New Canada Research Chairs

By Bonnie Leung

Ready for more research? Five additional Canada Research Chairs have been appointed at the University of Calgary, bringing the total to 30 chairs awarded to date.

The crc Program was established in 2000 by the Canadian Government to provide $900 million to 2,000 university and hospital researchers across Canada.

"The key objective of the crc Program is to enable Canadian universities to achieve the highest levels of research excellence," said Research Administrator Anne Jaggard. "[It allows universities] to become world-class research centres in the global, knowledge-based economy."

U of C President Dr. Harvey Weingarten agreed.

"It is important to use resources like the crc Program to reinforce academic priorities at the university," he said. "The U of C is already strong in the areas of Health and Wellness, and Technologies and Information. These appointments make us stronger and ensure that our students, undergraduate and graduate, have the opportunity to learn from the very best."

Newly appointed Canadian Research Chair and microbiologist Dr. Michael Surette hopes these positions will help U of C’s reputation as a research university.

"The program is designed to retain and recruit top researchers," he said. "This has the positive effect of strengthening the research community at universities, making it a more attractive place for others."

The appointments also provide opportunities for students.

"I believe that it is important for students that their institutions support leading edge research," said Surette. "The education programs must reflect the rapid changes occurring today in all research fields. This is important for [students in] both undergraduate and graduate levels."

Dr. Michal Okoniewski from electrical engineering was also appointed and is excited about the opportunity.

"I feel great," he said. "I’m ecstatic and enthusiastic. It’s the kind of thing that wants you to do more, [to make you] want to work even harder."

Other new chair holders at the U of C are: Dr. Sarah McFarlane, cell biology; Dr. James McGhee, genetics; and Dr. John Watrous, information technology.

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