$9.5 million funds new centre

March 18, 2004, vol. 29, no. 6
By Diane Luckow



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Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) awards worth $9.5 million will help to fund a $7.34 million centre for research in electronic materials at Simon Fraser University as well as SFU's component of a regional laser facility .

Researchers from around the world will use the new electronic materials centre to create future technologies.

These technologies could shrink the size of computers, permit rapid read-out of infectious agents (ideal for monitoring severe acute respiratory syndrome at airports) or even create new interfaces between electronic, mechanical and bio-systems that would, for example, permit the body to talk to and control artificial limbs.

SFU chemistry professor Ross Hill, the principal applicant of the $7.34 million award, says that international researchers specializing in some of the newer forms of nanotechnology, such as molecular-based devices, will be coming to the centre.

The $7.34 million award is the largest single CFI grant ever received by SFU. The remainder of the $9.5 million represents SFU's share of a CFI award assigned to UBC for a regional laser facility, called the laboratory for advanced spectroscopy and imaging research (LASIR).

In all, the CFI announced a total of $585.9 million to support 126 projects at 57 Canadian universities, colleges, hospitals and other non-profit research institutions.

“This award builds on SFU's core strengths in material science and will enable our researchers to engage in truly transformative research in this very important field,” says Bruce Clayman, SFU VP-research.

SFU's share of the LASIR CFI award will pay for state-of-the-art laser equipment and the space to house it at SFU in the new centre for research in electronic materials.

Gary Leach, the SFU chemistry professor who co-wrote the application for the LASIR award with SFU and UBC colleagues, says the joint facility will enable national and international researchers in academia and industry to pursue new science, including new frontiers in laser chemistry and spectroscopy, environmental science, materials chemistry and chemical and biological catalysis.

The new centre for electronic materials will be built adjacent to the chemistry building on the west side of the university.

Both CFI awards are contingent on the B.C. government providing matching funds.

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