New grant will boost agri-technology research at Acadia

Published on March 1, 2017

Acadia University researcher Dr. Peir Pufahl.

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WOLFVILLE NS -Canadian researchers received a $50 million boost from the Canadian government yesterday day for the cutting-edge tools they need to keep Canada at the forefront of innovation.

Acadia University’s Dr. Peir Pufahl will receive $201,036 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund, which helps institutions compete internationally in their priority research areas and is an important strategic investment tool designed to help institutions attract and retain the very best of today’s and tomorrow’s researchers.

Dr. David MacKinnon, Acadia’s Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, congratulated Dr. Pufahl.

“This is the largest infrastructure award ever received by our Department of Earth and Environmental Science and demonstrates the capacity within our faculty to perform research that is truly on a world scale.”

This funding is combined with $201,036 from the Nova Scotia Research Investment Trust and $100,518 from private and institutional donors for a total investment of $502,590. In total this funding enhances the capability of Pufahl’s Petrogenesis Laboratory for Sedimentary Ore Deposits that is focused on phosphorite research.

The new infrastructure (a state-of-the-art X-ray diffractometer (XRD), fume hood and lab renovations) will allow the facility to better characterize and interpret the genesis and evolution of economic phosphorite.

“This infrastructure is vital to enhancing opportunities for collaborative research as well as establishing Acadia and Canada as a leader in phosphorite research,” said Pufahl.

“The location of this lab, in our renewed $22.25 million science complex, fits perfectly with Acadia’s expanding capacity in agri-technology research,” he said. “The infrastructure investments from the federal and provincial governments, combined with the private support received from alumni and others, are important boosts for our faculty and students.”

Pufahl is is one of the top two or three experts globally who understand the economic geology of phosphate, a key ingredient in fertilizer, and is a member of the team under Dr. Nicolas Tosca, of Oxford University, that was awarded $1 million in 2015 by the UK’s Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) for a multi-year project to investigate the evolution of the primitive Earth.

“Investments in Canada’s research infrastructure, like those we are celebrating today, are incredibly important to our nation’s future,” said Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science. “They help us to attract and retain the very best scientists and give Canadian researchers the tools they need to perform excellent cutting-edge research, train the scientists of tomorrow and enable innovative new discoveries that improve our environment, economy and communities.”

The John R. Evans Leaders Fund helps a select number of exceptional researchers at institutions across the country to conduct leading-edge research by giving them the research tools and equipment they need to be or become leaders in their field.

For more information about Dr. Pufahl’s research visit: http://ees.acadiau.ca/Peir_Pufahl.html