Release Date: April 28, 2006
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Eighth national research chair named at U of R
Christine W. Chan, a professor of electronic/software systems engineering at the University of Regina’s Faculty of Engineering, was named today as the University’s eighth Canada Research Chair.

University President Robert Hawkins said the announcement is important because it recognizes the University’s growing national and international reputation as a centre of research excellence.

"Energy and environment, together with informatics, are two of the University's five strategic research areas," said Hawkins. "Christine’s research encompasses both areas. It is especially gratifying to see this kind of collaborative, cross-disciplinary work recognized in such a substantial way."

Chan’s appointment as CRC Tier 1 in Energy and Environmental Informatics comes with research grants of $ 1.4 million, plus an infrastructure grant of $104,314 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) – an amount eligible for matching by the Saskatchewan government's Innovation and Science Fund.

As a software systems engineer, Chan designs information models to help understand the petroleum production and processing industries and their problems. Her research is helping improve the productivity of energy (including petroleum) processes as well as management of environmental pollution caused by the production and use of energy.

Chan notes that the industries are a vital part of Canada’s economy, contributing more than $75 billion per year. Yet at the same time, they are challenged by falling productivity and environmental issues.

“As a Canada Research Chair, I bring advanced computing technologies to bear on some of the most pressing problems the industry faces,” Chan says. “I design methods for acquiring and modeling the information as well as knowledge necessary to understand these industries and their processes.” Currently petroleum production management, carbon dioxide capture and petroleum waste management are the three industrial processes her work targets. Chan is also founder of the Energy Informatics Laboratory at the Faculty of Engineering.

The Canada Research Chair Program was established by the federal government in 2000, with an allocation of $900 million. The program aims to make 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 1,641 CRCs at 73 universities across the country.

“The important investments made in university research have re-energized our campuses and given the country's top researchers – our Canada Research Chairs – the support they need to fully realize their innovative ideas," said Maxime Bernier, federal minister of industry and minister responsible for the Canada Research Chairs program, in making today’s announcement.

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