March 4th 2021- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced more than $518 million in research infrastructure funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).
The funding will support 102 state-of-the-art projects at 35 post-secondary institutions and research hospitals across the country, and will help Canada remain at the forefront of exploration, innovation and discovery. Two projects led by Queen’s researchers have received close to $10 million to significantly advance their research. Queen’s is also a collaborator on a third project, led by Carleton University.
“Canada's researchers and scientists are some of the brightest and most skilled in the world," said Trudeau. "Today’s investments will ensure that they have what they need to help us build a Canada that is healthier, cleaner, and more competitive.”
The funding will be used for infrastructure that will help to combat climate change, treat cancer, and understand the fabric of the universe.
“This support will allow Queen’s to build on exceptional international strengths and have a direct impact on how we live and understand the world around us," said Dr. Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice Principal (Research) at Queen's University. “Thank you to the Government of Canada for investing in the tools that advance research.”
The Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) and Queen’s researcher Annette Hay (Medicine) and Jonathan Bramson, of McMaster University, have received CFI support of more than $5 million for their project to develop a national cellular therapy translational research platform, the first of its kind globally. ExCELLirate Canada: Expanding CELL-based Immunotherapy Research Acceleration for Translation and Evaluation is a collaboration between Queen’s, McMaster University, University of Calgary, University of Ottawa, Université de Montréal, and Canadian Blood Services. CFI funds will support research activities from novel cell therapy development to point-of-care cell manufacturing and multi-centre clinical trial testing for cancer treatment. This project aims to develop cell therapies as safe and viable treatment options through identifying biological mechanisms affecting safety and designing cost-effective methods for the harvest, expansion, manipulation, purification, and delivery of the cells.
Queen’s civil engineering researchers Andy Take, Canada Research Chair in Geotechnical Engineering, and Ian Moore, Canada Research Chair in Infrastructure Engineering, are aiming to improve the future resiliency of Canada’s civil engineering infrastructure in the face of climate change with their project CASTLE. The Climate Adaptive infraStructure Testing and Longevity Evaluation (CASTLE) Innovation Cluster is a collaboration between Queen’s and the Royal Military College of Canada, which received close to $4.5 million in funding from CFI. As Canada’s landmass spans diverse geographic regions, current and future infrastructure must be made resilient against the unique impacts of climate change affecting remote northern regions to southern urban centres. The objectives for CASTLE are to improve storage of mine waste, ensure safety and improve resilience of transportation infrastructure, such as roads, railways, and pipes, and coastal defense structures, as well as ports and harbours, against the direct and triggered geotechnical hazards of climate change.
In furthering Canada’s leadership in the field of dark matter, Queen’s is a collaborator on a project to develop the next generation liquid argon dark matter detector and an underground argon storage facility at SNOLAB. Understanding the nature of dark matter, which makes up 85 per cent of the universe, is one of science’s unsolved mysteries. This project will include upgrades to the DEAP-3600 experiment, contributions to the Darkside-20k experiment, and the development of the ultimate ARGO detector at SNOLAB. By enabling further scientific discovery at SNOLAB, the location where Queen’s researcher Arthur McDonald conducted his Nobel Prize winning research, this project has the potential to develop technical and commercial innovations in digital light sensors and offer training opportunities to junior researchers and students.