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Government of Canada Recognizes Innovative Collaboration between Businesses and Universities

2010 Synergy Awards for Innovation highlight partnerships that foster economic growth

Ottawa, Ontario, November 2, 2010 – The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology) and Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), today announced the recipients of NSERC's 2010 Synergy Awards for Innovation. These awards recognize the type of university-industry research and development collaborations that lead to new products that are key to economic growth. The 2010 Synergy Awards recognize collaborations that have resulted in the development of lightweight materials for automobiles, refinement and commercialization of new reinforcement materials for concrete structures, efficient wastewater treatment applications, and applied technologies that enhance the processing of liquid and solid metals.

"Science, technology and innovation contribute greatly to fostering productivity, competitiveness and growth in Canada," said Minister Clement. "The advances made by the winners of the Synergy Awards are examples of the best of Canadian innovation, and showcase the types of partnerships that will drive our economy forward."

"Our government supports science and technology because of its importance in strengthening the economy and improving the lives of Canadians," noted Minister of State Goodyear. "The Synergy Awards recognize the talent we have here in Canada and the success we have had in getting new research from the labs out into the marketplace."

This year's recipients are as follows:

  • Ahmet Alpas of the University of Windsor, and General Motors Canada Limited, for their research on lightweight materials for automotive products and manufacturing processes;
  • Brahim Benmokrane of the Université de Sherbrooke, and Pultrall Inc., for the development of fibreglass and carbon-fibre composites to reinforce concrete structures;
  • Donald Mavinic of The University of British Columbia, and Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies Inc., Stantec Consulting Ltd., Metro Vancouver, EPCOR Water Service Inc. and Clean Water Services Ltd. for developing an efficient phosphorus recovery technology; and
  • Roderick Guthrie and Mihaiela Isac of McGill University, and the member companies of the McGill Metals Processing Centre (MMPC)—Hatch, Novelis, Heraeus Electro-Nite, Sumitomo Metals Industries, and Rio Tinto, together with its subsidiaries QIT-Fer et Titane, and Alcan—who have garnered NSERC's prestigious Leo Derikx Award, for their innovative contributions to global advances in the processing of liquid and solid metals.

Award-winning researchers receive a $200,000 research grant, while each industry partner has an opportunity to hire an NSERC Industrial R&D Fellow for two years, with NSERC supporting the industrial portion of the fellow's salary. Recipients will be recognized at ceremonies to be held at later dates.

"The strategic investments that NSERC has made over the years have led to numerous successful collaborations such as those we are recognizing today," says Dr. Fortier. "The Synergy Awards highlight partnerships that bring together the best researchers from Canadian universities and the leading innovators from the private sector, resulting in the transfer of tangible research results to those who can translate them into economic and social benefits for Canadians."

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports some 28,000 university students and postdoctoral 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 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.

For more information, please contact:

Lynn Meahan
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Industry
Tel.: 613-995-9001

Media Relations
Industry Canada
Tel.: 613-943-2502

Martine Perreault
Media and Public Affairs Officer
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
Tel.: 613-996-7238

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