News at the University of New Brunswick

UNB professor wins national innovation award

Author: Communications

Posted on Feb 27, 2012

Category: myUNB

Collaboration between industry and the University of New Brunswick has garnered national recognition and a research grant for a local professor. 

UNB Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering professor Dr. Yun Zhang has been working with PCI Geomatics since 2001. The technology they’ve developed is being used around the world by organizations such as NASA, theUnited States Geological Survey, Natural Resources Canada, Google Earth and national security and intelligence agencies.

Recently, this collaboration earned Dr. Zhang a Synergy Award for Innovation from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and a $200,000 research grant.

“The Synergy Awards for Innovation recognize outstanding achievements that have resulted from partnerships between university researchers and industry,” said Suzanne Fortier, NSERC President. “These awards honour collaboration as the foundation of achievement and highlight Canadian innovations.”

With PCI Geomatics, Dr. Zhang has created complex algorithms that can fuse images from satellites with a processing speed and image quality that’s the best in the world. The technology makes it possible for satellites to provide imagery of hard-to-reach places without being as slow, expensive and difficult to process as it has been in the past. They’ve also developed and commercialized other breakthrough technologies for colour correcting satellite images and making remote sensing imagery look more like traditional aerial photography.

This has the potential to provide more and better information to improve the safety of marine travel, protect the environment, develop resources in remote areas and respond to climate change.

“Through UNB’s partnership with PCI Geomatics, we’ve developed technology that’s addressing a wide variety of industry applications including the environment, agriculture, security and intelligence, aerospace and defence, and satellite receiving stations,” said Dr. Zhang. “We’re making a global impact and funding agencies like NSERC play a fundamental role in making that possible.”

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Gavin
UNB Communications and Marketing

About Dr. Zhang

Dr. Yun Zhang is a University of New Brunswick professor in the department of geodesy and geomatics engineering and a Canada Research Chair in advanced geomatics image processing.

With international research experience, Dr. Zhang is an inventor of two patented technologies and four patent-pending technologies. He also developed six commercially licensed technologies, and is author of more than 150 research papers.

He received a bachelor of science degree in land information and mapping from Wuhan University in 1982, a master’s degree in geography and remote sensing from the East China Normal University in 1989, and a PhD in remote sensing from the Free University of Berlin in 1997.

About NSERC and the Synergy Award for Innovation 

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 postsecondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery byfunding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging about 2,000 Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects. 

The Synergy Awards for Innovation were launched in 1995 by NSERC to recognize partnerships in natural sciences and engineering research and development between universities and industry. Since their inception, the awards have honoured the most outstanding achievements of university-industry collaboration in the natural sciences and engineering.