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  • September 09, 2016

Fostering Discoveries and Creating Jobs in Thunder Bay

Province Announces Successful Recipients of Research Awards

Ontario is investing $340,000 in world-class research to build Ontario’s knowledge-based economy in Thunder Bay. This funding will boost the province’s ability to attract and retain highly skilled researchers and innovators and will help sharpen Ontario’s competitive edge by fostering discoveries and supporting knowledge-based jobs. 

In Thunder Bay, at Lakehead University, Ontario is supporting:

 Early Researcher Awards: 

Dr. Christopher Musquash at Lakehead University, whose research will identify appropriate targets of intervention, examine culture –based and western treatment approaches for Indigenous mental health and addiction, and develop evaluation methods. It involves collaborative partnerships grounded in community and respectful of Indigenous understandings of wellness. Importantly, it will improve wellness for Indigenous individuals, families, and communities so they can benefit from employment and economic development opportunities.         

Dr. Vicki Kristman at Lakehead University, whose research will try to determine if a supervisor training program can improve work disability outcomes for injured and ill workers. Supervisors within randomly selected work units will receive training. The training intends to increase problem solving skills to reduce absenteeism, improve supervisor response to injury and illness, and improve supervisor communication skills. Findings have the potential to impact the Ontario economy, employers, and the lives of Ontario workers.  

Ontario Research Fund – Research Infrastructure Award: 

Dr. Lew Christopher at Lakehead University, whose research aims at developing novel transformative, cost-effective and environmentally-sound technologies and products from renewable resources that can replace imported fossil-based fuels and petrochemicals and create new opportunities for the emerging Bio economy.           

Building our knowledge economy is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest infrastructure investment in hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit in Ontario's history and is investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement. 


“Our government recognizes the importance of investing in our innovation ecosystem. We are proud to support the work of people in Thunder Bay, at Lakehead University, who are at the forefront of scientific discovery. Their research will pave the way for future advancements that will help Ontario compete and win in the global economy.” 

-Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science  

“This investment in world class research at Lakehead University is another example of how our Province continues work to strengthen our economy and at the same time improve the lives of our citizens.  I am particularly proud of Lakehead University and its’ role as a research leader, and an innovator, in the postsecondary education sector.  Lakehead continually rises to meet the research and education challenges of our continually evolving economy, as well as the social factors affecting our Province.”  

-Bill Mauro, MPP Thunder Bay -Atikokan 

“We are proud to invest in ground breaking, world-class research right here in Thunder Bay. Our researchers are pivotal to building a knowledge-driven economy in Ontario, one that will draw investment and strengthen our province’s competitive edge. Congratulations to all of the well-deserving researchers receiving these competitive awards.”  

-Michael Gravelle, MPP Thunder Bay –Superior North

“The ERA program is extremely valuable in that it provides exceptional early career researchers like Dr. Mushquash and Dr. Kristman with support to build their research teams of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research assistants at a critical time in their careers, the beginning,” “The Research Infrastructure support will allow Dr. Christopher to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for the Bio refining Research Institute, building upon MRI’s investment in BRI Research Chairs at Lakehead University in 2008.”

-Dr. Andrew Dean, Vice-President Research and Innovation, Lakehead University.


  • Projects were evaluated through a rigorous peer review process involving Canadian and international academic and industry experts. Successful projects were chosen based on their research excellence and their economic and societal benefits to Ontario.


  • Ontario’s Early Researcher Awards program is providing $11 million to support 79 research projects at 22 research institutions across the province. The program helps promising and recently appointed researchers make new discoveries while creating jobs for graduate and undergraduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates and technicians.



  • Ontario is promoting the use of genomics-derived solutions to address sector challenges by investing $3.4 million in five research projects through the Genomic Applications Partnership Program.


  • Through the Large Scale Applied Research Project, Ontario is providing $1.8 million to support five genomics research projects in the agri-food and fisheries/aquaculture industries.



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