UNB News
News and stories from one of Canada’s top universities

UNB expertise and innovation supported by new funding

Author: Jeremy Elder-Jubelin

Posted on Aug 29, 2023

Category: UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John

The Government of Canada will provide more than $2.25 million in financial support for research at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). The government announced the funding bundle on August 29, which comprises 48 separate grants from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

NSERC’s support includes 13 new Discovery Grant awards, which fund the development of long-term, innovative, fundamental research programs; extension funding for 27 previously announced projects affected by the COVID-19 pandemic from NSERC; two new Research Tools and Infrastructure grants for specialized research equipment; and one new Ship Time grant to support research onboard ocean-going vessels.

“We are grateful to our federal funders for their continued support of our institution’s researchers,” said Dr. David MaGee, UNB’s vice-president (research). “Their support enables UNB’s scholars to understand our world and to make a positive impact on it. Congratulations to all the recipients; I look forward to seeing the results of your hard work.”

Support for research facilities and capabilities

Four new research facilities at UNB will also get off the ground thanks to support from the CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund.

UNB’s Dr. Argyri Panezi, Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Digital Information Law and Policy, has been awarded $75,000 through a CFI – CRC joint initiative. The funding will support Panezi’s newly established Legal Innovation Laboratory.

Dr. Jan-Hendrik Pöhls, an assistant professor of chemistry, has been awarded $172,500 toward the establishment of his Automated Quantum Materials Laboratory for Energy Recovery and Generation. The lab will design innovative, green quantum thermoelectric materials that can convert heat into electricity. The laboratory has also received $150,000 in support from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) and financial support from UNB.

Dr. Alla Gagarinova, an assistant professor of biology specializing in molecular genetics, will receive $172,500 to help establish the UNB Functional Genomics Centre. The centre will advance knowledge and training in cutting-edge biological research, with a specific focus on developing novel therapies for hard-to-treat bacterial infections. Gagarinova’s research lab has also received $150,000 from NBIF and $46,944 from UNB.

Dr. Kurt Samways, Parks Canada Research Chair in Aquatic Restoration, along with co-applicants associate professor Dr. Kim Davies and assistant professor Dr. Rebekah Oomen, of biological sciences, have been awarded $150,000 to support their applied research into the ecology and conservation of endangered species in coastal and marine systems. UNB has provided an additional $43,090 to support this research.

Two additional research labs have also received specialized infrastructure support from NSERC: Dr. Usha Kuruganti, professor of kinesiology and co-director of the Andrew and Marjorie McCain Human Performance Laboratory, has been awarded $72,500 for new human movement analysis equipment; and Dr. Alex Zimmer, assistant professor of biological sciences, will receive $87,600 in support of specialized instruments for genetic and molecular analysis of fish.

Support for research excellence in the social sciences and humanities

Dr. Scott Ronis, a professor of psychology, has been awarded an SSHRC Insight Grant valued at $98,935. Working with fellow UNB researcher, Dr. Lucia O’Sullivan, and colleagues at Indiana University and the University of Huddersfield, Ronis will lead three interrelated projects that seek to better understand the experiences and viewpoints of the non-offending partners of convicted and suspected sexual offenders. According to Ronis, this population is under-researched, and as a result, there are significant gaps in mental health supports available to, and judicial interactions with, these individuals.