Climate change among 49 new U of S research projects

The lessons of ancient climate changes, renewable energy's effect on the power grid, and the psychology of distraction are among the projects being pursued by University of Saskatchewan researchers who have been awarded $7.6 million from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

The projects are among 49 NSERC Discovery and Discovery Accelerator grants to the U of S. Examples include:

Lorin Elias, a professor of psychology, will examine lateral biases - that is, people's tendency to favour one side over another - even to the point that they will bump into things with their right side more often than with their left. His work has implications for everything from display lighting and advertising to workplace and traffic safety, through his work with the Canadian Naturalistic Driving Study.

Rama Gokaraju, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, will receive $150,000 to examine the communications systems and electronic hardware that keep the power grid stable. Power grid control systems must evolve to accommodate input from traditional central power plants as well as intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

Bill Patterson, a professor of geological sciences, will receive $110,000 to sample lake sediments for analysis at the Saskatchewan Isotope Laboratory at the U of S, home of the world's only 3D robotic micromilling facility. With it, he will examine mollusks retrieved from lake sediments, teasing out information on what prehistoric seasonal temperatures were like. This knowledge is critical to understanding past and current climate to better predict future changes.

For a full list of the new U of S research projects, click here.

Nine doctoral scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships to the U of S were also announced today. Among them are:

Philip Boutin, a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry, is exploring the potential of a novel complex molecule called bis-isoindigo to manufacture electronic components, specifically organic field effect transistors (OFETs). Boutin hopes to help develop OFETs that are closer in efficiency to their rigid, silicon-based counterparts, helping usher in new, flexible electronic component applications.

Amanda Guy, a PhD candidate in the Department of Soil Sciences, is studying carbon content in soils in Nunavut in Canada's high Arctic, with the aim of better understanding how climate change may affect the world's polar deserts. She is collaborating with colleagues in Australia to compare her findings with conditions in Antarctica. The two regions differ significantly, with the Arctic polar deserts supporting some plant life while life in the south polar region is largely limited to bacteria and mosses.

For the full list of the new doctoral scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships at the U of S, click here.


For more information, contact:
James Shewaga
Media Relations Specialist
University of Saskatchewan
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