Government of Canada

Government of Canada

October 19, 2009 18:03 ET

Government of Canada Recognizes Excellence in Innovation With 2009 Synergy and Innovation Challenge Awards

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 19, 2009) - This evening, the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, and the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario), joined Suzanne Fortier, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), in recognizing successful partnerships between universities and industry that have led to important innovations and discoveries. NSERC's 2009 Synergy Awards for Innovation and NSERC's 2009 Innovation Challenge Awards recognized partnerships that enable companies and researchers to position themselves as leaders in their fields both nationally and internationally.

The partners receiving the 2009 Synergy Awards have helped develop innovative ultrasound imaging techniques for research laboratories worldwide, a new process that destroys groundwater contaminants directly, definitions of fundamental principles of biomass and applied technologies that enhance industrial manufacturing operations.

"These NSERC awards support the pillars of our Science and Technology Strategy to support the best and brightest minds so they can lead in cutting-edge initiatives," said Minister Clement. "Our government is committed to supporting outstanding research and development (R&D) partnerships between universities and industry."

"Science, technology and innovation contribute greatly to fostering productivity, competitiveness and growth in Canada," said Minister of State Goodyear. "The scientific discoveries made, and the new technologies developed, by the winners of the Synergy Awards are essential for creating a dynamic economy and play an even more important role in difficult economic times."

The Synergy Awards for Innovation recognize partnerships between universities and industry in Canada. Each winning researcher receives a $200 000 research grant, while each winning industry partner receives the prestigious Synergy Awards sculpture and an opportunity to hire an NSERC Industrial R&D fellow for two years. This year's winners are as follows:

- Robert Rohling and Septimiu Salcudean of the University of British Columbia and Ultrasonix Medical Corporation for their innovations in the use of medical ultrasound imaging;

- Elizabeth Edwards of the University of Toronto and Geosyntec Consultants, Inc. for the development of new technologies for bioremediation of groundwater;

- Esteban Chornet of the Universite de Sherbrooke and Enerkem, Fractal Systems Inc. and CRB Innovations for their research on green technologies; and

- Chris Swartz of McMaster University and the member companies of the McMaster Advanced Control Consortium - Suncor Energy Products Inc., Tembec Inc., PepsiCo Foods Canada Inc., Honeywell Process Solutions, Essar Steel Algoma Inc., E. I. du Pont Canada Company, ArcelorMittal Dofasco, Praxair Inc., Imperial Oil (Canada), ExxonMobil and Johnson Controls Inc. that have garnered NSERC's prestigious Leo Derikx Award - for developing and applying technologies that enhance the manufacturing operations of Canada's industry-leading companies.

"The strategic investments that NSERC has made over the years have led to numerous successful collaborations such as those we recognize tonight," said Dr. Fortier. "The Synergy Awards recognize partnerships that stand out for their leadership in transferring tangible research results to the community, by bringing together the best researchers from Canadian universities and the leading innovators from the private sector."

This evening's ceremony also included the presentation of NSERC's 2009 Innovation Challenge Awards. These awards honour graduate students who have demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit by identifying ways in which their research thesis results can be developed into products or services. This year, Helge Seetzen of the University of British Columbia won the $10 000 grand prize, while Wei Chen, a researcher at McMaster University, and James She of the University of Waterloo each received a $5000 runner-up prize. Seven other researchers each received a $1500 honourable mention award.

NSERC is a federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports some 28 000 university students and post-doctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 11 800 university professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
    Minister of Industry
    Lynn Meahan - Press Secretary
    Martine Perreault
    Media and Public Affairs Officer
    Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
    Minister of State (Science and Technology)
    Minister of State (Federal Economic Development
    Agency for Southern Ontario)
    Christine Albee, Press Secretary