University looks to acquire research funding

Ontario government will grant $190 million to universities to increase employment

The University could receive a portion a $190-million research fund, set to attract scientists and create jobs over the next six years.

The announcement was first made in Toronto last week. On Monday, the Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation, visited Queen’s to reiterate the announcement.

Minister Moridi was accompanied by the Honourable John Gerretsen, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, and welcomed to Queen’s by Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research), and Praveen Jain, a professor in the department electrical and computer engineering.

The funding will go to two Ontario Research Fund programs and will support research programs across Ontario universities.

$65 million will go to the Research Excellence program, and $125 million will go to the Research Infrastructure program.

In order to receive funding, a researcher must go through a thorough application process and peer-to-peer evaluation.

Jain is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Power Electronics and Director of the Queen’s University Centre for Energy and Power Electronics Research (ePOWER). Jain is hoping secure a portion of the funds.

“This funding is going to help me,” Jain said.

“I have a fairly large group of students and researchers here as part of ePOWER … so that funding will help to maintain this centre and conduct research in energy expediency and renewable energy power sources.”

Steven Liss, an internationally-recognized researcher in environmental biotechnology and engineering, and applied microbiology, told the Journal that the program will help support research at the University.

“[The] program has been reinvested in, and that has provided significant operating monies … supporting all the operating aspects of conducting research programs in key areas,” Liss said.

Some examples, he said, include the fuel cell research center at Queen’s, Jain’s lab and ePOWER.

Liss said that Ontario accounts for about 40 per cent of Canadian research investments.

He said that despite a constantly changing economy and the increasing costs of public institutions such as healthcare and education, Ontario continues to be a strong supporter of research.

Comments from the Ministry of Research and Innovation said that the Research Excellence program resulted in 64 spin-off companies employing over 570 people. The Research Infrastructure program trained over 20,000 people, resulting in 86 spin-off companies and over 5,000 jobs.

“The province is very much an equal partner and a strong contributor to advancing research excellence and keeping our universities at the cutting edge of world-class research,” Liss said.

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