Western projects attract $17.5 million in CFI funding

The world’s first hexagonal wind tunnel, home to research that will protect us from storms and harness the power of wind, will be built at The University of Western Ontario, supported by funding announced today from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).


The project, led by Western Engineering professor Horia Hangan, received $9.5 million toward the total cost of $23.6 million.  
The Wind Engineering, Energy and Environment (WindEEE) Dome’s unique shape will make it the first facility capable of physically simulating spinning wind systems such as tornadoes. These and other forms of wind cannot be created in traditional wind tunnels.
The WindEEE Dome will be used to understand pollutant and contaminant dispersal, wind effects on agricultural crops and forests, optimal positioning for wind farms and turbines, and for measuring the impact of wind on buildings, wind turbines and agricultural crops.
Three additional Western projects receiving support from the CFI’s New Initiatives Fund and Leading Edge Fund were announced this morning, attracting a total of $17,583,950. They include:
• Neal Ferris, Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Social Science; Capacities for a Sustainable Archaeology: $3,911,058
This project will take the thousands of archaeological collections created by commercial archaeological activity in Ontario (conducted for housing, highways, etc.) and preserve them physically and digitally to allow innovative research on this rich archaeological heritage and to ensure First Nations are full partners in that research, making Ontario archaeology a socially and scientifically sustainable practice.
• Terrence Peters, Robarts Research Institute, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry; Image-Guided Minimally Invasive Intervention and Simulation: $2,577,602
This project brings together the research within the Robarts Imaging Laboratories and the Canadian Surgical Technologies and Advanced Robotics (CSTAR) centre. Its aim is to advance the technologies that will permit surgery to be performed at multiple sites within the body, guided by medical imaging and executed by remotely actuated miniature surgical tools, while accessing the sites from small incisions in the patient’s skin, or via natural body orifices.
• Tsun-Kong Sham, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science; Enhancing the Science: Polarized Photons and Improved Endstations for the SGM and PGM at the Canadian Light Source: $1,618,902
This project aims to enhance the capabilities of two very successful state-of-the-art X-ray beamlines at the Canadian Light Source (CLS), a national facility for synchrotron research located in Saskatoon. A beamline extracts X-rays from a circular electron accelerator called synchrotron and delivers them to the experimental station where experiments are conducted.


The enhancement will improve the capabilities for analyzing and imaging many advanced materials, such as nanomaterials and polymers as well as biological and environmental specimens.  
“Today’s announcement from CFI is tremendously good news for Western, for four of our top researchers and for their research teams,” says Western President Paul Davenport.” Each of them has already made a large impact in their fields, and with this funding, each will be moving forward with important and relevant research. Our thanks go to the federal government and CFI for this generous funding.”

Ed Holder, Member of Parliament for London West, says the funding of these four projects demonstrates the dynamic variety of world-class science and research being done at Western

“The WindEEE Dome will produce many scientific knowledge breakthroughs and world-first discoveries. This exciting science will save lives, and it will be done right here in London,” says Holder. “Western continues its position as a global player which will attract and retain brilliant minds in London.”
Funding for the Western projects is part of a $666,128,376 investment announced today by CFI for 133 projects at 41 institutions across the country.