NSERC Funds Six New Industry Chairs at UofA
By Richard Cairney
Edmonton—The University of Alberta Faculty of Engineering announced the establishment of six new industrial research chairs on November 30, capitalizing on research and teaching leadership in areas as diverse as oil sands water treatment and decision-making tools for the construction industry.
The research chairs are funded through a unique partnership between the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the university an industrial and government partners, representing a total investment of $14.2 million.
Dean of Engineering David Lynch said the announcement of six NSERC Industrial Research Chairs at once is unprecedented. The announcement brings the number of NSERC research chairs in the U of A Faculty of Engineering to 16, a figure that on its own tops any other entire university in the country.
Lynch said these kinds of partnerships are the key to having a successful “triple bottom line” that considers the environment, the economy and society.
“It is through these kinds of collaborations that these three elements come together,” he said.
Suzanne Fortier, president of NSERC, described the Faculty of Engineering professors appointed to the research chair positions as “exceptional” researchers.
“You are a very select group,” she said. “The bar is set very high; you have to be leaders in the world in your area you need to work with others and you need to create a high quality learning environment.”
Fortier toured research labs throughout the day and said she was impressed not only by the research programs but also by the enthusiasm and talents of students—in most cases graduate students—working in the labs.
“At any given moment there will be 100 students working on the projects we are announcing today,” she said. “We have very high expectations of you.”
U of A president Indira Samarasekera praised the researchers and students for their achievements.
“It is your work that exemplifies the strength of the University of Alberta Faculty of Engineering.”
Research chairs announced are:
Mohamed Al-Hussein: NSERC Industrial Research Chair in the Industrialization of Building Construction
Tayfun Babadagli: NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Unconventional Oil Recovery
Mohamed Gamal El-Din: NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Oil Sands Tailings Water Treatment
Aminah Robinson Fayek: NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Strategic Construction Modeling and Delivery
Biao Huang: NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Control of Oil Sands Processes
Subir Bhattacharjee: NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Water Quality Management for Oil Sands Extraction
Three NSERC Research chairs in the Faculty of Engineering have also been renewed this year:
Simaan AbouRizk: NSERC/Alberta Construction Industry Senior Industrial Research Chair in Construction Engineering and Management
John Shaw: NSERC/Petroleum Industry/AI-EES Senior Industrial Research Chair in Petroleum Thermodynamics
Steven Kuznicki: NSERC/NOVA Chemicals/ Senior Industrial Research Chair in New Microporous Molecular Sieve