Nov. 6, 2020Print | PDF
Hind Al-Abadleh, professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Wilfrid Laurier University, has been awarded $200,000 in research funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) Exceptional Opportunities Fund. The grant will finance essential infrastructure costs for her study on air pollution in Kitchener.
This morning, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced close to $28 million in support from the Exceptional Opportunities Fund, which covers the urgent equipment needs for ongoing research related to COVID-19. The federal government is investing in 79 projects at 52 universities, colleges and research hospitals across Canada.
“Canadian researchers and scientists are helping to protect our health and safety and are key to finding our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Bains. “With this funding through the Exceptional Opportunities Fund, the Government of Canada is ensuring these talented Canadians have the equipment and tools to support them in their very important work.”
Al-Abadleh launched a pilot air-quality monitoring project earlier in 2020 in partnership with the City of Kitchener and Hemmera Envirochem Inc., with funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The team installed low-cost sensor systems, which measure levels of pollutants such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen oxides, close to Kitchener public schools to collect air pollution data that will be used to inform the city’s climate action plan.
With the new funding from CFI, Al-Abadleh is able to purchase and permanently install air-quality sensors – which had been rented for the pilot project – and to secure equipment for atmospheric particle analysis. This infrastructure is critical for the next phase of her research, will involves analyzing air-quality data collected earlier in the year, when schools were closed due to COVID-19, to compare with real-time data now that schools – and much of society – have resumed operation.
“I am so grateful to the Canada Foundation for Innovation for their generous support,” says Al-Abadleh. “This unique grant will allow me to launch a research program focused on air quality and atmospheric particle analysis, with applications both in the field and in the lab.”
Al-Abadleh is also pleased to welcome Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) as a new partner on the study. ECCC scientists will lead the high-precision carbon monoxide and CO2 field measurements in Kitchener, and will use high-spatial resolution observations to improve CO2-emission inventories for the entire Waterloo Region. This data will be used to assess the impact of COVID-19 on changes in fuel-combustion emissions.