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Lakehead University gets another $2.25 million for research

One project will study how various tree species might mitigate water reduction in the forest.
Lakehead University sign

THUNDER BAY — A research team at Lakehead University will use a federal grant to study a method of mitigating the impact of climate changes in the boreal forest.

It's one of more than 30 LU research projects funded this year by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, with grants totalling more than $2.25 million.

Dr. Han Chen, a professor in Natural Resources Management, is receiving $275,000 over five years to examine how various tree species might help offset the negative impacts of reduced water availability in the northern forest.

The study will rely on a water-alteration experiment in natural boreal forests, but details were not provided in a university news release Tuesday.

"The success of my research program is highly dependent on the effective training of highly qualified personnel," Chen said. "Our findings will help develop strategies to cope with climate change in Canada's boreal forests."

Another significant grant, $155,000, was awarded to Dr. Muntasir Billah, assistant professor in Civil Engineering.

He'll lead a five-year project developing a bridge system that can endure multiple hazards at the same time, such as an earthquake and a tsunami, or an earthquake and a flood.

"Successful completion of this research will not only create guidelines for practitioners to design and analyze bridges against multiple hazards, but also develop innovative, smart structural components that will enhance bridge safety," Billah said.

The LU announcement stated that the project has the potential to improve the resilience of Canada's highway infrastructure.

NSERC funding also generates additional support from a federal program that offsets the indirect costs of research conducted by universities.

For 2018/2019, Lakehead expected to receive nearly $2 million from that fund.