World-Class Research At University Of Toronto To Help Reduce Threat Of Global Epidemics



    McGuinty Government Investing In Areas Where Ontario Can Compete and Win

    TORONTO, Feb. 5 /CNW/ - Developing a portable device that will help
prevent, identify and contain infectious diseases such as SARS, is the goal of
a new University of Toronto research project.
    The project is one of four cutting-edge research projects at the
University of Toronto to receive funding from the McGuinty government. The
government is funding the projects in partnership with industry to support the
province's top researchers in areas where Ontario can compete and win in the
global marketplace.
    Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson made the announcement
today with University of Toronto President Dr. David Naylor.

    
    Ontario is investing:

    -  More than $7 million to apply advances in nanotechnology to create a
       portable device that can quickly diagnose whether or not a person has
       an infectious disease, such as SARS -- a first step in better
       identifying, controlling and containing outbreaks

    -  More than $3 million to develop self-powered, mesh wireless networks:
       cost-effective, solar-powered wireless networks that will help make
       high-speed wireless Internet connectivity more reliable, accessible
       and affordable in urban and remote areas

    -  $5 million dollars to boost Ontario's competitiveness in the global
       market's multi-billion dollar solar industry by developing more
       advanced, efficient solar technologies

    -  $8 million to help address some of the world's most pressing and
       complex problems - such as climate change and finding a cure for
       cancer - by providing researchers with access to state-of-the-art
       high-performance computing systems.
    

    The $23.3 million for these projects is part of nearly $115 million
invested by the government to support 19 cutting-edge research projects across
Ontario. The research at universities, institutes and hospitals will receive
matching funding from 107 major industry and other partners.
    "To ensure Ontario families can compete and win in the global economy,
our government is investing in research and innovation and the skills and
knowledge of our people today," Wilkinson said. "The strong partnerships among
our top researchers, global business leaders and government will help provide
Ontarians with better healthcare services, new technologies, a cleaner
environment and more opportunities for success."
    "Today's investment builds on the considerable talent of University of
Toronto researchers to ensure this city -- and this province --maintains
leadership in growing sectors, and consistently turns global challenges into
opportunities for Ontario," said George Smitherman, MPP for Toronto Centre and
Deputy Premier. "It's part of the McGuinty government's strategy to create
tomorrow's jobs today."
    "We're delighted to thank the Ontario Government for this outstanding
support and wonderful vote of confidence," Naylor said. "This new funding not
only helps our researchers generate great new ideas. It also helps U of T to
attract and retain the brightest research talent from around the world --
people who will motivate and inspire Ontario's next generation of world-class
scientists and entrepreneurs in knowledge-based industries."
    Together, these investments form part of the McGuinty government's plan
to support research excellence that can be developed into new products and
services that will boost Ontario's economy and support Ontario families. Other
initiatives include:

    
    -  Launching the $160 million Ideas-to-Market strategy that supports
       emerging companies, which includes the Ontario Venture Capital Fund
    -  Providing a 21 per cent Capital Tax rate cut for all businesses
       retroactive to January 1, 2007, on the way to full elimination in 2010
    -  Announcing in the 2007 Fall Economic Statement an additional
       $50 million in strategic investment to further strengthen Ontario's
       environment for scientific research that will lead to new discoveries,
       higher quality of life and new jobs.

    For more information about the Ontario Research Fund, please visit
www.ontario.ca/innovation.

    Disponible en français

                          www.ontario.ca/innovation



    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


                            ONTARIO RESEARCH FUND

    The Ontario government is investing $527 million over five years through
the Ontario Research Fund to support leading-edge research and development in
Ontario's universities, institutes and hospitals, and to leverage support from
the federal government and private industry.
    The fund is a key part of the province's plan to support scientific
excellence that can be developed into innovative goods and services that will
boost Ontario's economy.

    The fund is made up of two streams:

    -  The Research Excellence program funds project operating costs, such as
       researchers' salaries
    -  The Research Infrastructure program supports the acquisition of new
       research infrastructure.

    The Ontario Research Fund is designed to provide one window for research
funding. Proposals for funding are evaluated through a competitive,
peer-review process. For more information, please visit
www.ontario.ca/innovation.

    Research Excellence Program - Round Two

    Today's announcement represents the second round of funding under the
Research Excellence program. In this round, the government is providing
$114,709,614 to support 19 projects. Funding will be matched by 107 major
industry and other partners participating in the projects.

    The research will:
    -  Support a cleaner, greener environment
    -  Support better health for Ontarians
    -  Support world-class science in a number of fields such as computing
       and astrophysics.

    Including this round of funding, the Ontario Research Fund will have
invested a total of $230 million for 45 projects and leveraged $460 million
from 280 industry and other partners.

    Disponible en français

                          www.ontario.ca/innovation



    Backgrounder
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           UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO RECEIVES $7 MILLION FOR GLOBALLY
                     SIGNIFICANT HEALTH-RELATED RESEARCH
    

    Today's announcement represents the second round of funding under the
Ontario Research Fund's Research Excellence program. In this round, the
government is providing $23,353,275 to support four world-class projects at
the University of Toronto.

    Containing Outbreaks Of Infectious Diseases
    -------------------------------------------
    Quantum Dot Diagnostics Project: Simultaneous Genomic and Proteomic
    Detection of Multiple Pathogens
    Developing a revolutionary point-of-care device for diagnosing infectious
    diseases
    Lead researcher: Dr. Warren Chan
    Total project cost: $21,945,701
    Provincial funding: $ 7,313,275

    The SARS outbreak of 2003 dramatically highlighted the threat of
infectious diseases right here in Ontario and around the world. It also
demonstrated the importance of having quick and accurate systems in place to
diagnose, treat, contain and monitor the spread of infectious diseases.
    Building on revolutionary advances in nanomaterials and biological
probes, top researchers at the University of Toronto are in the process of
developing "barcodes" for thousands of pathogens such as malaria, while
designing and testing a device that can read and interpret these barcodes.
    The goal of this project is to create an economical, portable device that
is capable of diagnosing multiple pathogens from a single sample of blood - so
that results will be available in minutes rather than hours.
    The researchers have partnered with Fio Corporation to move the research
forward quickly in order to be first to market with their device, which if
successful, promises to revolutionize current systems for monitoring,
diagnosing and containing infectious diseases around the world.

    Key private sector partners: Fio Corporation

    
    Key facts:

    -  Potential applications include hospitals and clinics as well as
       international border crossings.
    -  Currently available technology is designed to detect only a single
       infectious agent. For example, many current commercially available
       diagnostic devices for malaria can detect only a single species of
       malaria and are not suitable for use in areas where multiple species
       co-exist.
    -  This project will develop a revolutionary, portable device that is
       capable of detecting multiple infectious diseases, such as HIV, SARS,
       and hepatitis.
    -  The lead researcher, Dr. Chan, currently has a team of two other
       researchers specializing in nanotechnology. With the support from
       Ontario, he will be able to add three additional investigators
       specializing in infectious diseases to the project.
    

    Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence Program
    ---------------------------------------------------
    This second round of funding under the Research Excellence program will
invest $114,709,614 to support 19 world-class projects at nine Ontario
universities, institutes and hospitals. Funding will be matched by 107 major
industry and other partners participating in the projects.
    For more information about the Ontario Research Fund, please visit
www.ontario.ca/innovation.

    Disponible en français

    
                          www.ontario.ca/innovation



    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


                  UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO RECEIVES $8 MILLION
                   TO ENABLE GLOBALLY SIGNIFICANT RESEARCH
    

    Today's announcement represents the second round of funding under the
Ontario Research Fund's Research Excellence program. In this round, the
government is providing $23,353,275 to support four world-class projects at
the University of Toronto.

    Big Computing For Big Ideas
    ---------------------------
    SciNet: Enabling Future Science Today
    Harnessing the research potential of high-performance computing systems
    Lead researcher: Dr. W. Richard Peltier
    Total project cost: $24,000,000
    Provincial funding: $8,000,000

    Using world-class high-performance computing systems, a new consortium of
scientists will collaborate on groundbreaking research across a wide range of
disciplines, including aerospace, biomedical engineering, bioinformatics,
climate modeling, cosmology, and genomics.
    The SciNet consortium, headed by the University of Toronto, involves 10
affiliated research hospitals. SciNet will be available to researchers
anywhere in the province via the Optical Advanced Network of Ontario (ORANO).
    Highly skilled technical analysts will work closely with researchers to
develop sophisticated algorithms (finite lists of well-defined instructions
for accomplishing specific tasks) and implement new techniques to take full
advantage of these high-performance computer clusters. Expert systems
administrators will ensure that the various computer systems are operated to
optimum capacity.

    
    Key facts:

    -  Project lead, Professor Richard Peltier, is a global expert whose
       contributions to the fields of geodynamics and climate dynamics are
       helping us to better understand the implications of climate change.
    -  Dr. Peltier's work, which relies heavily on powerful computer
       modeling, led to an interest in the development of Canadian
       infrastructure for large-scale computation.
    -  This project will enable other top researchers from across the
       province to access the high-performance computing tools they need to
       continue conducting globally significant research.
    

    Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence Program
    ---------------------------------------------------
    This second round of funding under the Research Excellence program will
invest $114,709,614 to support 19 world-class projects at nine Ontario
universities, institutes and hospitals. Funding will be matched by 107 major
industry and other partners participating in the projects.
    For more information about the Ontario Research Fund, please visit
www.ontario.ca/innovation.

    Disponible en français

    
                          www.ontario.ca/innovation



    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


                  UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO RECEIVES $5 MILLION
               FOR GLOBALLY SIGNIFICANT SOLAR ENERGY RESEARCH
    

    Today's announcement represents the second round of funding under the
Ontario Research Fund's Research Excellence program. In this round, the
government is providing $23,353,275 to support four world-class projects at
the University of Toronto.

    Cost Competitive Solar Power
    ----------------------------
    High-efficiency Silicon Photovoltaics
    Developing cost-effective silicon solar cells
    Lead researcher: Dr. Nazir Kherani
    Total project cost: $15,000,000
    Provincial funding: $5,000,000

    Solar energy is by far the largest potential source of energy for the
planet, dwarfing all other sources combined. The key to tapping into this
potential is to develop technology that reduces the cost of generating solar
power.
    Photovoltaics, the direct conversion of solar energy into electricity, is
becoming an increasingly important technology in the production of sustainable
energy. Silicon-based solar panels are a stable, readily available, efficient
and environmentally friendly technology, but their cost remains a stumbling
block.
    Researchers at the universities of Toronto and Waterloo, together with
ARISE Technologies of Waterloo, will concentrate on developing
high-efficiency, cost-effective silicon photovoltaic solar cells. The
researchers will develop and integrate a set of "thin film" technologies that
will lead to a prototype, with the ultimate goal being the creation of a
photovoltaic manufacturing base in Ontario.
    Key private sector partners: ARISE Technologies

    
    Key facts:

    -  The rapid growth of photovoltaics (PV) will be driven by the global
       demand for energy of all kinds, the global challenge of climate
       change, the renewable features of solar energy and improvements in PV
       technology and materials.
    -  This research project aims to transform the manufacturing of silicon
       photovoltaics -- and hence the economic feasibility of solar
       electricity. It aims to reduce the cost of solar energy by producing
       the greatest quantity of solar electricity per gram of silicon.
    -  It also aims to develop a technology suitable for high production
       rates -- through Arise Technologies -- helping Ontario become globally
       competitive in this growing sector.
    

    Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence Program
    ---------------------------------------------------
    This second round of funding under the Research Excellence program will
invest $114,709,614 to support 19 world-class projects at nine Ontario
universities, institutes and hospitals. Funding will be matched by 107 major
industry and other partners participating in the projects.
    For more information about the Ontario Research Fund, please visit
www.ontario.ca/innovation.

    Disponible en français

    
                          www.ontario.ca/innovation



    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


                  UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO RECEIVES $3 MILLION
                 FOR GLOBALLY SIGNIFICANT WIRELESS RESEARCH
    

    Today's announcement represents the second round of funding under the
Ontario Research Fund's Research Excellence program. In this round, the
government is providing $23,353,275 to support four world-class projects at
the University of Toronto.

    Creating Anywhere, Anytime Wireless Networks
    --------------------------------------------
    Self-powered Sensor Networks
    Creating large-scale wireless sensor networks for a wide range of
    applications
    Lead researcher: Dr. Dimitrios Hatzinakos
    Total project cost: $9,060,000
    Provincial funding: $3,040,000

    The growing global market for new wireless communications technologies is
of prime interest to University of Toronto researchers working with partner
Motorola.
    Together, researchers at the University of Toronto and Motorola will
develop and commercialize new technologies necessary for the deployment of
large-scale, self-powered wireless networks.
    The goal of the project is to create networks of hundreds of inexpensive,
self-powered sensors capable of transmitting data wirelessly. These networks
have the potential to become valuable tools for monitoring the environmental
health of remote wilderness areas, or monitoring and securing large,
unpatrolled border areas.
    One of the key goals of this project is to create the low-cost,
miniaturized, readily integratable 24/7 energy generation systems that can
power these wireless networks.
    As a result, the team of researchers will develop the full suite of
sensor hardware, software, as well as energy capture, conservation and storage
technologies (the aim of the project is that these networks would be
self-powered, possibly solar powered).

    Key private sector partners: Motorola

    
    Key facts:

    -  This project envisions developing flexible, low-cost sensors, enabling
       software, and innovative ways to power wireless networks -- including
       tapping into new solar technologies.
    -  According to Dr. Hatzinakos, the market for mobile sensing is poised
       to surpass $5 billion by 2011 with substantially greater growth
       expected over the next decade.
    -  Dr. Hatzinalos team currently numbers 13 people. With Ontario's
       support for this project, it is anticipated that well over 60 graduate
       students and postdoctoral fellows and 300 senior undergraduate
       students will be directly involved in associated research activities.

    Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence Program
    ---------------------------------------------------
    This second round of funding under the Research Excellence program will
invest $114,709,614 to support 19 world-class projects at nine Ontario
universities, institutes and hospitals. Funding will be matched by 107 major
industry and other partners participating in the projects.
    For more information about the Ontario Research Fund, please visit
www.ontario.ca/innovation.

    Disponible en français

                          www.ontario.ca/innovation
    





For further information:

For further information: Perry Blocher, Ministry of Research and
Innovation, (416) 326-7717; Sandra Watts, Minister's Office, (416) 314-7067

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