April 21, 2000 Volume 7, Number 15


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Province contributes $1.17 million for powerful new research tools

Four U of S researchers will receive almost $1.17 million from the provincial Strategic Initiatives Fund (SIF) for research equipment.

The April 3 announcement by Saskatchewan Economic and Co-operative Development Minister Janice MacKinnon will match federal funding of $920,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) for three of the projects.

"In total, the SIF and CFI awards represent more than a $2-million investment in powerful new research equipment for the University of Saskatchewan," said Michael Corcoran, Vice-President of Research. "These awards not only pave the way for new knowledge and important discoveries but help foster a dynamic research climate on our campus."

The SIF-CFI award recipients are:

  • Ronald Miller, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, will receive $901,904 in provincial funding and a CFI contribution of $701,904 for a specialized electron microscope.

    The new Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEM) is a versatile piece of equipment that will be used by researchers in engineering, geological sciences, chemistry, physics and soil science.

    U of S researchers will be able to do high-resolution imaging to study the structure of minerals, metals, semiconductors, ceramics, polymers and biological tissues. It could lead to better welding techniques, cheaper and more effective ways to manage mining wastes, new sensors for detecting drinking water contaminants, and better films for medical X-ray machines.

  • Mark Wickstrom, associate professor at the Toxicology Centre, will receive $117,800 each from the provincial government and the CFI to establish a toxicity laboratory on campus.

    Wickson will upgrade equipment to create a state-of-the-art lab for assessing potential effects of new biotechnology and nutraceutical products. The equipment will also be used to determine toxic effects of environmental contaminants in mining and petroleum industry waste.

  • Carl Gutwin, assistant professor of computer science, will receive $99,835 each from SIF and the CFI to purchase computer hardware that allows computer users separated by long distances to work collaboratively, handling large amounts of data communicated at high speed. Computer users in a given group will be able to visualize not only the data, but also the ways that others in the work group are interacting with it. This work has implications for telemedicine and distance education.

  • SIF is also providing $50,000 to Shahab Sokhansanj, a professor in the Dept. of Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering, for a lab-scale dryer for the soon to-be-opened bioprocessing laboratory on campus. It will allow study of the drying process for grains, herbs and other agricultural materials.

Saskatchewan Economic and Co-operative Development Minister Janice MacKinnon, second from right, presents an oversized cheque for nearly $1.17 million to, from left: U of S Vic-Presiden of Research Michael Corcoran; Mark Wickstrom, Toxicology Centre; Carl Gutwin, Computer Science; Ron Miller, Mechanical Engineering; Shahab Sokhansanj, Agricultural & Bioresource Engineering; and Manon Harvey, Vice-President of Finance with the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Photo by David Mandeville

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