Western researchers part of new centres of excellence

Samuel Trosow, associate professor in the Faculties of Information and Media Studies and Law (cross-appointed), has played a key role in the development of the Graphics, Animation and New Media (GRAND) Network, one of three new research centres announced Monday (Dec. 1) by the federal government.


GRAND is a large, multi-disciplinary and multi-institution research group led by Kellogg Booth at the University of British Columbia. The group’s vision is to “create capacity for Canada to further develop and enhance its position as a global leader in new media, animation, and games.”


The GRAND network will undertake a number of projects on five varied themes. Trosow is the theme leader of Theme 4: Social, Legal, Economic and Cultural Perspectives. The co-leader for the Theme 4 is Elaine Toms of Dalhousie University, a Western Library and Information Science alumna.


The other themes to be explored include: new media challenges and opportunities; games and interactive simulation; animation, graphics and imaging; and enabling technologies and methodologies.


GRAND comprises of 30 projects, one of which was proposed by members of the Digital Labour Group at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS), including Nick Dyer-Witheford, Jonathan Burston, Matt Stahl, and Trosow. FIMS professors Jacquelyn Burkell and Anabel Quan-Haase are also involved in other projects in the GRAND network.


FIMS faculty are well represented in this network, which promises to set a new standard for interdisciplinary work in the Networks of Centres of Excellence projects.


Other University of Western Ontario researchers will be participating in three new centres of excellence, which are looking to find effective treatments to help children with developmental brain disorders, finding ways to lessen the impact of fossil fuels on the environment, and using social media to improve education and skills development.


The new research centres were launched Dec. 1 by Gary Goodyear, Canadian Minister of State (Science and Technology).


“Our government supports science, research and technology to create jobs, improve the quality of life of Canadians and strengthen the economy,” said Goodyear. “Creating partnerships between researchers and industry will bring innovations from the lab to the marketplace so that Canadians and people around the world can benefit.”


The government is investing $125 million in Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE), as well as Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR) to help researchers develop their findings into new practical, applied and marketable solutions and will also facilitate and advance the commercialization of technologies, products and services for the benefit of all Canadians.


The NCE program brings together Canadian scientists and researchers in the natural, social, health and engineering sciences, as well as others in Canada’s academic, corporate, public and non-profit sectors, to focus on issues critical to Canadian industry, society and economy. The other new NCEs include:

The NeuroDevNet Network, led by Dr. Daniel Goldowitz from the University of British Columbia, will study ways to reduce the long-term costs to the health care system through early intervention and effective treatment of children with developmental brain disorders. NeuroDevNet involves Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Chair Bryan Richardson and Robarts Research Institute Imaging Research Group scientist Ravi Menon. The CMC Network, led by Dr. Stephen Larter from the University of Calgary, will develop technologies necessary to “decarbonise” fossil fuel production and utilization. Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering professor and Director of the Chemical Reactor Engineering Centre at Western, Hugo DeLasa, and Richard Ivey School of Business professor Tima Bansal will be taking part in the CMC.