Five more Canada Research Chairs

For most, the prospect of getting a chair from the government brings about questions like “What the hell?” For some, however, this is a prestigious opportunity accepted with much pride.

Five University of Calgary professors were awarded Canada Research Chairs from the Government of Canada Thu., Oct. 23. This increased the total number of Canada Research Chairs at the U of C to 42 in areas such as biomedical engineering, medicine, genetics, archeology, psychology and theoretical physics.

Dr. Sheelaugh Carpendale, who specializes in information visualization, was one of the recipients.

“A lot of [my research] has to do with how you explore information,” she said. “We all have to deal with information all the time.”

Dr. Carpendale is hopeful the position will help fund her project on campus–making information more accessible to the people.

In 2000, the federal government created the Chair Program to support 2,000 research professors. The $900 million program has recognized over 1,000 Canadian professors to date.

There are two types of chairs. Tier 2 Chairs are awarded to researchers who, based on peer accord, have the potential to lead in their field. This five-year grant of $100,000 annually is provided to the researcher via their research institution.

Tier 1 Chairs are for professors who are already international leaders in their fields. This program provides a substantial amount of infrastructure: $200,000 for seven years that is renewable indefinitely.

Dr. George Chaconas is one of these world-renowned scientists. Dr. Chaconas is currently studying Borrelia burgdorferi, a form of bacteria that causes Lyme Disease.

“It certainly opens doors for one’s research,” explained Dr. Chaconas. “These Chairs run for a period of seven years. They provide salary support during that time, as well as funds that go back into [the laboratory] to push research forward.”

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