Nine innovative projects backed by NSERC Strategic Partnership Grants


$4.1 million in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) will advance McGill research in next-generation nanomaterials, infrastructure solutions to support the Internet of Things, novel technology to detect marine toxins, and more.

During an announcement at the University of Ottawa today, 94 research projects in universities across the country were awarded funding from the NSERC Strategic Partnership Grants program. Nine McGill projects are together receiving more than $4.1 million from the funding envelope to partner with a supporting organization on strategic research, including highly innovative research in green energy storage.

George Demopoulos, Chair, Mining and Materials Engineering, was awarded $564,000 to assist research in the development of light-chargeable lithium ion batteries (LIBs), the “invisible” technology powering portable electronics such as mobile phones, media players, tablets, laptops, and increasingly, hybrid and electric vehicles. With NSERC’s support and in collaboration with Hydro-Quebec, Prof. Demopoulos will pursue an alternative strategy towards the improvement of the energy and power characteristics of LIBs, research which may help curb global warming emissions through increased electrification of transportation.

“Strategic project grants are an opportunity for university researchers and industry and government agency partners to work together, each contributing their unique strengths to new ideas and approaches for the benefit of Canadian society and economy,” says Rosie Goldstein, McGill’s Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “These nine research projects represent McGill’s bold innovations for improving energy efficiency and reducing the environmental impact of processes in manufacturing, extraction and energy production, as well as a variety of other applications. We are very grateful for the support shown by NSERC in awarding these grants.”

The McGill researchers chosen by NSERC for a Strategic Project Grant are:

Kirk Bevan, Department of Materials Engineering

  • Engineering manufacturable next generation photocatalytic nanomaterials for high efficiency hydrogen fuel generation
  • Three years, worth $513,000

George Demopoulos, Department of Mining and Materials Engineering

  • Development of light-chargeable lithium ion battery devices
  • Three years, worth $564,000

Roderick Guthrie, Department of Materials Engineering  

  • Lightweight multi-layer composite metal sheet products for the automotive industry
  • Three years, worth $500,500 

Yaijing Liu, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

  • Induced earthquake source process imaging and groundwater chemistry monitoring in the Western Canada sedimentary basin
  • Three years, worth $676,955

Thomas Szkopek, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • Advanced manufacturing of InN/Si nanowire tunnelling transistors for energy efficient electronics
  • Three years, worth $375,000
  • Ultra-high quality transition metal dichalcogenide synthesis by molecular beam epitaxy for integrated light emitting diodes and ion sensitive transistors
  • Three years, worth $343,000

Odile Liboiron-Ladouceur, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • Software-enable energy-efficient hardware infrastructure for next-generation data centres
  • Three years, worth $484,200

David Juncker, Department of Biomedical Engineering

  • Aptamer-based enrichment system and capillary chip for low-abundance water contaminant detection to ensure aquaculture safety and quality
  • Three years, worth $552,000

Xinyu Liu, Department of Mechanical Engineering

  • An Ultrasensitive Microfluidic Biosensor Based on Vertically-Aligned MoS2 Nanolayers
  • Three years, worth $486,400