Skip to main content

Canada Foundation for Innovation announces results of JELF competition

August 29, 2023

Today, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, announced support for over 4,700 researchers and research projects across Canada. These investments of over $960 million through grants, scholarships and programs are part of the government’s ongoing support for Canada’s research ecosystem.

John R. Evans Leadership Fund

As part of today's news, Minister Boissonnault announced more than $113 million to support 396 research infrastructure projects at 56 universities across the country. The Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund helps universities recruit and retain outstanding researchers by helping acquire the state-of-the-art labs, equipment and facilities they need to make discoveries that will have an impact on Canadians. 

Six UVic projects in disciplines ranging from art to engineering to science will receive $1.14M to advance research in climate, health and societal fields.

Lead: Anne-Sofie Ahm

State-of-the-Art Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Mass Spectrometry Laboratory for Earth, Ocean and Climate Science | $380,000

Ongoing climate change has dramatic impacts on Canada's coastlines and coastal seas, causing perturbations to seawater chemistry, rainfall, wildfires, and sea-level. With the goal of better understanding future climate challenges, metal isotope-based proxies provide a novel window into the past. Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Mass Spectrometry is necessary for measurements of several metal isotope-based climate proxies—novel geochemical tools for understanding the causes and consequences of climate change over many time scales. UVic’s Multi-Collector Inductively Coupled Mass Spectrometry lab will serve multiple research programs, build regional analytical capacity, train numerous highly qualified personnel and spark new research directions using metal isotopes to study the past and future evolution of Canada's climate.

Lead: Amanda Bates

Experimental Ocean Climate Change Lab | $175,000

Predicting which species and populations will be most sensitive to changes in ocean conditions is crucial to the management of invasive species, enhancing fisheries and protecting biodiversity in Canada.

The goal of this project is to build an Experimental Climate Change Lab (EXCEL) by combining state-of-the-art multi-stressor (temperature, oxygen and pH) experimental aquaria with capacity to measure organismal responses. EXCEL will generate more accurate parameters for marine climate change prediction tools, such as species abundance and geographic shifts, food web models, and biodiversity change. The data and knowledge generated will shape ecosystem management strategies in Canada by producing ecological and physiological performance datasets to identify species or trophic levels that are particularly sensitive to ocean changes as well as species that will thrive under different climate change scenarios, and by incorporating performance and physiological data into predictive models.

Lead: Jennifer Cobb

Old Cell Enrichment (OCE)-DSB imaging platform to investigate age-related causes of genome instability | $175,000

Over 82,000 Canadians died from cancer in 2019. This number will continue to grow because age is the greatest risk factor for cancer, and human life expectancy is now 30 years longer than it was a century ago.

Cancer and aging appear distinct but damage to our hereditary material, DNA, accumulates in both processes. Cobb’s work with aging cells, instead of the more usual young cells or immortal cancer cell lines, will provide important clues for why DNA repair decreases and cancer increases exponentially within our aging population. The overarching goal is to more precisely target DNA repair in cancer treatment by understanding how, in cases where both strands of DNA break, cellular mechanisms change in response to damage.

Lead: Jeremy Wulff

NMR Appurtenance for Synthesis | $180,000

A 400 MHz spectrometer is a critical resource for synthetic chemists at UVic. It will replace an obsolete instrument while simultaneously reducing cryogen consumption and allow Jeremy Wulff and David Leitch to expand their cutting-edge research into the production of molecules for use in treating disease, strengthening polymer materials and harvesting energy. The infrastructure will also be used by other UVic chemists as well as the departments of Biochemistry and Mechanical Engineering, and seven Vancouver Island companies in the pharma, biotech and materials sectors.

Lead: Brianna Turner

Reducing Non-communicable Chronic Disease by Moving Behavioral Science into the Real World | $130,000

Digital health technology (e.g., smartphone apps, smartwatches) may be key to addressing the burden of non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs; e.g., hypertension, obesity, mental illnesses), as 85% of Canadians now use these technologies. This funding will allow Turner to expand and update existing digital health infrastructure at UVic to create a digital health technology and data-sharing 'hub' to enhance research innovation and collaboration. New equipment will help researchers to: 1) better understand behaviours of Canadians that influence their health, including when and why people engage in harmful behaviours (e.g., suicide, self-harm); 2) examine brain activation and cognitive indicators of decisions to engage in healthy behaviours; and 3) improve opportunities for children to engage in physical activity. Collectively the research will directly promote the health of Canadians by informing real-world contexts that influence health-promoting decision making and behaviours, and will lead to development of accessible, scalable interventions to address NCDs.

Lead: Brandon Haworth

Human Motion at the Intersections of Engineering and Art through Extended Realities | $100,000

Our research program looks at modelling human motion, engaging with human motion, and delivering human motion that is diverse, inclusive, and representative. We model human motion for both predictive applications in built environment design, urban planning, and emergency planning, as well as artistic applications in games, film, media, and theatre. We focus on fidelity and representation to capture a broad spectrum of people and their diverse mobilities within a broad spectrum of environments.