding will go to more than 4,850 researchers and students across the country as they pursue their world-leading discovery work. It also includes support for nearly 500 early career researchers who will bring a diversity of new voices and new insights to their fields.

This investment is part of Canada’s Science Vision and the Government of Canada’s commitment of more than $10 billion to science, which includes the largest-ever increase in funding for fundamental research.