A flood of ideas from McGill’s Brace Water Centre

Published: 25 October 2023

Located on Macdonald Campus, many would mistake the Brace Water Centre's unassuming office for a private residence. Yet looks can be deceiving – for not only does the Centre boast an extraordinary history, it’s also associated with some of the University’s most exciting scientific researchers.

“We’re very small, but we want bold ideas,” says Prof. Jinxia Liu, director of the Brace Water Centre and associate professor of civil engineering at McGill. “We aim to make a big impact beyond our size.”

Jointly affiliated with the faculties of Engineering and Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the Centre is focused solely on complex water issues – including climate change, energy security, ecosystem quality and human health.

“Traditionally it was easy to tell if a professor’s research was a good fit for Brace, but we’re encouraging cross-discipline collaboration. Whether it’s machine learning, material sciences, chemistry or electrical engineering, we want people who don’t usually collaborate to work together, because that’s how you break new ground in research."

Members of the Centre include Prof. Dominic Frigon, who monitored COVID-19 in Quebec wastewater; Prof. Natalie Tufenkji, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair investigating micro- and nanoplastics; Prof. Subhasis Ghoshal, whose work focuses on nanomaterials and nanopesticides; and Prof. Jan Franklin Adamowski, a William Dawson Scholar and associate director at the Brace Water Centre, whose research interests include water resources management and sustainable agriculture.

Altogether, Brace members are engaged in over 100 active projects. “We encourage ideas that are high-risk, high-reward – projects that researchers otherwise could not do without institutional support.”

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