Algoma University is pleased to announce that three Biology faculty members have won Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grants. Drs. Brandon Schamp, Pedro Antunes, and Jennifer Foote have been awarded a combined total of $405,000 to help fund their research endeavours. This is the first time three Biology professors at Algoma University have been awarded substantial funding from NSERC in the same year.
“The NSERC results are a powerful endorsement of the quality of our Biology program,” said President Dr. Richard Myers. “These grants have become increasingly competitive across the country. The fact that all three applicants from Biology were successful this year is impressive. And when you consider that Dr. Molina already holds an NSERC from another competition, that means 80% of our biologists have NSERC funding – an outstanding ratio for any university anywhere.”
NSERC Discovery Grants support on-going research for up to five years in duration, which have long-term goals, as well as a research training component. The intent of the program is to support and maintain a diversified base of high-quality research capability in the natural sciences and engineering at Canadian universities. Discovery Grants can be held by an individual or by a team of researchers.
Originally from Kitchener, Ontario, Dr. Brandon Schamp, an Associate Professor with a speciality in community ecology, has been awarded $160,000 over five years. Schamp earned his degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University (B.Sc. Honours) and Queen’s University (M.Sc. and P.hD.). His grant will be used to hire student research assistants, fund graduate students, and purchase equipment and consumables required to carry out research with these students. The long-term objective of Schamp’s research is to understand how competition, dispersal, predation, and adaption to environmental conditions contribute to community structure.
Associate Professor Dr. Pedro Antunes, who was recently named a Canada Research Chair, has been awarded with $140,000 over five years. From Lisbon, Portugal, Antunes earned his education from the University of Evora (B.Sc.) and the University of Guelph (Ph.D.). His area of expertise includes the study of soils and their interactions with living organisms. His grant will enable him to research the capacity in which soil organisms influence the growth and reproductive success of plants.
From Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Dr. Jennifer Foote, an Associate Professor and behavioural ecologist, will receive $105,000 over five years. Educated at Saint Mary’s University (B.Sc Honours), Dalhousie University (M.Sc), and Queen’s University (Ph.D.), her funding will aid her research endeavours on communication networks and nocturnal behaviour in songbirds. Her NSERC grant will also be used to hire summer research assistants within Algoma U, fund Master’s students’ stipends, and purchase recording and analysis equipment for studying singing behaviour.