Research Technician Initiative Recipients Announced - Times & Transcript
By Dylan Hacket, Times & Transcript | Link to original article
The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation announced the recipients of its $500,000 Research Technician Initiative yesterday.
Seven New Brunswick researchers at post-secondary institutions have received funds to hire the technicians they need to fast-track their innovations.
One of the recipients is Dr. Luc Tremblay from l’Université de Moncton, who is researching novel methods for the characterization of fossil fuels and preservation of non-biodegradable organic matter.
“A large part of my work is fundamental research. I am collecting samples from the ocean and sediment to try and understand why they are preserved and some rapidly decomposed,” said Tremblay, who is currently on sabbatical in the south of France.
Tremblay said the funding from NBIF reduces stress on professors as well as students. It allows them the opportunity to focus on research and students and not necessarily the tasks required to maintain a lab.
“The problem we face in university research is lack of working people, most of our labs are run by students,” said Tremblay.
“Professors are working on finding new projects and money and writing papers and what not. Having a technician reduces a lot of pressure on my shoulders because all the stuff that is very practical — ordering chemicals and buying materials and taking care of the lab — day-to-day jobs is something a technician can do and we don’t like to do, as a professor is not an efficient way of using our time. Having that technician will reduce the tasks in the lab,”
The funding, which is awarded in partnership with the New Brunswick Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, covers 50 per cent of the salary and benefits of seven new research technicians for three years. Research technicians are most often PhD-trained scientists and engineers.
Other areas of research include a technology that could end with the creation of a true 3D camera. Another is the development of advanced cellulose production technology.
Mount Allison University researchers Khashayar Ghandi and Felix Baerlocher have received $150,000. They are developing a heat-resistant, non-toxic liquid plastic that conducts electricity, a product that can only reach the market with the help of a research technician.
“Our government is pleased to be able to support the Research Technicians Initiative of the NBIF,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Danny Soucy. “Helping to grow the New Brunswick economy through innovation starts with education and learning, and when instructors have the resources to do leading edge research, what they learn finds its way into their classrooms and labs and impacts the way students look at economic opportunities.”
Since 2003, NBIF and PETL have awarded $4.5 million to create 67 new positions under the Research Technician Initiative, unlocking $21 million more from recipient institutions, national granting councils and industry.