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Fedoruk Centre announces first research grant recipients, new look in honour of Sylvia Fedoruk

SASKATOON, Sask. – Using medical isotopes to better assess kidney function, developing new sensors for applications ranging from medical instruments to cargo scanners and taking the pulse of Saskatchewan people’s attitude towards nuclear issues are the subjects of some of the first research projects to receive funding from the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation.


“The Fedoruk Centre is pleased to be providing support to these talented research leaders, who stepped forward with their ideas to advance our knowledge in nuclear medicine, materials research, energy research and the social environment as it relates to nuclear issues,” says John Root, the Fedoruk Centre’s Interim Executive Director. “We are also honoured to formally acknowledge our enhanced connection with the late Sylvia Fedoruk as we strive to encourage a new generation of nuclear science pioneers in Saskatchewan.”


University of Saskatchewan President Ilene Busch-Vishniac and University of Regina Vice-President Research Dennis Fitzpatrick, joined Mr. Norris, the grant recipients and members of the late Sylvia Fedoruk’s family for the announcement, along with the unveiling of the Fedoruk Centre’s new logo and a portrait of Dr. Fedoruk. The Centre was renamed to honour the former lieutenant-governor and nuclear medicine pioneer after she passed away last September.


Five research projects, four from the University of Saskatchewan and one from the University of Regina, will receive $485,000 from the Fedoruk Centre over the next two years. This funding leveraged an additional $773,000 in cash and in-kind contributions from the research teams and partner organizations, bringing the total value of the research projects to over $1.2 million.


The grant recipients are:

  • Dr. Paul Babyn, Head of Medical Imaging at the Royal University Hospital and the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine. He and co-applicant Prof. Carl Wesolowksi are developing a new technique to better assess kidney function using medical isotopes, for earlier detection and better treatment of kidney disease, as well as more precise dosing in chemotherapy;
  • Dr. Zisis Papandreou, Department of Physics, University of Regina. Prof. Papandreou and his research team are working with scientists from Jefferson National Laboratory in the US to improve a radiation detector, called a Silicon Photomultiplier, to make it more effective for a variety of medical, industrial, transportation and security applications;
  • Prof. Scott Bell, Department of Geography and Planning, U of S, along with Prof. Loleen Berdahl of the U of S Department of Political Studies.  Profs. Bell and Berdahl will establish  a Nuclear Industry Policy Research Unit to examine the opinions and attitudes of business and the public regarding nuclear research and development;
  • Prof. Ian Burgess, Department of Chemistry, University of Saskatchewan. Prof. Burgess is teaming up with researchers from the National Research Council’s Canadian Neutron Beam Centre and the University of Guelph to use neutrons to study electrified surfaces ranging from cell membranes to batteries; and
  • Prof. Chijin Xiao, Department of Physics and Engineering Physics, University of Saskatchewan and Canada Research Chair Akira Hirose. Their project focuses on developing new fuel delivery technology for future nuclear fusion reactors.

Read more about the projects

These projects were selected from a call for proposals that was issued last June. To be eligible, projects had to be led by a researcher from a Saskatchewan-based, publicly-funded research institution, have a fixed term of up to two years and measurable outcomes that support the advancement of nuclear research, development and training in Saskatchewan. Projects were ranked by an advisory committee of experts from outside of the province, according to four criteria:  (1) alignment with the purpose of the Fedoruk Centre; (2) partner contributions; (3) feasibility; and (4) pathway to social and economic impact.  Leaders of each research team will be expected to publicly report on the progress and impacts of their work during the Fedoruk Centre’s annual nuclearFACTS forum, the first of which will be held this August.



Established in December 2011, the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation aims to place Saskatchewan among global leaders in nuclear research, development and training through investment in partnerships with academia and industry for maximum societal and economic benefit. Working with Saskatchewan-based research leaders, our investments are intended to enable the acquisition, generation and interpretation of knowledge in the nuclear domain in the areas of nuclear medicine, materials research with nuclear methods, energy and safety engineering including small reactors, and managing the risks and benefits of nuclear technology for society and our environment. The Fedoruk Centre is funded by the Province of Saskatchewan as an independent, not-for-profit subsidiary of the University of Saskatchewan.


For more information:

Matthew Dalzell
Communications Officer
Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation
111-54 Innovation Boulevard, Saskatoon
Phone: (306) 966-3379
Cell: (306) 280-6245
Twitter: @FedorukCentre