Cape Breton University researchers were recognized by the Government of Canada with the recent award of funding through the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) esteemed John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). These awards will support the development of research spaces at CBU, including the purchase of state-of-the-art lab equipment, as well as an accessible space for community-engaged research. Two projects at CBU were awarded a total of $324,812, announced by the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry in Ottawa on August 11, 2021.
Dr. Xu Zhang, Water Treatment and Environmental Remediation Laboratory
As the Tier II Canada Research Chair in Healthy Environments and Communities and Industrial Research Chair in Applied Nanotechnology, Dr. Xu Zhang is a leader in water research as it relates to healthy communities, extending well beyond the CBU campus. He is also a Professor of Chemistry in the School of Science and Technology. JELF funding will be directed toward the purchase of critical equipment for a multi-disciplinary Water Treatment and Environmental Remediation (WaTER) Research Laboratory.
The WaTER Research Lab will build on CBU’s research strengths, contributing to the work of researchers in the areas of environmental toxicology and remediation, sustainable energy and materials, environmental toxicology, health and Indigenous community studies.
Dr. Zhang says this funding will contribute to efficiencies in his research program. He currently uses off-site lab equipment for certain processes, so he says the investment from JELF will streamline the schedule and build CBU’s research capabilities.
“This funding will make a significant impact on our work related to technology development and energy efficient solutions to water treatment, including the ongoing research in water quality in First Nation communities,” says Dr. Zhang. “The new equipment we are planning to add to our lab space will support new research pursuits and innovations in environmental health sciences.”
Dr. Catherine Leviten-Reid, Community-University Housing Research Lab
The study of affordable rental housing in Canada is an important research pursuit for Dr. Catherine Leviten-Reid, researcher and Associate Professor in CBU’s MBA in Community Economic Development in the Shannon School of Business. With a focus on the local experience, she has become a national voice in the conversation about affordable housing for all. With the award of JELF funding, Dr. Leviten-Reid will work toward developing a space to support the community-engaged and community-led research that is the core of her research agenda.
The new lab space will be developed in the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation, located in Sydney’s downtown. Dr. Leviten-Reid says a dedicated lab space in an accessible off-campus location is key to reaching the target population, as transportation can be a barrier that would prevent them from sharing their experiences to inform this research.
“This CFI funding will allow us to work within the heart of the community, providing a welcoming space for those living in rental housing of different kinds, those experiencing homelessness, as well as the service providers that we are collaborating with on this project,” says Dr. Leviten-Reid.
Dr. Tanya Brann-Barrett, Vice-President Academic and Research, says the award of JELF funds is an important contribution to CBU’s research portfolio. “We are so proud of our researchers who continue to seek opportunities to develop research spaces. This funding will not only support their own research priorities, but will also build CBU’s research capacity for years to come.”
Congratulations to Dr. Zhang and Dr. Leviten-Reid for receiving these awards!