News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB research gets a boost from AIF funding

Author: Communications

Posted on Jan 29, 2010


Three researchers at the University of New Brunswick received a total of $5.8 million from Round VII of the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) delivered through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

For UNB researcher Kenneth Kent, this means the creation of a new centre that will work to make computer systems faster.

The demands for faster processing speeds are important today in commercial/research computing, but they have reached their practical limit. Currently, IBM, Oracle and Microsoft are racing to develop new competitive multicore solutions to achieve high-performance results.

With the AIF investment, Dr. Kent and his team will create a set of software tools and techniques to run IBM's J9 Java Virtual Machine more efficiently on massive multicore systems.

Dr. Kent said this project brings short-term and long-term opportunities to UNB. "By teaming with IBM to enhance Java Virtual Machine technologies we are providing a hands-on industrial/research learning environment and building a critical mass for the establishment of an IBM Centre of Advanced Study," said Dr. Kent. "This centre will act as a vehicle for future projects between the Faculty of Computer Science and IBM beyond the life of the AIF-funded project."

Through the creation of a Centre of Enhanced Study, in partnership with IBM, UNB will attract research and development staff to Fredericton. The centre will have approximately 20 staff and provide research opportunities to more than 20 graduate students, which will position UNB to be a world leader in research and development in Java Virtual Machine technology.

This project, with total estimated costs of $5.1 million, will receive approximately $3 million from the AIF over a four-year period.

The Round VII of AIF also funded two other UNB projects. Chris McGibbon, professor of kinesiology, received $1.9 million towards the development of a toolkit to perform the assessment of muscle impairment; Yonghao Ni, professor of chemical engineering and chemistry, and Huining Xiao, professor of chemical engineering, received $976,000 to develop new technology for the production of value-added products from hemicelluloses in pulp mill waste streams.

In addition, Andy Justason from the Centre for Nuclear Energy Research, owned by UNB and the Research & Productivity Council, was awarded $1.2 million to develop two new corrosion monitoring instruments to be used for predictive maintenance in nuclear plants and other heavy industrial facilities.

Greg Kealey, vice-president research and provost at UNB, said funding support such as the AIF is what allows UNB to be the leading research institution in the province.

"This significant investment from ACOA will allow our researchers to embark on important projects that will attract more people to Fredericton, create better opportunities for our students, and create solutions for medical, industrial and technological challenges within our nation and beyond," said Dr. Kealey. "The AIF is one of ACOA's most creative and innovative programs and has brought universities and the private sector together in creative relationships to develop the Atlantic economy."

The announcement was made this week in Moncton by Keith Ashfield, Minister of National Revenue, Minister of the ACOA and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway. It was part of a series of announcements highlighting 30 innovative R&D projects selected from across Atlantic Canada that will benefit from AIF support available under Round VII of the program.

"Productivity and innovation are key factors in Canada's economic success," said Minister Ashfield. "The Atlantic Innovation Fund is an important catalyst for building research and development capacity in our region. This latest round of funding ensures that more research will continue to be undertaken, and more innovative ideas commercialized, so that Atlantic businesses continue to grow, adapt, diversify and become more competitive."

Under Round VII of the AIF, research and development across Atlantic Canada is benefiting from a federal investment of $62.4 million, $19.6 of which will be invested right here in New Brunswick.

Established in 1785, UNB is one of the oldest public universities in North America. With more than 12,500 students from more than 100 countries, UNB has the best student-to-faculty ratio of Canada's comprehensive universities, according to Maclean's magazine. As the largest research institution in New Brunswick, UNB conducts over 75 per cent of the province's university research. The university has more than 3,500 faculty and staff, and an annual operating budget of more than $160 million. UNB's two main campuses are located in Fredericton and Saint John, New Brunswick.


Natasha St. Pierre, Communication Officer (506) 458-7969