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Lakehead Researcher Awarded CFI Funding: Laboratory upgrades foster research to protect Canada’s waterways

(December 16, 2009 – Thunder Bay, ON) Lakehead University researcher, Dr. David Law, has been awarded a Leaders Opportunity Fund valued at $171,621 by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).  Funding will offset costs associated with upgrading equipment and aquatic facilities in the Lakehead University Aquatic Research Laboratory, where Dr. Law and his colleagues conduct research to help protect the health of Canadian waterways.   

Collectively, Dr. Law and his fellow researchers are interested in identifying compounds in wastewater from pulp and paper and mining operations – compounds that can reduce the reproductive abilities of fish.  “By monitoring fish behaviour and gene expression, we can determine the critical concentrations of these compounds in the aquatic environment,” Dr. Law explains.  “The impacts of these compounds on fish and other species living near industries that discharge wastewater into Canadian waterways can then be identified, reported, and dealt with accordingly.

In welcoming this investment, University researchers and Administration recognize the very prominent role the CFI plays in supporting the continued growth and improvement of Lakehead’s various research facilities, and the impacts that arise as a result of the funding the CFI provides.  “The work that Dr. Law and his colleagues are conducting in the Aquatic Research Lab will be extremely helpful to many widespread industry-based organizations as they embrace more environmentally accountable approaches in their respective operations,” says Dr. Rui Wang, Vice-President (Research), Lakehead University.  This research will be especially valuable to the region given the high number of mills and plants operating in Northwestern Ontario.

The CFI continues to support cutting-edge research infrastructure that helps stimulate various sectors of our economy associated with such capital projects.  It is estimated that every dollar invested directly in research yields over $7 in economic benefits including spin-off jobs.

“The investments being announced today at Lakehead University will further enhance our country’s reputation as a destination of choice for outstanding researchers,” says Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and CEO of the CFI. “They will make our universities even more competitive when it comes to attracting the best and brightest researchers from around the world.”

Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay – Superior North, recognizes the leading role Lakehead University plays in developing and commercializing innovative technologies that contribute to the local economic diversification. “We are especially fortunate to have an aquatic research centre of such excellence in our region, one that has developed tools for both improving productivity and protecting the environment,” Hyer notes.  “Having pioneered the acute test, now used across Canada for monitoring environmental discharges, this new funding will help Lakehead facilities maintain the lead in aquatic research.”

The CFI announced a total of $59,394,902 in new funds to support 262 projects at 40 institutions across Canada. The investment was approved by the CFI’s Board of Directors in November 17, 2009, following a rigorous merit-review process. A total of $45,688,386 was awarded under the Leaders Opportunity Fund, which provides infrastructure support to Canadian institutions so they can attract and retain the very best of today and tomorrow’s leading researchers at a time of intense international competition for knowledge workers. The remaining $13,706,516 was awarded under the Infrastructure Operating Fund, a complementary program that assists research institutions with the incremental operating and maintenance costs associated with new infrastructure projects.

For a complete list of the projects awarded, please visit www.innovation.ca.

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Media: Drs. Wang and Law are available for media interview.  To arrange interview times, please contact Communications Officer Heather Scott at 807-343-8177 or commun@lakeheadu.ca; or Director of Communications Eleanor Abaya at 807-343-8372 or eabaya@lakeheadu.ca.

Bruce Hyer is also available for interview and can be reached via 613-996-4792. 

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,700 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit www.lakeheadu.ca

About the CFI:
The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI’s mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians. Since its creation in 1997, the CFI has committed almost $5.2 billion in support of more than 6,300 projects at 130 institutions in 65 municipalities across Canada.

Last updated December 16, 2009

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