$6M discovery grant to fund portable MRI machines and new drug designs, says UWindsor dean

A cash infusion at the University of Windsor will fund the development of portable MRI machines, innovative engines, new designs for drugs and even e-textiles, according to dean of science Christopher Houser.

Funding will also support 'the next generation of scientists'

Dr. Christopher Houser is the University of Windsor's dean of science. (Tom Addison/CBC)

A cash infusion at the University of Windsor will fund the development of portable MRI machines, innovative engines, new designs for drugs and even e-textiles, according to dean of science Christopher Houser.

On Tuesday, Minister of Science and Sport Kirsty Duncan announced a federal commitment of $558 million this year for discovery research, with $6 million going to the University of Windsor.

"[The funding] allows us to look at new ways, new products, new discoveries — whether it be anything from the environment to new materials. Without it, we wouldn't be able to conduct research or go after those larger grants," said ​Houser.

Minister of Science and Sport Kirsty Duncan visited the science fair at the University of Windsor Tuesday before announcing the discovery grant funding for 2018. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

The funding, which comes from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), will go toward the faculties of science, engineering and business at the University of Windsor.

Some faculty members received grants for the very first time, including Dr. Dan Xiao who is trying to build a portable MRI machine.

Houser said the discovery grant was a first for some faculty at the University of Windsor. One first-time grant recipient, he said, is Dr. Dan Xiao, who is trying to build a portable MRI unit.

"We think of MRI machines as very large machines that are very difficult ... She's looking at how you develop a portable MRI that can be taken into the field," said Houser.

"It would improve the health and welfare for remote communities in northern Ontario."

Some of the other projects supported by the funding include e-textiling, which allows 

Hear more from Christopher Houser on the CBC's Windsor Morning:

Chris Houser, dean of science at the University of Windsor, discusses the impact of recently announced "Discovery Grants". 7:17

Supporting the 'next generation of scientists'

Houser said, without the grant, the university's faculty of science wouldn't be able to do the "research that is fundamental to Canada's economy," adding the country continues to be a world leader in science.

The money won't just support supplies for the lab and in the field, however. It will also support "HQPs" — or "highly qualified personnel."

"These are the undergraduate and graduate students who work in the lab and work in the field — the next generation of scientists," said Houser.