CFI provides $2.1 million for research

University of Western Ontario researchers Gordon ‘Oz’ Osinski and Bob Linnen need to look deeper than anyone else has done before.

Osinski , a planetary geologist, and Linnen, an economic geologist, are developing the Earth and Planetary Material Imaging and Analysis Laboratory at Western. At the facility’s core will be a field emission electron microprobe, a powerful device capable of analyzing rock and mineral compositions down to a few hundred nanometers. Few researchers worldwide have seen that far down.

And now, thanks to funding provided through the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Western – and, in turn, Canada – will stand at the forefront of terrestrial and extra-terrestrial geology for decades to come.

“This is going to be a very unique facility in all of North America,” Osinski says.

The microprobe will be the first of its kind in Canada, and one of only four in North America (with three of those in the hands of industry).

Osinski and Linnen were among eight Western researchers working on five projects who recently received more than $2.1 million in CFI funding. The awards were announced by Susan Truppe, MP for London North Centre, on Thursday, Sept. 1.

“Research projects like those being conducted by these researchers here today are taking place across Canada. This work plays a critical role in mobilizing Canada’s science and technology advantage,” Truppe says. “These projects will help realize the full potential of our natural resources, ensure a cleaner, safer environment and create and help support many new, high-quality jobs.”

Western researchers receiving funds included:

  • Gordon ‘Oz’ Osinski and Bob Linnen, Earth and Planetary Material Imaging and Analysis Laboratory, $787,069;
  • Gilles Lajoie, David Litchfield and Shawn Li, Infrastructure for the Characterization of Proteins and their Modifications, $624,788;
  • Robert Sobot, Design and test laboratory for implantable integrated circuits, $202,400;
  • Claire Robinson, Groundwater-coastal water interactions laboratory, $222,982; and
  • Len Luyt, Peptide-based molecular imaging agents, $281,183.

CFI, through its Leaders’ Opportunity Fund, is investing in 268 researchers working on 207 projects at 42 Canadian institutions. The fund supports infrastructure needs to conduct research.