Brock researcher moving into new facility earns renewal as Canada Research Chair
Sept. 24, 2009
A Brock researcher who will make the move to the Niagara Health and Bioscience Research Complex — now under construction — has received a five-year renewal of funding and secured her place in Canada as a leading researcher in inorganic chemistry.
Melanie Pilkington, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, has been renewed as the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Novel Hybrid Materials. Her work in synthetic and structural inorganic chemistry has the potential to help develop smaller, lightweight components for electronic devices such as plastic transistors.
“This renewal is important for Brock University and for the Niagara region,” said Liette Vasseur, vice-president research at Brock. “Research and innovations in hybrid materials that could potentially lead to greater collaborations with the industries of our region are positive steps to maintain linkages between Brock and the community.”
Using silicon-based components to manufacture electronic goods has limitations in making miniature versions of items such as computer processing chips. When the components get too small they start to leak current, making them ineffective at retaining digital information.
The Pilkington research group, which comprises of undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students, has adopted a “bottom-up” approach for the preparation of electronic materials. They start from the molecules and modify them to make them suitable for creating a nanostructure that can conduct electricity.
Pilkington is currently collaborating with researchers at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada to develop tiny electronic devices that can be incorporated into display media that will have the properties of paper, but which will integrate seamlessly into the digital world.
The Brock researcher’s renewal was part of an announcement from the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), who yesterday announced $159.1 million in funding for 181 Canada Research Chairs newly awarded or renewed in 45 Canadian universities.
“Canada’s government is investing in science and technology to strengthen the economy, improve Canadians’ quality of life and create the jobs of tomorrow – today,” Goodyear said. “The Canada Research Chairs Program helps attract and retain the best researchers from the country and around the world to Canadian universities, which has direct benefits for our communities.”
The Canada Research Chairs Program, launched in 2000, has improved Canadians’ depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthened the country’s international competitiveness, and helped train the next generation of highly skilled people.
For Pilkington’s Tier 2 Research Chair, Brock will receive funding of $500,000 over the next five years. Tier 2 positions are awarded to researchers who are acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field.
Brock has attracted 10 Canada Research Chairs since the program began.