Two more Synergy Awards
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2005 3:56 PM
Electrical and computer engineering's Ani Gole. Aftab Mufti appears on the home page.

The University of Manitoba has received two more national Synergy Awards for excellence in innovation. Announced Oct. 19 at a ceremony in Halifax, the new honours place the University of Manitoba second in Canada, with eight Synergy Awards, twice as many as its nearest prairie competitors.

Established by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Synergy Awards recognize outstanding research and development partnerships between universities and industry. This year, Synergy Awards are presented to six partnerships, including two at the University of Manitoba.

“We are delighted that we have once again been recognized for our participation in these very successful partnerships with the private sector,” said Digvir Jayas, associate vice-president (research) at the University of Manitoba.

“These two partnerships are proof that great things happen when top researchers and industry leaders work together.”

One award recognizes the 10-year partnership between the University of Manitoba and Vector Construction Group. Led by civil engineering professor Aftab Mufti, president of ISIS Canada, the collaboration has focused on the use of innovative materials to strengthen buildings and bridges. The group was the first in North America to use carbon-fibre-reinforced polymers (CFRP) to strengthen concrete and wood structures, and they pioneered the regulatory acceptance of this material.

This partnership is also leading the world in “civionics” — the use of advanced sensor devices and systems for real-time monitoring of bridges and other structures.

“Implementing innovative ideas and technologies requires the taking of risks,” Mufti said. “The partnership between the ISIS Canada Research Network and Vector Construction Group shows that these risks can be managed appropriately, allowing for the implementation of new methods for the betterment of industry, the research community and all Canadians.”

“Synergy really is the best word to describe this partnership,” said Don Whitmore, president of Vector Construction Group. “When the joint effort of the civil engineering discipline at the University of Manitoba is combined with the practical and innovative field expertise of Vector Construction Group, the resulting benefit to Canada’s infrastructure challenge is far greater than could have been provided by either the university or Vector alone.”

The second Synergy Award recognizes a partnership between the University of Manitoba, the Manitoba HVDC Research Centre, and RTDS Technologies. Led by electrical and computer engineering professor Aniruddha Gole, NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Power Systems Engineering, the partnership has resulted in powerful new simulation tools for the global power industry.

The group has developed the world’s first fully digital, real-time simulation tool for power systems. Engineers can now perform realistic tests on equipment before placing it into final operation.

“I have always believed that strong university-industry collaboration in innovation is the key to developing a highly qualified workforce and cutting edge technologies,” Gole said.

“The Synergy Award confirms this by recognizing and rewarding this close three-way partnership and the significant commercial benefits it has brought to Manitoba and Canada through the creation of world-class simulation products.”

“The long-term cooperative relationship between the U of M, the HVDC Center and RTDS Technologies has resulted in the creation of an entirely new market served by real-time digital simulation tools,” said Rick Kuffel, director of RTDS Technologies Inc.

“These tools, including our own RTDS simulator, provide a mechanism for engineers to study and understand system and equipment behaviour in a far more comprehensive way than ever before, allowing for more reliable and secure generation, transmission and distribution of power to consumers.”

A federal agency, NSERC has an annual budget of more than $860 million and supports more than 22,000 university students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC funds more than 10,000 university professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 600 Canadian companies to participate and invest in university research projects.

For more information, contact:
Frank Nolan
Research Promotion Manager
Office of the V.P. Research
Phone: (204) 474-7300
Fax: (204) 261-0325