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UNB research in cybersecurity, healthcare, earth sciences and more receives new federal funding

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Mar 13, 2024

Category: UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton

Researchers at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) have been awarded nearly $5.5 million in financial support from Canada’s federal funding agencies. The funding was announced as part of a national announcement that included more than $1.7 billion in support for 7,700 researchers and projects across Canada.

“Congratulations to all of the researchers awarded funding in this announcement,” said Dr. David MaGee, UNB vice-president (research). “I am, once again, impressed by the success of our community and the calibre of their work, and reassured about our ability to create more vibrant, sustainable and positive futures for our institution, our communities and our world.”

UNB’s cybersecurity research leadership has been reaffirmed with the renewal of a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC). Dr. Ali Ghorbani (PhD’96), professor of computer science and director of UNB’s Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity, will continue as CRC in Cybersecurity for a second seven-year term.

Two new projects have been funded under the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Insight Development Grants program.

Dr. Sarah Balcom (MN’14, PhD’20) and Dr. Pamela Durepos, both assistant professors of nursing in Fredericton, will receive $59,982 to examine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on workload equity among healthcare workers.

The research team will try to better understand the broader impact of increased workloads and short staffing among nurses, including labour retention and perceptions of fairness. Their research will provide new insights and recommendations for policymakers and professional associations, among others, ultimately seeking to improve the healthcare system for the people who use it.

In Saint John, Dr. Patrick Eldridge, associate professor of philosophy, has been awarded $31,307 for his Intersubjective Remembrance Project. In this project, Eldridge seeks to better understand how people and communities together remember and interpret individual memories and collective pasts. This, he hopes, will not just advance philosophical scholarship but also provide relevant insights as we navigate reconciliation, public apologies, and other reckonings with our history.

UNB researchers will also receive new support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) through their participation in two collaborative projects.

UNB has been awarded $275,000 from the CFI toward its contribution to the consortium-led High-altitude Aerosols, Water vapour, and Clouds (HAWC) satellite mission. UNB’s instrument lead role, headed up by Dr. William Ward, professor of physics, and Dr. Jeffery Langille (BSc’07, MSc’10, PhD’15), research scientist, was previously announced in October of last year. The HAWC mission is Canada’s contribution, with an estimated value of more than $200 million, to the larger, NASA-led Atmosphere Observing System mission.

Dr. Gobinda Saha, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of UNB’s Nanocomposites and Mechanics Laboratory, will lead UNB’s participation in the Canadian Alliance in Cold Spray Technology (CACST), a multi-institutional collaboration led by the University of Waterloo. With a total project value anticipated at more than $21 million across all institutions, the CACST will endeavour to accelerate and maintain Canada’s global leadership in this innovative advanced materials and manufacturing field.

Cold spray technology uses finely powdered materials, such as metals, ceramics and polymers, which are sprayed onto a surface at supersonic speeds using an inert, pressurized gas. This process rapidly builds up thin layers of the material in an environmentally friendly, highly controlled way, and can be used for surface coatings, component repair and 3D printing of complex objects. Saha and his team have been awarded $1,275,000 in funding toward the $8 million UNB portion of the project.

Saha’s research into cold spray technologies will also be supported by a new NSERC Alliance grant. He has been awarded $299,440 in funding for a project in which he and his team will investigate the fluid erosion and dynamic fatigue characteristics of high-pressure cold sprayed aerospace gas turbine engines.

Advancing propulsion system technology is also the subject of a second Alliance grant awarded to a UNB researcher. Dr. Andrew Gerber (BScE’87, PhD’95), professor of mechanical engineering, has been awarded $544,000 for his project examining how combining the design of hull-form and energy saving devices with propeller shape optimization can yield improved performance for oceangoing vessels.

Dr. Brian Hayden, assistant professor of biology, has also been awarded an Alliance grant of $136,700 to study how we can use knowledge of the ecological response to previous climate changes to predict future ecosystem changes in the Canadian Arctic.

In addition to these three UNB-led projects, Dr. Janice Lawrence, associate professor of biology, will receive $196,200 in funding as part of a new project led by researchers at Dalhousie University. Their project seeks to understand the prevalence and risks posed by toxic cyanobacteria — also called blue-green algae — in Nova Scotia’s waters.

More than 30 emerging researchers will also receive more than $1.2 million in support from the federal research tri-agencies through scholarships and fellowships. The recipients include 33 graduate students and one postdoctoral fellow who are undertaking work in areas ranging from the colonial history of Canada to addressing trauma and violence in our communities, to making transportation more accessible, to ocean mapping, to creating and understanding Canadian literature, and more. Through their work, these scholars will advance their careers and our ability to understand our past, improve our present and create our future.

The Government of Canada’s announcement also included institutional funding granted under its Research Support Fund (RSF) and associated programs. These funds support the indirect costs of research, such as infrastructure and administration, enabling institutions including UNB to better support the important and impactful work of their research communities.

Related: Government of Canada renews UNB Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity

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