In the future, polymers and plastics will be much more than passive materials and packaging. Instead, there will be high performance plastics that change colors, emit light and are able to sense and change according to the surroundings. This is what research being conducted at the University of Manitoba is moving toward, made possible by renewed funding awarded to a University of Manitoba Canada Research Chair (CRC).
Today, the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), announced the renewal of two CRCs at the University of Manitoba, representing an investment of $1 million from the federal government.
“Our government recognizes the important role that research excellence plays in furthering innovation and competitiveness, two main elements in our science and technology strategy,” notes Goodyear. “This is why we announced a $5.1-billion investment in science and technology in Budget 2009 - Canada’s Economic Action Plan. The Canada Research Chairs Program helps universities attract and retain the best researchers in the world, which promotes job creation, enhances the quality of life of Canadians and strengthens the economy for future generations.”
Dr. Digvir Jayas, acting vice-president (research) at the University of Manitoba, says the renewals continue the important research already underway by these two researchers and the impact that this research has on the lives of Manitobans, Canadians and people around the world.
“Drs. Perry and Freund are leaders in their fields and are prime examples of the calibre of the researchers at the University of Manitoba. We congratulate them on having their Chairs renewed today,” Jayas says. “The importance of studying our past and, in particular, the social history of Western Canada, helps us as a society come to new understandings of our ever-changing cultural landscape. Improving the lives of individuals with diabetes is nearer thanks to the research being conducted by Dr. Freund and the funding provided by the CRC program.”
Canada Research Chair in Western Canadian Social History: Dr. Adele Perry, history, is examining Canada’s western region from the vantage point of international social history. In this second term of her Chair, Perry will pursue several interrelated research projects.
The first is a study of kinship, migration and intimacy in the British Empire rooted in a history of the families of James Douglas, Caribbean-born fur-trader and colonial governor of British Columbia and his elite Métis wife, Amelia Connolly. This work will make a significant contribution to the social history of British colonialism, race and western Canada in the nineteenth-century.
Perry will also begin a new project examining liberal humanitarian critiques of British administration of the fur-trade territories of the North American West in the middle-years of the nineteenth-century. It will highlight the role played by Métis barrister and author Alexander K. Isbister. This work will build directly on Perry’s previous research on colonial British Columbia, her study of the Connolly-Douglas family and her expertise in the history of women, gender, and sexuality. Perry’s study of liberal humanitarian critiques of the British administration of Rupertsland and Vancouver Island responds to an international historiography that draws attention to the significance of liberalism, Abolitionism, and humanitarianism to the politics of the nineteenth-century British Empire.
Canada Research Chair in Conducting Polymers and Electronic Materials: Dr. Michael Freund, chemistry, is involved in the development of new strategies for controlling the chemical and electronic properties of conducting polymers as well as their use in sensing applications. Unlike metals, the properties of electrically conducting polymers can be manipulated using principles and reactions common in synthetic organic chemistry. One of the biggest challenges in the field is implementing this chemistry without destroying its conducting properties. Freund is working on strategies that would preserve and control these properties.
Freund is also developing these polymers for sensing and electronic applications. For example, they are being designed for detecting sugars, of particular importance for the development of implantable sensors for monitoring diabetes. In collaboration with colleagues in Electrical Engineering, Freund is also developing new conducting polymer systems that could form the basis of cheaper electronic devices that could be integrated into fabrics and packaging materials.
The University of Manitoba currently holds 48 Canada Research Chairs. Chairholders are research leaders in natural sciences and engineering, health sciences, or social sciences and humanities.
For further information please contact: Janine Harasymchuk, manager, research communications & marketing, at: 204-474-7300.