NBIF Supports 13 New Positions Through 2018-2019 Research Professionals Initiative Funding Round

Before undertaking a large-scale study or developing a novel product, researchers must ensure that they have the proper equipment at their disposal: a way to observe specimens or test hypotheses, a way to collect data, and a way to analyze that data. But they also need a brilliant team of professionals and technicians around them, each contributing to the project with their unique area of expertise.

With the Research Professionals Initiative (RPI) program, formerly known as the Research Technicians Initiative (RTI), the NBIF is helping to address this personnel gap in research projects taking place in New Brunswick every day, from Shippagan to Saint John to Grand Falls. The close of the 2018-2019 RPI funding round saw the creation of thirteen new research positions at institutions like Valores, University of New Brunswick, CCNB, NBCC and Université de Moncton.

Funding is provided to a maximum of $90,000 per position created, evenly spread over a three year term. The NBIF contributed $1,124,000 toward the creation of these positions, with another $1,683,700 being leveraged from other funding sources and partners. 85% of this total investment was directed toward projects in one of New Brunswick’s strategic priority areas. Several positions were created in the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) field, but significant investments were also made in important sectors like Energy and Environment, Biosciences and Aerospace and Defense.

The NBIF was thrilled to receive twice as many applications for this funding round as we did for our last round in 2017-2018. This is a clear sign that the research sector in New Brunswick is expanding and creating new opportunities for talented professionals to come and work in this province. Two of the most exciting research projects recognized this year by the NBIF are being led, respectively, by Dr. Bill McIver, Office of Applied Research at NBCC, and Dr. Jacques Gagnon, Ph.D and Directeur scientifique – péche et produits marins at CZRI-IRZC.

Dr. McIver’s work in Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing is broadly related to data analytics, which plays a key role in applications in the consumer financial technology, virtual reality and education and employee training sectors. Hiring a software engineering expert will allow him and his team to quickly complete their research agenda, begin working on use cases for new technologies and work with industrial partners to commercialize new products and services stemming from their research.

Dr. Gagnon’s work is quite different – as part of his research into material waste on the Acadian Peninsula’s coastal zones, he is currently researching ways to preserve delicate coastal byproducts by dehydrating them without the use of heat. NBIF’s RPI funding will allow him to hire an engineer to commission a pilot scale radiation drying unit, potentially opening up new value-added product avenues for byproducts like fish scales or unwanted blueberries and cranberries.

At the NBIF, we know that new jobs mean new people, and new people mean new ideas. Keeping New Brunswick’s innovation ecosystem healthy means being able to attract highly skilled professionals to live, work and build their careers in this province. That’s the purpose of our Research Professionals Initiative program – to help us bring these people, their projects and their ideas to New Brunswick.

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