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UNB researchers awarded nearly $5 million in natural sciences and engineering research funding

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Jun 14, 2024

Category: Press Releases

Researchers at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) have been awarded $4,966,756 in new research funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). The funding was announced on June 14 by the Government of Canada as part of a $693.8 million bundle.

“Funding support from our federal tri-agency partners is an important part of our community’s ability to undertake groundbreaking research,” said Dr. David MaGee, UNB’s vice-president research.

“This support also reflects the quality of the work that takes place here at UNB. Congratulations to all of our recipients today, and a special congratulations to Dr. Stijn de Baerdemacker on his renewed Canada Research Chair.”

The federal government announced support for 121 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs as part of this bundle. Included among these chairs, who represent some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds in academic research, is UNB’s Dr. Stijn de Baerdemacker. De Baerdemacker’s tenure as Canada Research Chair in Theoretical Chemistry was renewed for a second term and will continue until 2029 with $500,000 in new financial support.

The announced funding also included five-year grants for 23 new projects through the NSERC Discovery Grants program. These projects span topics from advanced nanocomposite materials and coatings, to biodiversity in marine environments and more. Six of these recipients were also awarded NSERC’s early career researcher supplement.

  • Kaveh Arjomandi, civil engineering: $155,000 for the project “Next-generation intelligent bridge digital twins harnessing multi-modal data.”
  • Hamed Asgari, mechanical engineering: $157,500 for the project “Additive manufacturing of advanced hybrid reinforced titanium-based matrix composites.”
  • Barry Blight, chemistry: $180,000 for the project “Emissive H-bonding systems & MOFs: A path to new materials.”
  • Branimir Ćaćić, mathematics and statistics: $105,000 for the project “Classical Abelian gauge theory on noncommutative manifolds.”
  • Liuchen Chang, electrical and computer engineering: $310,100 for the project “Solid-state power filters: Reducing passive components using power converters.”
  • Donglei Du, management: $155,000 for the project “Approximation algorithm design and analysis for submodular optimization.”
  • Meng Gong, forestry: $195,000 for the project “Evaluation of bond-line fracture in adhesive-laminated lumber-based mass timber products.”
  • Abdelhaq Hamza, physics: $140,000 for the project “Plasma turbulence in the earth's ionosphere: Implications and insights.”
  • Ikrema Hassan, engineering: $147,500 for the project “Electrokinetic-enhanced bioremediation of contaminated soils.”
  • Viqar Husain, mathematics and statistics: $305,000 for the project “Quantum and semiclassical physics of blackholes and cosmology.”
  • Thayyil Jayachandran, physics: $205,000 for the project “High-latitude ionosphere - instrumentation, monitoring, physics, and modelling.”
  • Zahra Khatami, electrical and computer engineering: $232,500 for the project “Nanostructures silicon-based thin films for energy and protective applications.”
  • Kalikinkar Mandal, computer science: $132,500 for the project “New efficient cryptographic methods and protocols for privacy-preserving machine learning.”
  • Rebecca Oomen, biological sciences: $272,500 for the project “The genomic architecture of adaptation with gene flow.”
  • Suprio Ray, computer science: $205,000 for the project “Scalable data systems on modern hardware for interactive analytics.”
  • Adrian Reyes-Prieto, biology: $165,000 for the project “Diversity and functional investigations of benthic microbial communities inhabiting threatened marine coastal and riverine environments.”
  • Remy Rochette, biological sciences: $235,000 for the project “Spatiotemporal trends in the abundance of American lobster in Canada: Importance of early life history success and individual phenotype.”
  • Gobinda Saha, mechanical engineering: $160,000 for the project “Nanocomposite high-entropy ceramic/alloy (HEC/A) focused novel materials design, 3D component manufacturing in high-pressure cold spraying.”
  • Gary Saunders, biology: $200,000 for the project “Biodiversity, biogeography and systematics of marine macroalgae emphasizing the Canadian flora.”
  • Taylor Steele, civil engineering: $147,500 for the project “Leveraging low-damage structures, advanced modelling, state-of-the-art sensing, and geospatial data for urban-level seismic risk assessment and mitigation.”
  • Wei Song, computer science: $145,000 for the project “Toward integrated services in 6G networks: Service provisioning technologies empowered by edge intelligence and cooperation.”
  • Ben Speers-Roesch, biological sciences: $165,000 for the project “Mechanisms and significance of thermal plasticity over rapid to seasonal time scales among fishes.”
  • Dennis Tokaryk, physics: $205,000 for the project “Laser- and synchrotron-based spectroscopy of molecules important for astrophysics and for the search for physics beyond the Standard Model.”

The bundle also included support for specialized equipment through NSERC’s Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) program. Dr. William Ward, professor of physics, was awarded $146,656 in financial support for equipment related to high-resolution interferometry for atmospheric dynamics and constituents. This equipment will primarily be used to conduct testing and research ahead of the launch of Canada’s HAWC mission, which will include some of this instrumentation in its payload.

Additionally, UNB’s Dr. Audrey Limoges, an associate professor of earth sciences, is a co-applicant on two newly funded projects: an RTI grant led by researchers at Dalhousie University, and a Ship Time grant led by researchers at the Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Media contact: Kathleen McLaughlin, Media Relations Strategist at talktous@unb.ca.