Premier’s Research Excellence Awards to McMaster Researchers


Six researchers from McMaster University will receive the Premier's Research Excellence Awards (PREA), Energy, Science and Technology Minister Jim Wilson announced today on behalf of Premier Mike Harris. The researchers will receive up to $600,000 from the province and up to $300,000 from the university.

“The Premier's Research Excellence Awards recognize and pay tribute to our best and brightest young researchers,” Wilson said. “They are the Nobel Prize winners of the future, and I'm pleased that this award program will help keep them here in Ontario. The awards help us in the fight against the brain drain, which the government means to win.”

“The Premier's Research Excellence Awards point to the importance of Ontario's universities and colleges as key centres of research – centres that can help Ontario foster innovation and turn ideas into new opportunities for economic development,” said Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Dianne Cunningham. “The awards also open up opportunities for graduate students and other young scientists.”

The recipients were cited for their work in the following areas:

7 Dr. Richard Austin for research into atherosclerosis and vascular disease;

7 Dr. Hugh Couchman for research into the numerical simulation of cosmic structure;

7 Dr. Derek McKay for research into the regulation of intestinal function and mechanisms of inflammation;

7 Dr .W. Jack Rink for research into electron spin resonance and luminescence dating in Palaeolithic archaeology and geological studies;

7 Dr. Mark A. Tarnopolsky for research into evaluating novel therapeutic interventions in the rehabilitation of patients with neuromuscular and neurometabolic disease;

7 Dr. Shiping (Stephen) Zhu for research into theoretical and experimental contributions in the fields of polymer science and engineering.

“These awards are an investment in research excellence,” Wilson said. “With them, the universities and the government signal their recognition that science and technology will bring high-tech jobs, economic prosperity, and a better quality of life for everyone.”

The Premier's Research Excellence Awards were created in 1998 to help Ontario's world-class researchers attract talented people to their research teams and to encourage innovation among the province's brightest young thinkers at universities, colleges, hospitals and research institutes. The 10-year, $127.5-million awards program includes an $85-million investment from the province, with $42.5 million coming from research institutions or private sector partners. This overall total reflects the goverment's May 2000 budget commitment to double the annual funding of the awards program from $5 million to $10 million.

In 1999, 128 researchers received awards worth a total of $12.7 million from the province for research projects on everything from the human genome and new drugs to high-speed computing and communications systems to developing new materials for industry.