Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada
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New networks advance knowledge on biofuels, marine environment and eldercare

Welcoming three new Networks of Centres on May 30

Welcoming three new Networks of Centres on May 30

Following the competition held in late 2011, three new Networks of Centres of Excellence were awarded funding. The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, made the announcement in Montreal on May 30.

The BioFuelNet NCE will connect various elements of the Canadian biofuels and bioproducts sector, accelerating developments and filling gaps in the research. The research program will focus on making Canada a leader in developing the next generation of biofuels, exploring everything from the raw materials used as feedstocks to the conversion process and needs of the end user. Scientific Director Dr. Don Smith wants advanced biofuels to supply a quarter of Canada’s fuel needs within the next two decades. “We are looking at sources for fuel that are as varied as forestry and agricultural residue and fast-growing plants such as switchgrass, as well as those from algae, processed paper waste, sewage and trash,” he says.

The Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response Network will improve Canada’s capacity to monitor its oceans and respond to marine emergencies, whether caused by extreme weather, rising ocean levels or environmental disasters. The network’s projects will include developing and testing new tools for rapid environmental assessment and marine environment forecasting during emergencies. “We are particularly vulnerable to extremes and emergencies because of our long coastline, rapidly changing environment and growing economic dependence on oceans,” explains Scientific Director Dr. Doug Wallace. “Canada needs to be a world leader in ocean research.”

The Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network will develop, evaluate and disseminate information about various technologies used in the care of elderly patients. The network focuses on a specific population: seriously ill patients who are generally excluded from clinical trials. It will cover a wide range of technologies, including basic to advanced forms of life support technologies as well as strategies to improve the quality of end of life care. The network “has a tremendous opportunity to create new knowledge and best practices around the use of health care technologies for seriously ill elderly patients,” says Scientific Director Dr. Daren Heyland.

The three new networks were awarded funding totaling $73.8 million over five years.

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