Friday, February 19, 2010

  • Agfa plans building on north campus
  • Ontario environmental chair for E&CE prof
  • Teams mourn 'the voice of the Warriors'
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Agfa plans building on north campus

Agfa HealthCare, a major international company in the fields of information technology and diagnostic imaging, announced yesterday that it will build a research and development facility in Waterloo’s north campus Research and Technology Park.

The announcement came at a news conference in TechTown, the north campus “community centre” building, attended by two provincial cabinet ministers as well as UW and Agfa officials and other dignitaries.

[Agfa logo]Agfa HealthCare is a unit of the Belgium-based conglomerate Agfa Gevaert. Its Canadian headquarters are in Toronto.

At yesterday’s event, the company promised that the building “will create jobs for local professionals and help the company deliver on its commitment to bring industry leading technologies to the healthcare community that will improve the quality of patient care in Canada.”

Said a statement from the university’s president, David Johnston: “The University of Waterloo is pleased to welcome Agfa HealthCare to the growing roster of partners in the Research and Technology Park, as they are contributing to the economic well-being of Waterloo Region and Canada. The park is a striking example of how unconventional collaborations involving academia, industry and government can help create something greater than the sum of its parts. Agfa's new facility will generate opportunities for the area's highly skilled workforce and help drive innovation.”

A news release said Agfa's Waterloo office “is the site of the company’s global research & development arm, producing its leading Picture Archiving and Communication Systems, IMPAX, and other advanced software solutions for hospitals and healthcare facilities worldwide.” It quoted Michael Green, Agfa HealthCare vice-president for North America: "As the global hub for Agfa’s research & development operations, we’re very much looking forward to the new opportunities the facility will provide, not only the local community, but the healthcare industry as a whole.

He added: “The brilliant talent at the Waterloo R&D centre, the continued support from our local partners and the provincial government has allowed us to accelerate our roadmap for growth and bring progressive healthcare innovations to the next level for Canadians."

The news release explained that in 2009, Agfa received a grant of $29.6 million from the Ontario government “to support its local research and development operations, create 100 new positions and re-invest in 276 existing jobs. The new research & development centre will create an additional 40 positions and provide Agfa with the additional resources needed to support its next generation of enterprise-wide healthcare solutions.  The facility will also enhance Agfa’s ability to build on industry leading initiatives, such as the Agfa HealthCare Institute.”

Said Sandra Pupatello, the provincial minister of economic development and trade: “By locating a cutting-edge research facility within the University of Waterloo’s Research and Technology Park, Agfa HealthCare reinforces the Waterloo Region’s world-renowned reputation as a source of innovative ideas and highly-skilled talent in today’s knowledge economy. Partnering with business and local research institutions helps grow the Ontario economy and create new jobs.”

John Milloy, the minister of research and innovation, declared that “The shovels are in the ground today,” and indeed the university’s silver ceremonial shovels were on hand for yesterday’s event. Milloy added: “Long term, this is an initiative that will support skilled job creation and a higher quality of life for all Ontarians.”

Heavy-duty shovels will be coming to a Hagey Boulevard site shortly. Construction of the new facility by real estate developers The Cora Group will begin in March, Agfa said, and is scheduled to be complete in March 2011. The state-of-the-art building will be “a LEED Gold certification candidate with specialized insulation, advanced building envelope design, advanced automated HVAC and electrical systems and motion activated indirect lighting included as just some of the energy conservation features”.

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Ontario environmental chair for E&CE prof

A Waterloo faculty member has received one of three research chairs in environmental science that are being funded by the government of Ontario.

[Sivoththaman]The Council of Ontario Universities, which administered the selection process, announced this week that Siva Sivoththaman (right), of UW’s department of electrical and computer engineering, will hold the Ontario Research Chair in Renewable Energy Technologies and Health. Two Ontario Research Chairs in Green Chemistry and Engineering have been awarded to Michael Cunningham of Queen's University and Suresh Narine of Trent University.

Funding from the ministry amounts to $1.5 million over five years for the Waterloo position, and $1.25 million for each of the other two chairs.

Said David Strangway, chair of the selection panel: "We reviewed 13 proposals for these competitions and were very impressed by the quality of the work underway at Ontario's universities. It was difficult to make a decision among the excellent proposals, but we believe that these three universities and outstanding researchers will truly enhance Ontario's capacity in renewable energy technologies and health and green chemistry and engineering."

A statement from John Gerretsen, the provincial environment minister, said that Cunningham and Narine “will play an important role in developing the green chemistry sector of the economy and will contribute to Ontario becoming a world leader in this field. I am also happy to hear that Dr. Sivoththaman will be assuming his responsibilities shortly and will be actively monitoring and providing the latest in scientific research and data about any possible health impacts of renewable energy. I welcome the three Chairs and look forward to a positive working relationship in the coming months.”

According to a news release, “Dr. Sivoththaman will bring focus to multi-disciplinary activities in renewable energy technologies and health, ensuring that health and safety are top priorities in the induction of new technologies. His research program will develop new technical approaches and will provide guidelines in setting standards to ensure health and safety in the manufacturing, use, and end-of-life phases of renewable energy technologies.”

Sivoththaman’s research centres on silicon-based crystalline and thin-film photovoltaic devices, and he serves as director of the Centre for Photovoltaic Systems and Devices, which occupies much of the photovoltaic research building beside Matthews Hall. His interest extends to nanocrystalline semiconductors, and he was the first director of UW’s nanotechnology engineering program when it was launched in 2004.

Says Bonnie Patterson, president of the Council of Ontario Universities: “The government is to be commended for providing funding in support of work that is critical to our future and to the well-being of Ontario citizens. Ontario universities have much to offer in providing cutting-edge research and the training of future scientists — the number and quality of the submissions is evidence of that.”

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Teams mourn 'the voice of the Warriors'

“The Waterloo Warriors community is mourning the loss of a familiar voice,” says a tribute published in the latest issue of the Warrior Xtra newsletter for sports enthusiasts.

It explains: “Rich Nichol, the long-time public address and webcast play-by-play announcer for Warriors basketball, hockey and football, passed away in Hamilton on February 5. He was 43 years old.

“For over two decades, Nichol — dubbed ‘The Voice of the Warriors’ — was a staple at the Physical Activities Complex, the Columbia Icefield, and pretty much every other venue where Warriors could be found.”

Says the article, written by Adam McGuire: “From his early days as a student, when he volunteered as the sports editor of Waterloo’s official student newspaper, Imprint, Nichol was a constant and vociferous supporter of all things Warrior. While Nichol also served as the play-by-play man for the hockey and football webcasts, Waterloo basketball held a special place in his heart. For many years, Nichol could be heard belting out pregame introductions and encouraging the crowds at the PAC to make some noise as the basketball public address announcer before moving on to the webcasting duties for basketball games as well.”

According to men’s basketball coach Tom Kieswetter, Nichol’s absence will be felt throughout the basketball program and the entire athletics department. “Rich has been an integral part of our Warrior program for decades,” said Kieswetter. “He was not only the voice of the Warriors; he was (also) a tremendous supporter of the team. He knew the game and he knew our players, so I’ve always considered him a part of our team. I’ll forever miss his presence at the mic beside me at the bench. He was a wonderful man and a friend.”

Recently, Nichol also helped spearhead the Warrior webcasts. When the men’s basketball team qualified for the 2005 national championship tournament in Halifax, Nichol wanted to give fans everywhere a chance to follow the action as it was happening. “Rich was the consummate professional,” said athletics communications coordinator Chris Gilbert, who worked with Nichol on webcasts and other game day programming. “All of our current broadcasting initiatives stem from Rich. He pushed for years to get Warrior athletics live on the internet. He was a leader, a mentor, and an ambassador for the University of Waterloo.”

A Facebook group entitled “Always a Warrior” has been created as a memorial to Nichol, and the newsletter announces that the Warrior basketball teams will wear commemorative patches for the rest of the season to recognize Nichol’s contributions.


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Again, will go down underground

Digging will continue longer than expected in the area of the Environment 3 construction site, the plant operations department said yesterday. "Due to the discovery of a buried manhole and storm line, we have to extend the closure of the loading dock [in EV2] until Wednesday," a memo announces. "Existing services must be removed and relocated." The campus is only five decades old, but there are mysteries in the underworld.

Link of the day

Mother Language Day

When and where

Last day for 50 per cent tuition fee refund, February 19. Drop (penalty 1) period ends, February 26.

Warrior sports this weekend: Basketball vs. Laurier Saturday, women 2 p.m., men 4 p.m. (PAC) • Men’s hockey, quarter-final game at Windsor tonight; game 3 (if Waterloo wins tonight) Sunday 2 p.m., Icefield • Track and field tournament at McGill, Friday • Swimming, CIS championships at Toronto, through Sunday • Women’s volleyball, playoffs at Western, Saturday • Nordic skiing, championships hosted by Guelph, Sunday.

RefWorks advanced workshop, presented by UW library, Monday at 10:00, March 10 at 10:00, or March 11 at 1:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Heritage Resources Centre lunch-and-learn session: Ronald Bean, Conestoga College, “Adaptive Reuse” Monday 12:00, Environment I room 221.

Find books and more’ workshop on doing research in the UW library, Monday at 1:30, March 1 at 10:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

‘So You Think You Can Dance Waterloo’ auditions February 22, 24, 25, 26, Physical Activities Complex; competition March 27. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation panel discussion: “Open Source Democracy”, Monday 2:00, Tatham Centre room 2218, RSVP info@ Details.

Imprint Publications annual general meeting Monday 3 p.m., Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Cultural Encounters, Encountering Cultures series: Andy McMurry, English language and literature, “Sustainable Versus Unsustainable Culture” Monday 4:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

Career workshop: “Understanding the Multiple-Mini Interview” Monday 6:00, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Retirement 101. Four-part series from Organizational & Human Development, February 22, March 1, March 8, March 15, 7 p.m., Laurel Room, South Campus Hall. Fee $100. Information or to register: lnevills@ or ext. 38259.

Teaching-Based Research Group drop-in session for faculty and staff interested in research about teaching and learning, Tuesday 10:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library.

Graduating students’ information session and lunch sponsored by student life office and alumni affairs office, Tuesday 11:30, Student Life Centre multipurpose room. Details.

Personal Tax Planning: Brown Bag Lunch by staff association and Education Credit Union, speaker Alan Wintrip, Tuesday 12:15, Davis Centre room 1302.

Blood donor clinics Wednesday-Thursday 10:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre multi-purpose room.

International Spouses monthly gathering: Elisabeth Adrian, career services, “Business Etiquette and Professionalism” Thursday 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre.

TEDx Waterloo “journey into the future” of “Technology, Entertainment, Design”; speakers include Raymond Laflamme, Institute for Quantum Computing, and Philip Beesley, architecture, Thursday 1 to 8 p.m., the Gig Music Hall, downtown Kitchener. Details.

Greg Cummings, information systems and technology, retirement party Thursday 3:30 p.m., South Campus Hall, Laurel Room, RSVP elmartin@

Lecture and book signing: Bob Pozen, chairman of MFS Investment Management: Too Big to Save? How to Fix the U.S. Financial System, Thursday, lecture at 4:30; signing at 5:30, South Campus Hall, Festival Room. Register.

Student Climate Change Colloquium (second annual) sponsored by Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, March 3-4, South Campus Hall. Details.

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