UW among top universities shortlisted for Canada's new research program
WATERLOO - The University of Waterloo is among the top five universities in the first phase of a national competition for innovative research discoveries, with four successful proposals moving forward to the next round.
Forty proposals, submitted by 17 universities across Canada, were selected based on the highest standards of research excellence for the Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) program. A total of 41 universities submitted 135 proposals for funding under the program, launched last September.
"The university is gratified to see our research strengths recognized by having so many proposals advanced in what is proving to be a highly competitive selection process," said David Johnston, president of the University of Waterloo. "We'd also like to commend the other top-ranked universities and the federal government involved in fostering innovative ideas that can improve Canada's economic competitiveness.
The universities of Alberta and Toronto were shortlisted for five chairs. British Columbia, McGill and Waterloo are the only universities with four proposals moving forward.
The universities will now nominate world-class researchers for the second phase of the competition. Up to 20 successful chairholders, and their research teams, will each receive up to $10 million over seven years to establish ambitious research programs in Canada.
The four finalist proposals from Waterloo are:
* Canada Excellence Research Chair in Ecohydrology: Sustainable Groundwater Management for Aquatic Ecosystem Health
Canadians have a growing reliance on groundwater for domestic supply, industrial and agricultural production and energy extraction. As a result, sustainability of supply has become an issue of national concern. Current regulations and policies generally require that in order to meet the goals of sustainability, the use of groundwater must not have a significantly adverse effect on aquatic ecosystems.
But the science necessary to understand the complex interactions between groundwater discharge and ecosystem health is in its infancy. This chair, with its multi-disciplinary research program, aims to fill this knowledge void of the natural environment. The results will assist water managers to make science-based decisions concerning groundwater allocations.
* Canada Excellence Research Chair in Experimental Quantum Information Processing
Quantum information processing holds the promise of an emerging technology that could lead to immensely powerful computers and unbreakable data security. This promise has already prompted massive worldwide research efforts. The Institute for Quantum Computing at UW has become a global leader in this field.
The creation of this chair would lead to the development of the first generation of quantum-enabled devices and practical quantum cryptographic technologies. It would also cement Canada's long-term research leadership in quantum information processing and would provide training for the first generation of highly-qualified quantum-enabled experts, allowing Canada to realize the enormous benefits inherent in this new technology.
* Canada Excellence Research Chair in Green Mechatronic Automobiles
In order to survive, Canada's automotive industry will need to quickly adapt to the electrification of vehicles, as mechanical components are replaced with smarter, lighter, greener mechatronic systems. This chair would address this rapid technological change, advancing sensing, embedded software, hybrid drive train and mechatronics engineering.
The chair would focus on integrating reliable automotive mechatronics system -- a key requirement for the next generation of green, intelligent vehicles. This effort, undertaken with the full support of industry and within Canada's largest automotive university research cluster, will position Canada as a world automotive leader.
* Canada Excellence Research Chair in Integrated Wireless Communication Technology
Global wireless communication is continuing to grow exponentially. Demand is intensifying for secure, highly mobile systems that transfer tremendous amounts of data at increasingly high speeds. Next-generation wireless systems (fourth-generation and beyond) are now being developed to address future needs.
Building on the outstanding relevant research capacity, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation at UW, this chair would transform telecommunication by integrating research on hardware, systems and networks to develop future wireless systems. This key opportunity would capitalize on existing research infrastructure and drive Canada's leadership in information and communication technology for years to come.
The CERC program provides prestigious awards to Canadian universities to help them attract and support world-class researchers in four research areas of strategic importance to Canada: environmental sciences and technologies; natural resources and energy; health and related life sciences and technologies; and information and communication technologies.