Mining and Materials Engineering Department Professor Mathieu Brochu
Mining and Materials Engineering Department Professor Mathieu Brochu, a Hydro-Québec nanoengineering Faculty Scholar Award winner, uses a Spark Plasma Sintering Press to research improved methods of manufacturing nanomaterials.

Funding faculty phenoms

Young professors need help launching their careers, especially as they establish labs and recruit the top-level personnel they need to succeed.

In 2008, two years after joining the Department of Mining and Materials Engineering, Showan Nazhat was awarded one of three inaugural Gerald Hatch Faculty Fellowships, established through a $3-million gift from Dr. Gerald G. Hatch, BEng’44, DSc’90, to recognize outstanding professors whose work has potential for collaborative, interdisciplinary research.

Thanks in part to the three-year award and its $25,000 annual stipend, Professor Nazhat was able to expand his research, which focuses on developing biocompatible materials for tissue engineering and nano-structured scaffolding that can be used to help repair or augment connective tissues in the body.

“The fellowship helped me immensely in expanding my research portfolio, which in turn helped me apply for more funding,” he says. “It allowed me to leverage my funding to recruit PhD students, post-doctoral fellows and senior researchers, including cellular biologists, which really improved our research output.”

And that’s not all. When Professor Nazhat applied to renew his Discovery grant with the federally funded Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the added performance enabled through the Hatch Fellowship resulted in the NSERC awarding him a Discovery Accelerator Supplement Award.

In addition to three Gerald Hatch Faculty Fellowships, the Faculty of Engineering is also supporting the success of professors through two Hydro-Quebec Nano-Engineering Faculty Fellowships, established thanks to a gift from Hydro Quebec, and two Chwang-Seto Faculty Scholar Awards, created through the generous support of Dr. Ronald Chwang, BEng’72, and May Seto, BEd’75.

Now the Faculty of Engineering’s Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Education), Professor Nazhat remains grateful for the award he received. “The fellowship gave me a significant boost at the national funding level, and that in turn has helped expand our research further,” he says. “I am grateful and honoured to be associated with Gerald Hatch, who has achieved so much in his career.”