Scholars pull in major NSERC grants

UBC researchers have been awarded over 175 research grants in the annual competition of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

"UBC is very well represented in the new research grants and scholarships awarded in B.C., which total $47.6 million for 327 research projects and 190 young researchers in the province," says Bernard Bressler, vice-president, Research.

"We continue to maintain our competitive position due to the extremely talented and dedicated research community at UBC," says Bressler. "The fact that so many young researchers were funded is a very positive signal for future success."

Among the major grants awarded to the university are two equipment grants to the Chemistry Dept. for 400-megahertz NMR spectrometers.

"It's the most powerful tool available to characterize molecules in solution," says Chemistry Prof. Raymond Andersen who successfully applied for a $757,049 grant. "It will be a core facility utilized by many people in both organic and inorganic chemistry."

A research group led by Pathology and Chemistry Prof. Colin Fyfe will receive $745,980 for a similar spectrometer.

"Our group will use it to investigate chemical structures of new solid structures such as ceramics, catalysts and plastics," says Fyfe. "The spectrometer also acts as a microscope for magnetic resonance imaging."

The Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, directed by Nassif Ghoussoub, has been awarded a $600,000 institutes research grant.

Two UBC faculty members in Physics and Astronomy, Assoc. Prof. Janis McKenna and Asst. Prof. Christopher Hearty will share in a $650,000 sub-atomic physics grant with five other researchers across Canada. They are involved in an international research project in elementary physics, which includes over 500 scientists.

Commerce Prof. Tae Oum will improve tools and models to forecast future flight demand for airlines.

Assoc. Prof. Carlos Ventura and his colleagues in Civil Engineering have been awarded a grant to upgrade the simulator in the Earthquake Engineering Research Laboratory, used to research how to build safer structures and retrofit existing ones.

Psychology Prof. James Enns will explore the processes between the eye and the brain that lead to perception.

For more information on UBC's NSERC research grants check the Web site,