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Federal government invests in McMaster technologies

Three research teams partner with industry to develop novel solutions
Federal government invests in McMaster technologies

Ying-fu Li

Lori Dillon
February 15, 2017

Three McMaster research projects have received a combined investment of $1.68M over three years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC).  The funding, announced today by Minister of Science, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, is part of NSERC’s Strategic Partnerships Grants program.

The program brings together academic and industry partners to develop innovative solutions to address some of Canada’s biggest challenges, design new technologies and applications, increase training and create jobs.

Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences Professor, Yingfu Li, received $672,000 to develop a novel litmus paper-like sensor device, printed with bio-ink, to enable rapid and accurate detection of Legionella pneumophila – a deadly environmental pathogen found in many man-made and natural water sources.  In collaboration with Carlos Filipe (chemical engineering) and John Brennan (chemistry & chemical biology), and industry partners TGWT Clean Technologies Inc., Cytodiagnostics, and Mold and Bacterial Consulting Labs, their DNA print technology, capable of providing results in minutes, will position Canada as a leader in this field.

Andy Knights, professor of engineering physics, received $524,500 for his work on amplified Silicon Photonics (SiP).  At its most fundamental level, SiP replaces electronic with optical quanta to increase performance gains in bandwidth, cost and scalability, and has the potential to revolutionize data transfer at all distances. Together with Jonathan Bradley (engineering physics), and industry partners, Ranovus Inc. and IntlVac Canada Inc., their work will result in disruptive and transformative SiP technology that will significantly impact Canada’s ICT sector.

Rong Zheng, associate professor, computing and software, was awarded $481,700 to further her work on mobile crowdsensing.  Zheng, along with her colleagues Ruhai Wu (DeGroote School of Business) and Kui Wu (University of Victoria), and industry partners OverAir Proximity Technologies Ltd., and CompuClever Systems Inc., is developing, StareCrowd – a novel crowdsensing paradigm to facilitate sharing and aggregation of sensing and user-contributed data programmatically.  Her work addresses key roadblocks to unleashing the power of mobile crowdsensing, ultimately improving the efficiency of existing business services and enhancing Canada’s Apps economy value chain.

Rob Baker, vice-president of research, says the Strategic Partnerships Grants speak to the critical role universities play in strengthening the country’s knowledge base and keeping Canada competitive.  “I salute our researchers and their industry partners for their collective and innovative approach to tackling R&D issues, as well as NSERC for creating funding opportunities that ensure our work is relevant, timely and best serves Canadians.”

“Connecting Canada’s scientists and engineers with companies and government organizations is vital for creating new jobs and sustainable growth that support a clean, innovative society,” said Minister Duncan.  “Our government’s support for such partnerships strengthens talent in key research areas where Canada can be a world leader while simultaneously focusing on fundamental societal and economic issues that will benefit all Canadians and support a stronger middle class”.

NSERC's news release can be found here . A complete list of the awarded projects can be found here