Release Date: November 10, 2005
Media Contact: Jim Duggleby, External Relations
Phone: (306) 585.5439
Mobile: (306) 536.4312
Fax: (306) 585.4997
Geographer awarded U of R's seventh Canada Research Chair
Joe Piwowar, an associate professor of geography involved in climate change research, has been awarded the University of Regina's seventh Canada Research Chair. Piwowar uses geographic information systems (GIS) to understand how climate change affects the management of Prairie resources.

The Canada Research Chairs Program was established by the federal government in 2000, with an allocation of $900 million aimed at making Canada one of the world's top five countries for research and development. When all the chairs are filled there will be 2,000 CRC professorships across the country. With today's announcements, there are 1,577 CRCs in the country.

"One of Canada's most important national assets is its greatest minds," said David Emerson, minister of industry and minister responsible for the Canada Research Chair program. "By empowering the most talented university researchers, the Chairs program has become the keystone of the government's strategy to invigorate Canadian research, innovation and know-how."

The prestigious award is good news for the University, says U of R's vice-president (research and international), Allan Cahoon.

"Environment is one of the University's five strategic research areas," said Cahoon. "This will help us expand our expertise in GIS, and help one of our newer researchers to develop a research agenda that integrates GIS and the environment.

"GIS encompasses science, arts and engineering," Cahoon added. "Joe's chair will help us develop additional expertise in this area in a collaborative, cross-disciplinary way."

The appointment will give the University's research program a significant financial boost. CRC will provide $100,000 per year for five years - an amount which may be matched by the Province in the first two years. The award helps establish a research team in the area supported by the Chair, including graduate students and other researchers across campus.

In addition, the Canada Foundation for Innovation will provide an infrastructure grant of $149,102 - an amount eligible for matching by the Saskatchewan government's Innovation and Science Fund.

Piwowar says his research focuses on issues of environmental balance. 

"We live in a period of increasing demands on limited resources and rapidly changing environments," he says. "Resource overuse has resulted in environmental, atmospheric, and social changes, particularly in Prairie regions. We will provide information on which to base new management strategies that ensure the sustainability of these resources for future generations."

Previous recipients of CRCs at the University of Regina include Shadia Drury in interdisciplinary studies; Guo (Gordon) Huang in environmental engineering; Peter Leavitt in evolution and ecology; Randy Lewis in physics; Greg Marchildon in social sciences and humanities; and Carol Schick in education.

For further information please call (306)536-4312.