UNB researcher given funding boost

A University of New Brunswick professor has received $140,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to advance his research.

Dr. P. Thayyil Jayachandran, UNB physics professor and principal investigator for the Expanded Canadian High-Arctic Ionospheric Network (ECHAIN), was recognized through the foundation’s Leaders Opportunity Fund.

The funding will be used to add 15 Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers to the existing network of GPS receivers and radars of the Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Network (CHAIN). The data will contribute significantly to the progress of space research by providing a better understanding of the processes in the Sun-Earth system.

“It is well documented that the processes in the Sun-Earth system, such as solar flares and storms, affect satellite and radio communications, navigation systems, aviation safety, electrical power grids, and even our climate,” Dr. Jayachandran said. “As our modern society depends increasingly on space technologies, understanding of solar-terrestrial interaction has significant economic and societal relevance. Understanding how these processes will affect technological systems will enable us to predict and mitigate these adverse effects. This funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation will allow us to do exactly that.” 

Through the forecasting of space weather and mitigating its effects on GPS-based navigation systems, ECHAIN research will provide the basis for future planning of navigation systems. It will also help mitigate the impact of harmful effects of solar and magnetospheric storms on energy distribution and radio communications infrastructures.

“This latest funding announcement from the Canada Foundation for Innovation speaks to the national calibre of our researchers at the University of New Brunswick and the importance of their work,” said Greg Kealey, UNB Provost and Vice-President (Research). “The foundation awarded $1.5 million to eight CFI projects at UNB in 2010-2011, and we are grateful for its continued support of our people.”

“Canadian communities are benefiting from the high-paying jobs created through innovation and research,” said Member of Parliament for Fredericton Keith Ashfield.  “Investments in research and development are ensuring that our scientists – and the businesses they support and start – can compete globally.”

The CFI’s funding is awarded through a rigorous, objective, merit-based funding competition process. A full list of the funded projects is
available online www.innovation.ca.

About the Leaders Opportunity Fund

The Leaders Opportunity Fund (LOF) is designed to help
universities attract and retain the very best of today’s and tomorrow’s
researchers at a time of intense international competition. To this end, the
LOF offers universities the opportunity to:

  • acquire infrastructure for their leading research faculty to
    undertake cutting-edge research;/li>
  • create competitive packages of research support in the form of infrastructure and a portion of the operating and maintenance costs from the
    CFI, coupled with direct research costs from partner organizations.

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Gavin
Communications and Marketing
University of New Brunswick
506-453-4990
jgavin@unb.ca

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