Provincial cash to help Guelph researchers 'draw meaning from data'

The province announced more than $2.5 million in funding for 10 local research projects at the University of Guelph on Tuesday.

More than $2.5 million in funding will benefit 10 research projects

Researchers at the University of Guelph are receiving more than $2.5 million in provincial funding. Sarah Adamowicz, associate professor in the department of integrative biology, is part of a team researching biodiversity that will benefit from the cash. (Paula Duhatschek/CBC)

Ten research projects at the University of Guelph have been chosen to split $2.5 million in funding from the Ontario Research Fund.

Mike Harris, Progressive Conservative MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga, and Mike Schreiner, Green party MPP for Guelph, were at the university for the announcement Tuesday.

Sarah Adamowicz, associate professor of integrative biology, is part of a biodiversity research team that will receive $166,666 from the province.

"We're part of a really a large scale global effort to be able to use molecular tools to study biodiversity," she said.

She says molecular methods are being used more and more to monitor the health of the environment. 

For instance, she said researchers might collect a jar of insects in a farmer's field, and use bioinformatics to suss out whether the sample contains any invasive species. 

"So instead of only taking the sequence data, we all want to be able to draw meaning from the data," said Adamowicz.

The projects selected for the money were chosen through a competitive peer review process, Harris said.

"We want to make sure that we're focusing on projects that are going to have a really positive outcome, not only for the research that's going on here at the universities, but also to society in general," he said.

The projects selected for funding were chosen with a focus on benefiting industry, the environment and medical science.

The money is part of a $41 million investment in 174 research projects throughout the province.