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Past Winner
2000 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship

Chris Le

Analytical Chemistry

University of Alberta


The Hon. Dr. Gilbert Normand, Secretary of State (Science, Research and Development), and Dr. Tom Brzustowski, President of NSERC, today announced that two Alberta researchers have won NSERC Steacie Fellowships, one of the country's most prestigious and valuable research prizes.

The winning researchers are Dr. Chris Le, a chemist, and Dr. Wayne Grover, an electrical engineer, both of the University of Alberta.

Each award includes a $180,000 payment over two years to the university towards the professor's salary, so that he can pursue his advanced research full-time and obtain increased research funding from NSERC.

NSERC Steacie Fellowships are awarded to outstanding Canadian university scientists or engineers who have earned their doctorate within the last twelve years. Only four awards are made annually. Nominations are received from universities across Canada.

Dr. Chris Le is an analytical chemist known internationally for his work investigating chemical contaminants in drinking water and food. The analysis techniques that he has developed to detect and characterize arsenic compounds have been enthusiastically welcomed by health researchers worldwide. Another remarkable new technique developed by his team can detect one impaired DNA base among a sample of one billion healthy ones. It promises, amongst other things, better measurement of the impact of radiation doses in cancer therapy.

Dr. Wayne Grover is an international leader in the theory, design and operation of "self-healing" networks - communications networks that survive physical failures through fast, highly efficient means of self-organized reconfiguration. His theoretical and practical advances constitute a foundation technology that will allow networks to keep up with the explosive growth in broadband communications. A landmark paper that he wrote on this topic in 1997 earned him the top research paper award last year from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the largest engineering and research professional organization in the world.

"Chris Le and Wayne Grover are two of Canada's most outstanding researchers," said Dr. Normand. "Recognizing them through the NSERC Steacie Fellowships is an investment in their ideas, and in Canada's future."

"This award recognizes their potential for even greater success, and provides them with appropriate support to carry out their research in Canada," said Dr. Brzustowski.

Chris Le carried out his undergraduate studies in China. He received his master's degree from Brock University and his doctorate from the University of British Columbia. He has been a faculty member at the University of Alberta since 1995.

Wayne Grover received his bachelor's degree from Carleton, his master's from the University of Essex and his doctorate from the University of Alberta. After holding a series of senior research positions in the telecommunications industry, he joined the University of Alberta faculty in 1992, becoming a full professor in 1995. He also serves as Chief Scientist, Network Systems, TRLabs.

Seven professors at the University of Alberta have received Steacie Fellowships in the last decade.

This year's other NSERC Steacie honours go to Dr. André Charette of the Université de Montréal and Dr. Bruce Balcom of the University of New Brunswick.

The NSERC Steacie Fellowships will be presented in Ottawa this fall. At the same time NSERC will honour the first winner of the new $1 million Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering.

NSERC (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) invests in people, discovery and innovation and is the national instrument for making strategic investments in Canada's capability in science and technology.