Queen’s researchers awarded $2 million

Canadian Foundation for Innovation Leaders Opportunities Fund supports 13 research projects

Vice-Principal (Research) Kerry Rowe says CFI provides funding for top level researchers across Canada.
Vice-Principal (Research) Kerry Rowe says CFI provides funding for top level researchers across Canada.

Thirteen Queen’s research projects will receive $2 million in funding thanks to the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Leaders Opportunities Fund.

Vice-Principal (Research) Kerry Rowe said CFI provides funding for research projects at universities across Canada.

“It is set up by the federal government and it provides funding for research infrastructure for top-level researchers in Canada.”

Rowe said the funding is used mainly to set up new research projects.

“This funding is going to support predominantly new faculty members who are joining Queen’s,” he said.

Applications sent to CFI are reviewed by field experts, Rowe said. The results of these reviews are sent back to a committee at CFI that decides which projects will receive awards.

“The money is awarded to each individual research project. Funding depends on going through a rigorous review process,” he said. “CFI funding is predominantly based on the expert reviews.

“The expert reviewers look at two things: the quality of the research proposed and the quality of the researcher. You have to be excellent at both.”

Rowe said researchers apply for both provincial and federal funding.

“The CFI actually funds 40 per cent of the overall cost. Each of these individuals applies to the provincial government as well.”

Rowe said the funding for Queen’s research projects varies each year.

“This type of funding is largely dependent on the number of people who come into the system. Most of these researchers are coming new to Queen’s and this will help them set up their labs.

“Without this support, the university doesn’t have the funds to set up these projects.”

Christopher Bowie (psychology) was granted $74,500 for research on neurocognitive impairment in individuals suffering from schizophrenia.

“This is a project that aims to study the ways neurocognitive impairment in people with schizophrenia affects them in the real world,” he said. “Neurocognition includes things like attention span, learning new information … planning and problem solving. People with schizophrenia tend to have problems in these areas persistently.”

Bowie said even with treatment, functioning day-to-day can be difficult for those suffering from schizophrenia.

“The typical treatment is called antipsychotic medication. For many people, there remain tremendous problems functioning in the community.”

Bowie said the amount of funding from the provincial government for his research hasn’t been released.

“Those funds haven’t been formally announced yet.”

Bowie said the award from CFI will be used to set up his research project at Queen’s.

“This funding will allow me to set up a lab with state of the art equipment and develop new treatments [for schizophrenia].

“I think that when I applied for funding, my confidence came from the level of excellence at Queen’s. I knew Queen’s had a high success rate,” he said. “It’s a natural progression from the work I have been doing for 10 years.”

CFI awarded grants to 12 other projects including $180,000 to Elaine Petrof (medicine) for her research on probiotics and gastrointestinal diseases and $120,000 to Paul Martin (biology) for his research on the origins of biodiversity.

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