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NBIF Names 3 New Research Chairs

The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) today established three new applied research chairs valued at $3,525,000 over five years. Areas of research include the commercialization of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids for food and pharmaceuticals; advanced cyber security threat detection, response and mitigation systems; and biomedical human prosthetic and augmentation devices.

Today’s ceremony presents the first three of six recipients. Each will receive $1,000,000 in applied research funding over five years, plus two graduate research assistants and one research technician, valued at $175,000.

Obtaining the chair was a highly competitive process held over several months. In total, the province’s research institutes and universities sent 19 letters of intent. Of those, nine were requested to submit a written proposal and five invited to make a presentation before a selection committee of NBIF and PETL officials, academics and business people. Three were chosen, highlighted in detail below.

The remaining three chairs will be selected in the winter of 2015. The competition begins with a letter of intent to be delivered to NBIF not later than October 31, 2014. For the final round, preference will be given to candidates that are external to the applicant organization. For more information about the competition, click here.

The 2014 recipients of the New Brunswick Innovation Research Chair are:

Dr. Erik Scheme  – NB Innovation Research Chair in Medical Devices and Technology – University of New Brunswick – $1,175,000

As technology advances, the demand for advanced wearable medical devices has seen a rapid increase in the past five years, including smart prosthetic hands and limbs, multi-monitoring devices for human physiology, and more recently, human augmentation technologies. Dr. Scheme’s mandate is to position New Brunswick as a world leader in the discovery, innovation and commercialization of medical devices and technologies.

Dr. Marc Surette – NB Innovation Research Chair in Biosciences – Université de Moncton – $1,175,000

Common sources of omega-3 fatty acids currently come from animals, and most predominantly fish. However, their increased use in food and supplements is pushing demand beyond supply. Dr. Surette will work in partnership with agricultural companies to develop crops of a specific plant that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, opening up new opportunities for farmers and industry in New Brunswick and beyond.

Dr. Natalia Stakhanova – NB Innovation Research Chair in Cyber Security – University of New Brunswick – $1,175,000

Despite enormous achievements in computing, the recent Heart Bleed Bug demonstrated that no organization, regardless of size, power, or wealth, is immune to cyber security threats. As more industries, enterprises, and governments integrate their online systems with countless other organizations, doing business in the digital age has opened a whole new set of problems. Dr. Stakhanova will lead the research and development of novel detection and response technologies for current, trending and anticipated cyber security threats, and facilitate their adoption by primary industries.