NSERC awards more than $3.2 million to York-led research partnerships

Funding supports projects in Brain research and Mass Spectrometry-Enabled Science & Engineering over six years

TORONTO, July 4, 2014 − Two industry-academic partnerships led by York University have received a total of $3,297,000 through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada‘s (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Grants program.

Doug Crawford, Distinguished Research Professor in the Faculty of Health’s Department of Psychology and Canada Research Chair in Visual-Motor Neuroscience, has received $1,650,000 over six years to lead The Brain in Action program. Based in York’s internationally-recognized Centre for Vision Research (CVR), the new international multidisciplinary neuroscience training program will support trans-Atlantic supervision and exchanges of graduate students and research fellows, as well as non-academic collaborations and internships.

The program aims to equip young scientists with a broad range of knowledge and skills to address the complex interplay between perception and action and to apply their findings to real-world settings. For example, some students will be studying how eye movements and vision work while walking outdoors. Non-academic internships will allow students to apply their knowledge of vision and eye-hand coordination in areas as diverse as advertising and smart phone design.

The CREATE-funded component of the Brain in Actionteam includes 11 researchers at three Canadian universities (York, Western, and Queen’s), as well as nine other academic collaborators and nine non-academic partner organizations. At York, nine professors affiliated with CVR will lend their expertise to the project. The program will enroll 12 students in its first year and 18 students in each successive year.  The Brain in Action program is also partnered with an International Research Training Group funded by the German Research Foundation, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), which includes 11 collaborators at  Philipps-Universität Marburg (UMR) and Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen (JLU).

Diethard Bohme, Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science and member of York’s Centre for Research in Mass Spectrometry, has received $1,647,000 over six years to lead the Industrial Stream CREATE Training Program in Mass Spectrometry-Enabled Science and Engineering (MS-ESE). MS-ESE is designed to enhance Canada’s global economic competitiveness by fuelling innovation in key sectors, with industrial partners in pharmaceuticals, environmental analysis, remediation security, and high tech manufacturing.

The program team includes 10 researchers at York University and the University of Toronto, as well as seven industrial partners. Seven students can be enrolled annually. The program will allow for industrial internships at both the MSc and PhD levels and provide innovative and interdisciplinary training of the next generation of scientists in mass spectrometry, a rapidly emerging field in analytical research and development in Canada. The team will also collaborate with researchers in Brazil allowing for student exchanges to take place, linked to an existing CREATE/FAPESP program, hosted by researchers in Sao Paolo and by the President of the International Society for Mass Spectrometry.

“York continues to build on its strong track record in leading large-scale, interdisciplinary collaborative research projects,” said Robert Haché, vice-president research & innovation. “The programs will provide York with an opportunity to attract excellent graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who wish to pursue careers in the applications of brain research and mass spectrometry-enabled science and engineering research. NSERC’s CREATE program strengthens the mentoring and training environment, helping to prepare Canadian researchers for their future careers.”

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York U’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York U is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York U’s 11 faculties and 27 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 288 leading universities worldwide. York U’s community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 250,000 alumni.

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Media Contact: Arielle Zomer, Research Communications, 416 736 2100 ext. 21069 / azomer@yorku.ca