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Friday, January 21, 2011

  • Summit Centre opens in Huntsville
  • NSERC announces 'strategic' grants
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Summit Centre building]
Summit Centre opens in Huntsville

The Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment, a picturesque building (above) in the Ontario resort town of Huntsville, officially opens today with tours, VIP remarks and a reception.

The celebrations, starting at 5 p.m., are sponsored jointly by the University of Waterloo and the Town of Huntsville. Registration for the main event is now closed, but unregistered guests are welcome to tour the facility between 5 and 6 p.m.

It’s located on Forbes Hill Road just east of the town centre, and was built for use in last year’s G8 summit of world leaders. Now the town has made it available for use by the university, primarily the Faculty of Environment.

A reception will follow today’s tours, hosted by university president Feridun Hamdullahpur, Huntsville mayor Claude Doughty, and federal industry minister Tony Clement, who is Member of Parliament for the Parry Sound-Muskoka riding that includes Huntsville. Then at 7 p.m., researchers from the environment faculty will explore sustainable communities and the Huntsville Unity Plan during a panel discussion emceed by journalist, author and Huntsville native Roy MacGregor.

The Summit Centre building features laboratory space, meeting rooms and accommodation for up to 50 people. Devoted for teaching and research activities, the facility will host research field work, meetings and conferences, as well as short courses and executive training courses.

“We are excited by this partnership with the Town of Huntsville," Hamdullahpur says in a news release today. "The Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment will serve as an extension to the main campus, providing a tremendous opportunity for our students and researchers to study in the environmentally rich Muskoka Region.”

An ecology laboratory will be added by the end of 2011. The Northern Ontario School of Medicine will also operate a research lab in the centre, starting this spring. 

Says the town’s web site: “The university site is situated within the greater Canada Summit Centre property, centrally located within the scenic Town of Huntsville. The new facility overlooks Cann Lake to the East, and has been constructed some 35 metres above the Town and surrounding area. The unique location of the university is terraced into the rugged local Muskoka topography while being fully serviced by all utilities, municipal sewer and water services, parking and roadway access to the front door. The university site makes up approximately 4.5 hectares of a greater 40 Hectare land parcel which includes a vast amount of rolling wooded parkland, the Muskoka Heritage Village and Historic Portage Flyer Train, Canada Summit Centre, the Active Living Centre, Lions Lookout, a multi-purpose sport field facility and a community walking trail system.”

The town owns and manages the facility, with capital funding from various federal programs. Waterloo will lease the facility for a nominal fee, with an on-site half-time facility manager.

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NSERC announces 'strategic' grants

The federal science minister and a vice-president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council came to campus yesterday to announce $55 million to support 122 “strategic” research projects, including five projects at Waterloo that are getting a total of $2.6 million. (The funding is front-page news in this morning's Waterloo Region Record.)

“Scientists at universities across Canada will undertake new research,” said an NSERC news release, “that will lead to discoveries such as the detection of osteoporosis, the personalization of cancer treatment, advances in communications technologies, and other areas of importance to Canadians, [Goodyear speaks at Thursday ceremony]thanks to a new investment by the Government of Canada.” The announcement was made by the minister of state (science and technology), Gary Goodyear (left); Kitchener Centre MP Stephen Woodworth; and Janet Walden, vice-president (research partnerships programs) at NSERC.

Waterloo president Feridun Hamdullahpur also spoke at yesterday’s event, held in the Earth Sciences and Chemistry building, and so did Boxin Zhao, a chemical engineering professor who’s heading one of the new projects under NSERC's Strategic Project Grants Program.

“Supporting science and research is critical to Canada’s future economic growth,” says Goodyear.  “This investment will bring together 100 teams of some of the world’s top researchers to work with industry on promising new projects that will help strengthen our economy, create jobs and bring other benefits for communities, including right here in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge.”

NSERC president Suzanne Fortier sent word that “We have received a high number of quality submissions, and the peer review committees evaluating them are impressed with the excellence of the research teams, the importance and potential impact of the proposed research, and the strong support from partners.”

The grants, according to the news release, “support early-stage project research led by at least one researcher and a supporting organization. The goal of the program is to increase research and training in areas that could strongly influence Canada’s economy, society or environment in the next ten years.”

Through its many grant programs, NSERC supports work by a total of about 12,000 professors every year, “and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects.”

The five Waterloo projects that received funding yesterday:

• “A cross-layer optimization framework for coded wireless video multicast”, headed by En-hui Yang, electrical and computer engineering, leads the project, with colleague Pin-Han Ho. Funding: $549,370. Partners: Research in Motion Ltd., Waterloo Eion Inc. “The project aims to solve problems associated with the surging demand for real-time wireless video multicast services through broadband wireless access technologies, such as IEEE 802.16 and long-term evolution (LTE). The problems include a loss in video quality and how to handle diversity in multi-user channels. The project will establish a cross-layer optimization framework so that scalable video coding, multiple description coding and superposition coded modulation can be jointly designed and integrated to overcome both the multi-user diversity and transmission loss problems.”

• “Enabling Seamless Service Provisioning over cooperative heterogeneous wireless networks”, headed by Weihua Zhuang, electrical and computer engineering, with colleagues Jon Mark and Wei Song. Funding: $548,970. Partners: Industry Canada, Research in Motion. “The project investigates a set of enabling technologies to provide seamless, reliable and secure services in order to deliver information over wireless networks. In an anywhere, anytime and anyhow world, ubiquitous information access is essential. The project will deploy co-operative intelligence to effectively integrate various wireless access networks.”

• “Novel Conductive Adhesives as a Lead-free and Multifunctional Joining Alternative for Electronic Packaging”, headed by Boxin Zhao, chemical engineering, with colleagues Pearl Sullivan and Norman Zhou. Funding: $480,384. Partners: Celestica International Inc., Microbonds Inc. and Research in Motion. “The project focuses on meeting challenges in the joining process in electronics manufacturing where lead-containing soldering technology has long been the dominant technology. The conventional technology, however, faces increased demand for lighter and smaller devices made with less toxic materials. The project will forge new conductive adhesives as a lead-free alternative to provide strong bonding and multi-functional properties.”

• “Operation, communications and information management for smart electricity grids”, headed by Kankar Bhattacharya, electrical and computer engineering, with colleagues Catherine Rosenberg, Jatin Nathwani, Claudio Cañizares and Srinivasan Keshav. Funding: $627,394. Partners: ABB Corporate Research, Hydro One. and IBM Canada. “The project will develop a smart grid energy management tool for use by electric utilities and homes around the world. The collaborative research effort draws on expertise in power systems, communications engineering and information management. Smart grids connect such diverse technologies as advanced applications and use of distributed energy resources, communications, information management and automated controls. The goal is to create a more reliable and energy efficient grid.”

• “Transformational nanoscale technologies for high capacity energy storage”, headed by Linda Nazar, chemistry, with colleague Eric Prouzet. Funding: $393,000. Partners: Hydro-Québec, IBM Canada. “The project uses a multi-pronged approach to address challenges in the fundamental materials of components in rechargeable Lithium-air batteries. The research will identify key materials phenomena that will contribute to accelerating the performance of the batteries. The work will conduct solid state electrochemical and physical chemical studies to probe the underlying mechanisms of the processes involved. The resulting knowledge will be used to develop new battery architectures and chemistries, paving the way to the next generation of new high energy density energy storage systems.”


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Internet 'slowness' under investigation

A memo yesterday from information systems and technology: "Starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, UW has experienced intermittent slowness on our external network service. This has been traced to equipment
failures at one of our service providers, ORION, and they have made some repairs. However, we are still observing some slowness issues, and continue investigation with ORION."

Link of the day

National Hugging Day

When and where

Student health and dental plan change-of-coverage period for winter term ends today. Details.

Living Cities: Vision and Method colloquium and workshops, final day, Architecture building, Cambridge. Details.

Centre for Teaching Excellence workshop: “Enjoying Your Large Class” 1:30, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

‘CIDA: The Story of a Successful International Internship’ by Robert Rankin, former intern in Grenadines, 2:00, St. Paul’s U College.

Knowledge Integration seminar: Darren Meister, University of Western Ontario, “Rewarding Focus” 2:30, Environment 2 room 2002. Cancelled.

Career workshop: “Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills” 2:30, Tatham Centre room 2218, repeated Thursday 2:30. Details.

Philosophy colloquium: Wendy O’Brien-Ewara, “Simone de Beauvoir and the Problem of the Other’s Consciousness” 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Yvonne Wepler, department of psychology, retirement reception 3:30 to 5:30, PAS building room 3005.

Facebook Camp Hackathon open to students from Waterloo and U of Toronto, individuals or teams up to four, today 5 p.m. to Saturday 5 p.m., Student Life Centre. Details.

24-Hour Code-a-thon to create mobile apps for Windows Phone 7, starting 6 p.m., VeloCity (Minota Hagey Residence). Details.

Adoptee panel: international and transracial adult adoptees from Vietnam and Korea, 6:30, Arts Lecture Hall room 113. Film "Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam” Saturday 10:30, Princess Twin Cinema, Waterloo. Details.

Warrior sports this weekend: Men’s volleyball vs. Toronto Friday 7:00, PAC. • Men’s hockey vs. UOIT Friday 7:30, Icefield; at Windsor Saturday. • Basketball vs. Guelph Saturday, women 1:00, men 3:00, PAC. • Women’s volleyball at Lakehead Friday. • Women’s hockey at Toronto Saturday, at York Sunday. • Swimming, meet at Toronto, Saturday-Sunday. • Nordic skiing, North Bay invitational, Saturday-Sunday. • Squash, crossover tournament, details pending.

Chinese Students and Scholars Association Spring Festival Gala, 7:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

St. Jerome’s University lecture: Bishop Remi De Roo and Gregory Baum, “The Promises of Vatican II” 7:30, Siegfried Hall.

Fall term grades become official Monday.

Drop, no penalty period for winter term courses ends Monday; deadline for 100 per cent tuition fee refund.

Federation of Students election campaign begins Monday; voting February 8-10. Details.

Career workshop: “Career Interest Assessment” Monday 2:00, Tatham Centre room 1112. Details.

Employer interviews for spring term co-op jobs (“main” group of students) January 25 through February 16. Details.

Volunteer and Internship Fair organized by Centre for Career Action, Tuesday 11:00 to 2:30,  Student Life Centre.

Part-time master’s programs: information session on graduate opportunities at Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier U for working professionals, Tuesday 6:00, Davis Centre room 1301. Details.

[LIfeguard in action]

Jordan Anderson — a kinesiology graduate, Warrior athlete in cross-country, track and swimming, PAC lifeguard and campus recreation instructor — leaves for New Zealand today to take part in the International Surf Rescue Challenge at month's end. The competition will challenge Anderson "in ways he has never ben challenged on the beach and in the water," says a profile in the athletics department's Warrior Xtra newsletter. "In the open water of the ocean (with waves swirling up to six metres), Jordan and his Canadian counterparts will swim, paddleboard, surf-ski their way through multiple events that will challenge even the best lifeguards in the world. Sprint races will also be held on the beach in a variety of events designed to test reflexes and speed."


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