CFI Rewards Acadia Researchers

(Wolfville, N.S.) - The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) announced today that it has awarded $168,301 to Acadia University to support two projects led by Kirk Hillier and Jennie Rand.

"The investments being announced today for Acadia University will further enhance our country's reputation as a destination of choice for outstanding researchers," said Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and CEO of the CFI. "They will make our universities even more competitive when it comes to attracting the best and brightest researchers from around the world."

The CFI continues to support cutting-edge research infrastructure that helps stimulate various sectors of our economy associated with such capital projects.  It is estimated that every dollar invested directly in research yields over $7 in economic benefits including spin off jobs.

Dr. Kirk Hillier has received $129,135 to establish a Chemical Analysis and Bio-Imaging Laboratory. Dr. Hillier's research specialty is neuroscience and behaviour of olfaction, which is the sense of smell.  By studying insect's neural responses to chemicals in the environment, in particular pheromones, researchers can learn new methods of environmental protection and develop sustainable strategies for managing threats to agriculture, forestry, and health.

"The new CFI-funded laboratory will bring new techniques in imaging, electrophysiology and behavioural neuroscience to Acadia, and will contribute to making Acadia a world-class centre for live-cell bio-imaging," explains Hillier. "Having gas chromatography directly linked with imaging devices, this lab will be unique to Acadia -- it is virtually the only one of its kind in the world."

Dr. Jennie Rand is an emerging researcher in the Canadian drinking water industry. Her research focuses on improving municipal water quality in rural communities with a focus on the concern of nitrogen species in water, which can form as disinfection by-products and originate from fertilizers and manure. Dr. Rand is awarded $39,166 to develop Infrastructure for Nutrient Management and Drinking Water Treatment..

The project will see the installation of an ion chromatography (IC) system in the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre at Acadia University. 

"This will build Acadia's capacity to carry out important research on the development of innovative contaminant removal tools and disinfection practices, which will be particularly beneficial to the Annapolis Valley and other agriculturally-based regions in Canada," explains Rand.  "Ultimately, this research will lead to a better understanding of the links between human activities and water quality in rural areas, and aid in developing solutions for the complex challenges of sustaining agricultural communities."

Dr. Tom Herman, Acadia's Vice-President, Academic, welcomed the CFI's investment: "Acadia has a wealth of relevant research taking place on our campus. With continued investment and recognition by bodies such as the CFI, our researchers can continue to improve the lives of Canadians."

The CFI announced a total of $59,483,432 in new funds to support 263 projects at 40 institutions across Canada. The investment was approved by the CFI's Board of Directors in November 2009, following a rigorous merit-review process. A total of $45,756,486 was awarded under the Leaders Opportunity Fund, which provides infrastructure support to Canadian institutions so they can attract and retain the very best of today and tomorrow's leading researchers at a time of intense international competition for knowledge workers. The remaining $13,726,946 was awarded under the Infrastructure Operating Fund, a complementary program that assists research institutions with the incremental operating and maintenance costs associated with new infrastructure projects.

For a complete list of the projects awarded, please visit

About CFI

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is an independent corporation created by the Government of Canada to fund research infrastructure. The CFI's mandate is to strengthen the capacity of Canadian universities, colleges, research hospitals, and non-profit research institutions to carry out world-class research and technology development that benefits Canadians. Since its creation in 1997, the CFI has committed almost $5.2 billion in support of more than 6,300 projects at 130 institutions in 65 municipalities across Canada.

About Acadia University

Acadia University, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, has long been recognized as one of Canada's premier undergraduate institutions. With its nationally and internationally recognized research initiatives, small class sizes, and technology-rich teaching and learning environment, Acadia offers students an experience that includes academic achievement combined with personal growth and development. Learn more at:

- 30 -

For further information:

Sherri Turner

Public Affairs Officer

Acadia University

Tel.: 902-585-1362

Cell.: 902-698-2977


Yves Melanson

Coordinator, Media Relations

Canada Foundation for Innovation

Tel.: 613-996-3160

Cell.: 613-447-1723


Go back

 Media Centre

 Communications Office

Media Contact

Robyn McBain
Director, Brand and Marketing