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Connecting Our Communities

Local universities benefit from $3.8 million in research funding

Province provides grants in support of 33 projects at the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University

Local researchers got a boost last week in the form of $3.8 million in new funding from the province. The money will support 33 projects at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University.

The funding came February 28 as area MPPs toured a UW lab.

Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris, Kitchener South-Hespeler MPP Amy Fee and Cambridge MPP Belinda Karahalios were at the University of Waterloo’s School of Pharmacy to announce investments in projects at UW and WLU.

“It’s just making sure that we’re providing continued support to our fantastic researchers,” said Harris. “Obviously a lot of them live locally, (and) are from Waterloo Region. We really want to highlight the great work that they’re doing.”

Harris said both universities are at the leading edge of some research, and the government wants to enable them to continue to do the best they can.

In total $3,817,561 is being invested between the two universities, with $3,570,565 going to the University of Waterloo to support 29 projects and $246,996 going to WLU to support four projects.

The funding is part of a $38-million investment in 183 projects across the province through the Ontario Research Fund. Last year, the government invested $41 million, with $3.2 million going to local postsecondary institutions.

Projects that stood out to Harris include research into autonomous vehicles and examining the effects of climate change on lake ice in the far north.

Sandra Banks, UW’s vice-president of university relations, said the school is grateful to the government assisting its research efforts.

“Researchers at the University of Waterloo are driving tremendous impact through transformational research and innovation,” said Banks. “Waterloo’s focus on excellence and industry collaboration also means that our researchers work alongside local companies to spur economic development in Waterloo Region and across Ontario. I’d like to thank the government of Ontario for their support which allows Waterloo researchers to turn breakthroughs into tangible benefits for all Ontarians.”

She was joined by WLU’s vice-president of research, Jonathan Newman, in welcoming the assistance.

“Laurier researchers tackle some of the most complex issues facing our society today. This funding will directly support and enhance our studies of the brain, the effects of climate change on Arctic lake ice, green buildings and big data in policing. We are grateful to the government of Ontario for this substantial investment in Laurier’s world-class research,” he said in a statement.

Harris noted more announcements are coming soon, including one at the University of Guelph, adding projects such as these can have the biggest impact on the economy of Waterloo Region, paying future dividends to smaller communities.

The Ontario Research Fund is part of the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. There are four streams in the fund and most projects are chosen by peer review.


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