Government of Canada

Government of Canada

March 05, 2015 12:30 ET

Government of Canada Supports Science and Engineering Research Team at the University of Regina

Research team will improve wastewater treatment plant processes to protect the health of Canadians

REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN--(Marketwired - March 5, 2015) -

Tom Lukiwski, Member of Parliament for Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), was at the University of Regina today to celebrate support of nearly $585,000 for a research project to reduce harmful bacteria in wastewater.

This funding, through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's (NSERC) Strategic Project Grants program, will support Dr. Christopher Yost, Canada Research Chair in Microbes, the Environment and Food Safety at the University of Regina. Dr. Yost is working with researchers at Dalhousie and Acadia universities and municipal wastewater treatment plant partners in Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Nunavut to develop new processes that reduce antibiotic-resistant bacteria. One of the side effects of the overuse of antibiotics in humans is an increased amount of antibiotic-resistant bacteria being excreted into wastewater. These bacteria survive after wastewater is treated, thereby increasing the risk of transfer of antibiotic resistance genes to the environment and, potentially, humans. Wastewater treatment plants represent an important control point in the many steps taken to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Mr. Lukiwski took the opportunity to tour Dr. Yost's laboratory, which received administrative support through the Research Support Fund and infrastructure support through the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Dr. Yost provided a first-hand demonstration of highly sensitive specialized equipment that can quantify and characterize antibiotic resistance genes and resistant bacteria in the wastewater treatment environment and in other areas affected by wastewater runoff.

The federal Research Support Fund, formerly known as the Indirect Costs Program, helps universities with the overhead or additional costs of research that fall outside direct investments in post-secondary research. In 2014-15, the University of Regina will receive an investment of $2.25 million through the Research Support Fund. Since 2006, the government has provided nearly $19 million in research support to the University of Regina.

Quick facts

  • NSERC Strategic Project Grants aim to increase research and training in four target areas that could strongly influence Canada's economy, society or environment in the next 10 years: environmental science and technologies, information and communications technologies, manufacturing, and natural resources and energy.
  • The Research Support Fund helps cover some of the costs associated with managing the research funded by NSERC, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, such as salaries for staff who provide administrative support, training costs for workplace health and safety, maintenance of libraries and laboratories, and administrative costs associated with obtaining patents for inventions.
  • NSERC is consolidating the Strategic Project Grants and Strategic Network Grants into one program called Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects. This will help NSERC provide more seamless support to industry and encourage businesses to invest more in research and development.
  • Recently, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered on the government's commitment to provide an updated science, technology and innovation strategy. The strategy, Seizing Canada's Moment, is a vision and a road map for strengthening Canada's position as a global leader in scientific research while looking to harness greater Canadian innovations that create jobs, increase prosperity and improve the quality of life of Canadians.
  • NSERC Strategic Project Grants and the Research Support Fund correspond to all three pillars of the renewed science, technology and innovation strategy-knowledge, people and innovation-by developing highly skilled people, building research knowledge and sharing this expertise with business to improve processes and technologies.


"Through our government's updated science, technology and innovation strategy, we are making the record investments necessary to push the boundaries of knowledge, create jobs and prosperity, and improve the quality of life of Canadians. Our government, through the Strategic Project Grants program, is supporting research that will address key industry challenges over the next decade in natural resources and energy, manufacturing, environmental science and technologies, and information and communications technologies."

- Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology)

"The University of Regina is at the forefront of so many innovations. Our government is proud to support research that will help ensure wastewater treatment processes continue to protect the health and well-being of Canadians in Saskatchewan and across the country."

- Tom Lukiwski, Member of Parliament for Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre

"The best research brings talented minds together to generate exciting ideas and create the advancements of tomorrow. NSERC is proud to support these strategic projects that extend our knowledge and create new innovations that will define our future."

- Dr. B. Mario Pinto, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

"The University of Regina is committed to pursuing high-impact research that makes a difference in the communities we serve, and today's funding announcement recognizes that we are indeed making that difference. Faculty members like Dr. Yost are leading world-class research initiatives that involve colleagues from across the country and around the world, and I would like to thank NSERC for continuing to support their work in such a meaningful way."

- Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Regina

"The NSERC funding provides an excellent opportunity for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows to work in a collaborative multidisciplinary team with investigators from the universities of Regina, Dalhousie and Acadia. The students will use advanced genomics techniques to study an important interface between the environment and public health."

- Dr. Christopher Yost, University of Regina

Associated links

- Recipients of 2014 Strategic Project Grants

- Information on the Research Support Fund

- Strategic Partnership Grants overview

- Science, technology and innovation strategy, Seizing Canada's Moment

- University of Regina Department of Biology

Contact Information

  • Scott French
    Director of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs
    Office of the Minister of State (Science and Technology)

    Martin Leroux
    Media and Public Affairs Officer
    Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

    Anne-Marie Cenaiko
    Media Relations Advisor
    Research Support Fund