U of L gets chance to CREATE

Thanks to an investment by the Government of Canada at the University of Lethbridge, young researchers will have an opportunity to creatively expand their professional and personal skills to prepare for the workplace.

"Our government is committed to developing, attracting and retaining the world's best researchers here in Canada," says Rick Casson, Member of Parliament for Lethbridge, who made the investment announcement on behalf of the Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology).
"Through the investment of the Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) program, the students involved will be making a successful transition into the knowledge workforce and strengthen Canada's economy."

The University of Lethbridge will receive the only Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) CREATE program award in Alberta this year – more than $1.6 million in funding over 6 years – which will provide funding for approximately 50 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral candidates.

The U of L program focuses on students who participate in satellite and other imaging programs, and is called the Advanced Methods, Education and Training in Hyperspectral Science and Technology (AMETHYST) program.

More than 80 per cent of the funding each year will go directly to students in the form of training allowances.

The program also includes a significant work placement component, with local, national and international organizations, including local companies such as Iunctus Geomatics and the Alberta Terrestrial Imaging Corporation, the Lethbridge Research Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Natural Resources Canada, NASA and several European research institutes committed to providing meaningful experiences for the students.

Principal Investigator Dr. Phil Teillet (physics and astronomy) says he and his more than 15 U of L collaborators are very appreciative for the CREATE funding.

"NSERC has got it right with the CREATE program because it's about students and their research training," says Teillet.
"The U of L has added a strong dose of professional skills development and workforce preparation to the mix. I'm also very appreciative of the hard work put in by the U of L investigators and collaborators on the grant submission, as well as the enthusiastic support we received from all areas of the University faculty and administration."

Telliet added that for most of the past decade, the U of L has invested strategically in imaging research and teaching, putting a number of important building blocks in place.

"The high-tech field of imaging is used daily throughout society and in many major job sectors in Canada concerned with areas such as natural resource management, biomedical imaging, national security, climate monitoring, water and the environment. Our program also validates the University's leading-edge expertise in research education."

Dr. Dan Weeks, the U of L's vice-president (research) says the outcomes from the program will be significant, and will benefit students and the University community for years to come.

"The exciting aspect for me is the employment rate for graduates – it isn't unreasonable to expect 100 per cent employment, because we are looking at this as a model that will provide for sustainable training for research workforce preparation," says Weeks. "As well, the more big-picture aspects include a new undergraduate curriculum on imaging science and technology, a proposed master of science program in imaging science and new lab laboratory tools for studying atmospheric greenhouse gases, among many other benefits."