Petro-Canada award bridges science and business
Written By: Ileiren Byles
2006-05-24The University of Alberta's newest recipient of the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award is bridging the gap between science fiction and business fact.
Dr. Michael Lounsbury, who holds a joint appointment between the U of A's School of Business and the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT), was honoured Wednesday with the research award.
Created in 1995, the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Awards Program is designed to recognize and support the work of outstanding young faculty researchers at Canadian universities, colleges and major research institutes. The award offers financial support and public acknowledgment to help Canada's most promising researchers continue their careers in this country, said Thomas Day, manager of Petro-Canada's Edmonton refinery.
"The benefits of the program really do go beyond the actual recipient," he said. "The bright minds who have won have advanced their country's research in a number of key areas, such as engineering and the sciences, architecture, information systems, linguistics, strategic management, just to name a few. The knowledge gained strengthens our economy and our society and we, as a group, are delighted with the results of the U of A program."
Lounsbury, who came to the U of A from Cornell University a year ago, will be looking for ways to use the emerging science of nanotechnology in industry - particularly the oil and gas industry.
"Nanotechnology is perceived as an important economic engine, but the majority of research on nanotechnology is very fundamental and there has been very little application or opportunities for economic development," he said. "A lot of the developments in nanotechnology are really 10 to 15 years out before we're going to see realization of economic possibilities. The big challenge is to try to bridge that gap between the fundamental research and application areas and industry."
Lounsbury's work and the Young Innovators Awards program are mirror images of the same purpose, said Dr. Mike Percy, dean of the U of A School of Business.
"This award is extremely important in terms of signalling the partnership that exists between Petro-Canada and the university, but also the nature of the modern university, which is based on relationships."
"Michael has a joint appointment between the National Institute of Nanotechnology and the School of Business, supported by Petro-Canada's partnership with the University of Alberta. So, in that sense I think it's kind of a reflection of how education is proceeding, which is based on partnerships and mutual recognition. You have the world of science and the world of business, and trying to bring them together is the university, almost in the middle as a facilitator of this exercise."
This article originally appeared in Express News.