Driving the Innovation Economy in Kitchener-Waterloo

    McGuinty Government Building Ontario's Innovation-Driven Economy

    TORONTO, July 21 /CNW/ -


    Research aimed at improving Ontario's air quality by reducing vehicle
emissions and searching for ways to help older adults overcome memory loss are
two of the 10 projects at Wilfrid Laurier University (http://www.wlu.ca/) and
the University of Waterloo (http://www.uwaterloo.ca/) that will receive
$1,400,000 in funding from the province's Early Researcher Awards
(http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/programs/era/program.asp) program.
    Funding leading research is part of Ontario's plan to build an innovation

    The researchers include:

    -   Dr. Sukhvinder S. Obhi
        (Wilfred Laurier University), who is working to understand how
        spatial information is understood in the brain.

    -   Dr. William Shelbourne Epling
        (University of Waterloo), who is working to develop advanced
        components to improve vehicle emissions performance.

    -   Dr. Myra Annette Fernandes
        (University of Waterloo), who is looking for ways to reduce and even
        reverse the normal memory loss adults experience as they age.

    -   Dr. Joseph Veilleux Emerson
        (University of Waterloo), who is improving the performance of quantum
        information processing devices - used to revolutionize the processing
        speeds in a wide range of electronics.

    -   Dr. John Chun-Han Lin
        (University of Waterloo), who is developing advanced models of
        climate conditions in the North to help improve understanding and
        management of our rapidly changing environment.

    In total, 66 projects across the province worth $9.24 million will
receive funding from the Early Researcher Awards program.
    The goal of this program is to improve Ontario's ability to attract and
retain the best and brightest research talent from around the world. Today's
investment will ensure that leading Ontario researchers have the resources
they need to build their research teams of graduate students, post-doctoral
fellows, research assistants and associates from across Canada and abroad.


    "Kitchener-Waterloo is home to many of the world's leading scientific and
innovative minds, determined to solve the most pressing challenges of our time
- from groundbreaking discoveries in IT, computing, health care and
environmental protection. Through human ingenuity we are creating the jobs of
the future and keeping our communities at the forefront of Ontario's
innovation economy," said Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Leeanna Pendergast
    "Today's investment is an important part of Ontario's plan to build an
innovation-driven economy. We are investing in the people who are pioneering
the scientific breakthroughs that will improve healthcare, protect the
environment, and ignite growth in the industries that will shape Ontario's
future," said Minister of Research and Innovation, John Wilkinson


    -   The Early Researcher Awards program is an important part of Ontario's
        Innovation Agenda
        (http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/programs/oia/program.asp), a plan
        to make innovation the driving force of the provincial economy.
    -   Innovation is part of the McGuinty government's five-point plan for
        the economy. The other parts of the plan are:
        -  Skills and training
        -  Building infrastructure
        -  Strategic business tax cuts to create investment
        -  Partnerships with business


    Learn More about the Early Researcher Awards

    Learn More about Ontario's Innovation Agenda

    Learn how Ontario's Budget 2008 (http://ontariobudget.ca/english/) is
    supporting innovation

                                                      Disponible en français


    Funding world-class research is part of Ontario's plan to build an
innovation economy. Ontario's universities, colleges, hospitals and research
institutes play a vital role in the government's five-point plan to ensure
Ontario remains at the forefront of the global knowledge-based economy by
supporting cutting-edge research and developing world-class researchers.
    The Early Researcher Awards program (ERA)
(http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/programs/era/program.asp) helps promising,
recently-appointed Ontario researchers build their research teams of graduate
students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants and associates. The goal
of the program is to improve Ontario's ability to attract and retain the best
and brightest research talent from around the world.
    Across the province, this investment will mean cutting-edge research
opportunities for as many as 225 graduate students and post-doctorate
researchers, and engage as many as 6700 high school students each year, giving
them an inside look at real research and inspiring them to consider a career
in science and technology.
    The ERA program is a key part of Ontario's Innovation Agenda. Supported
by close to $3 billion in spending over eight years, the Ontario Innovation
Agenda (http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/news/OIA042908.asp) is building
Ontario's innovation economy on the strength of our province's creative
environment, diverse culture, highly skilled workforce, world-class
educational system and internationally recognized research community.


    Dr. Sukhvinder S. Obhi
    Spatial Processing for Action Planning

    Dr. Obhi's research team will work to understand how spatial information
is represented in the brain. Representations of targets, such as a coffee cup,
can be in relation to the body, egocentric, or other visible objects,
allocentric. Most research has focused on egocentric representations and
little is known about how these are combined with allocentric representations.
Using experiments where participants make targeted pointing movements in the
presence or absence of non-target objects, the team will explain how these
representational schemes are used to guide actions. Further experiments will
highlight the neural systems underlying these processes.


    Dr. William Shelbourne Epling
    Reducing Vehicle Emissions

    Significantly improved vehicle fuel economy can be realized with known,
slight modifications to today's engines. Reducing certain emissions in the
exhaust, however, is impossible with today's catalytic converters. Dr. William
Epling and his research team will focus on developing advanced catalyst
components for the reduction of these emissions in the more fuel-efficient
engines. New catalyst chemistry will be used to improve emissions control
performance. Dr. Epling's project will result in improved air quality in
Ontario via decreased vehicle emissions, which for the first time would also
include carbon dioxide.

    Dr. Liang-Liang Xie
    Energy Efficient Communication for Wireless Sensor Networks

    Wireless sensor networking is an emerging technology that has a wide
range of potential applications including environment and habitat monitoring,
as well as traffic control. These networks normally consist of a large number
of distributed sensor nodes, each operating on a battery. In many applications
it is difficult to change or recharge batteries for these nodes. Prolonging
the network lifetime by efficiently using battery energy is a critical issue
in the operation of wireless sensor networks. Dr. Xie and his research team
will develop energy-efficient wireless communication schemes for sensor

    Dr. Kaan Erkorkmaz
    Virtual Prototyping and Control for High-Tech Manufacturing

    Ultra-precise motion delivery is a technology that is crucial in
high-tech manufacturing sectors. The ability to fabricate or assemble parts
within micron to nanometer level tolerances at higher speeds will lead to
higher productivity rates, lower costs, and better product quality, all of
which benefit the Ontario economy. Dr. Erkorkmaz and his research team are
working to develop new ultra-precision motion delivery technologies for
high-tech manufacturing applications. New machine concepts, virtual
prototyping techniques, and computer control theory will be investigated.

    Dr. Myra Annette Fernandes
    Memory and Brain Changes Associated with Aging

    Many older adults in Ontario report concerns regarding memory loss. Dr.
Fernandes and her team will develop a model of how memory works in young
adulthood, how it breaks down as we age, and how senior citizens cope with
multiple stimuli in today's fast-paced environments. Her research will
identify how memory deficits associated with normal aging can be lessened, or
even improved. Dr. Fernandes and her team will use neuroimaging, and
cutting-edge techniques in the analysis of network patterns of brain

    Dr. Joseph Veilleux Emerson
    Assessing and Improving Quantum Information Processing Devices

    Quantum mechanics describes the novel ways in which energy and matter can
interact at very small scales, for example, in atomic and sub-atomic systems.
Quantum information science is based on the discovery that quantum mechanical
effects in small scale systems can revolutionize information technology,
leading, in particular, to quantum computation and quantum communication
devices which can vastly outperform their conventional counterparts. Existing
small-scale systems are very sensitive to noise and do not perform reliably.
Dr. Emerson and his research team will develop methods for assessing and
improving the performance of quantum information devices in the presence of
noise, with the long-term goal of making commercially viable quantum
information processors a reality.

    Dr. John Chun-Han Lin
    Improving our Understanding of Ontario's Climate

    Climate change is taking place and becoming more pronounced in the higher
latitudes, within which Ontario's borders are found. As a province with a
large number of farms, Ontario critically needs accurate predictions of future
climate conditions to help resource managers and policy makers better manage
risks arising from climate change. Dr. Lin and her research team will work to
improve the understanding of the current-day climate conditions with
observations and cutting-edge computer models, and enhance Ontario's
capability to predict future climate conditions.

    Dr. Pascal Poupart
    Understanding Rich Sensor Data

    The proliferation of affordable sensors such as video cameras,
microphones, sonar, accelerometers, and heat/temperature/pressure sensors,
creates an opportunity to design better processing systems such as in health
care delivery and business. However, the information provided by those sensors
is often difficult to use since it consists of a stream of numbers that are
often noisy and have no obvious interpretation. Dr. Pascal Poupart and his
team will develop new algorithms to combine sensor processing with high-level

    Dr. Ihab Francis Ilyas
    Effective Retrieval and Cleaning of Uncertain Databases

    Data integration from multiple sources, object tracking, health
informatics applications and sensor networks generate data that involve
missing values, duplications or inconsistency. Dr. Ihab Ilyas and his research
team will seek to enable users and applications to efficiently handle
uncertain data sets by specifying quality requirements that will be used to
guide the exploration, cleaning and processing of the underlying data. Their
research will have a significant impact on a large class of emerging computer
applications, and will allow efficient handling of large volumes of
non-traditional data.

    Dr. Karim Sallaudin Karim
    Smart Pixels for Biomedical Imaging Applications

    Active-matrix flat-panel imagers comprise the majority of large
hospital-grade digital imagers today and are used in chest and breast x-ray
imaging. Dr. Karim Karim's team will develop large area digital imagers based
on intelligent pixel technology. The improvements that result from using
intelligent pixels will help enable 3D imaging, mechanically flexible imagers
and highly sensitive optical imagers in the ultraviolet region. These new
technologies will usher in a new generation of large area digital imagers for
medical imaging, biometric devices for security, and devices for pathogen
detection in agriculture.

                                                      Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Sandra Watts, Minister's Office, (416)
314-7067; Perry Blocher, MRI Communications Branch, (416) 326-7717

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