Ontario government awards Waterloo researchers nearly $8M

A scientist using a pipette with a microtiter plate and a petri dish
A scientist using a pipette with a microtiter plate and a petri dish
Funding will aid research to treat arsenic pollution in mines, enhance data privacy and address future infectious diseases

Four University of Waterloo researchers were awarded funding earlier this month from the Ontario government for innovative research that ranges from cleaning up arsenic-laden mine waste, treating potential virus outbreaks, and using artificial intelligence to protect valuable financial data.

The funding earmarked for Waterloo researchers totalled nearly $8 million and is provided through the Ontario Research Fund, which focuses on advancing the development of innovative new products and technologies. The money will broadly support the Waterloo researchers to attract top talent, cover the cost of operations, and help build, renovate, or equip research facilities with the latest technologies.

The researchers whose work was recognized for funding assistance include:
  • $2 million awarded to Dr. Sachdev Sidhu for a project that will support the development of therapeutics for infectious diseases that currently circulate or have pandemic potential;
  • $2 million was awarded to Dr. David Blowes for a project to explore and evaluate effective and financially viable remediation and management strategies aimed at minimizing the negative environmental impacts of arsenic-bearing mine wastes;
  • $2 million awarded to Dr. Florian Kerschbaum for research that aims to develop novel secure and privacy-focused machine learning techniques to better protect Ontario-based fintech and manufacturing industries from data leakage;
  • $1.7 million was awarded to Dr. Michael Reimer for work to develop a special camera that will help take more efficient images of the eye for early identification of blinding diseases that will help prevent vision loss, reduce healthcare costs, and improve quality of life.

"Thank you to our Ontario government partners for their continued support of research and innovation at the University of Waterloo through the Ontario Research Fund," said Charmaine Dean, Vice President, Research and International.

"The funded projects span a variety of research areas with significant impact for the province. From mine remediation to early detection of blinding diseases to prevention of data leaks, these investments will result in tangible benefits for the people of Ontario and beyond."

The Ontario Research Fund provides up to one-third of the total value of a research project, with the remaining two-thirds coming from a combination of private sector and institutional contributions.