ARCHIVED - International Collaboration Enriches Canadian and Taiwanese Research

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April 06, 2006— Ottawa, Ontario

Five NRC scientists will get the opportunity to brainstorm in Taiwan thanks to the prestigious Eminent Researcher Exchange Program. Each researcher will spend up to two weeks with a Taiwanese scientific host touring labs, conferring with colleagues and discussing the latest in high-technology research and development facilities.

This year's participants include: Dr. Stephane Evoy of the NRC National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT); Dr. Teodor Veres of the NRC Industrial Materials Institute (NRC-IMI); Dr. Suwas Nikumb of the NRC Integrated Manufacturing Technologies Institute (NRC-IMTI); Dr. John Luong of the NRC Biotechnology Research Institute (NRC-BRI); and Dr. Barry MacDougall of the NRC Institute for Chemical Process and Environmental Technology (NRC-ICPET).

NRC-BRI's Dr. John Luong with his mentor, Nobel Laureate, Professor Ivar Giaever
NRC-BRI's Dr. John Luong with his mentor, Nobel Laureate, Professor Ivar Giaever

"The purpose of the Eminent Researcher program is to develop collaborations," said Lorena Maciel of NRC's International Relations Office. "So far, the program has been very successful and the eminent researchers have managed to develop some collaborative projects and promote NRC in Taiwan. The selected researchers have been productive in nurturing relationships beyond the program."

NRC's former president, Dr. Arthur Carty, started the Eminent Researcher Exchange Program in 1999 to generate a higher science and technology profile for Canada. The Program is part of a 1997 Memorandum of Understanding between Canada and Taiwan to enhance scientific linkages and intensify research relationships between the countries. The MOU has led to the development of more than forty competitively funded, joint research collaborations, training and exchange programs and numerous informal working relationships between Taiwanese and Canadian researchers. NRC has subsequently developed initiatives with several other countries based on this model.

Since the Eminent Researcher Program started in 2001, nineteen Canadian researchers have visited Taiwan and fifteen Taiwanese scientists have enjoyed a scientific tour of Canada.

Each of this year's participants will be hosted by a top-tier Taiwanese scientist in a similar field of research. The Taiwanese host will arrange seminars, discussions with peers, and lab and facility visits to suit the Canadian scientist's research interests. Because this year's participants are all Group Leaders, they will be working on behalf of their research groups in seeking out new research ties. According to the participants, international collaborations enrich research in several ways.

Dr. Teodor Veres (NRC-IMI)
Dr. Teodor Veres (NRC-IMI)

"I have a strong interest in learning about the very effective way that Taiwanese institutions are translating science toward technology and product development,' said Dr. Teodor Veres, whose group develops nanotechnology-based solutions for drug delivery, MRI agents and bio-sensing. "This will certainly help me and my collaborators more efficiently commercialize the science we are developing."

Dr. Suwas Nikumb (NRC-IMTI)
Dr. Suwas Nikumb (NRC-IMTI)

At the other end of the R&D spectrum, Dr. Nikumb is looking forward to exploring new avenues of research. His group develops laser micro material removal technologies, precision fabrication processes, micro-device developments, sensors, micro tooling for moulds and micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS) based technologies.

"Sharing ideas through presentations and discussions on relevant technological issues develops a deeper understanding of the subject matter and often brings a different sense of perspective towards your own research direction." said Dr. Nikumb. "Visiting different laboratories and sharing ideas often opens up new ground and interesting topics for future research collaborations."

"Our Taiwanese partners possess significant complementary expertise in chemical sensors and related nanomaterial technologies that will be key to making further advances in this area."

Dr. Barry MacDougall (NRC-ICPET)
Dr. Barry MacDougall (NRC-ICPET)

Dr. Barry MacDougall is involved in a number of research projects focusing on electrochemical processes for fuel cell applications. He remarks that "Canada is widely recognized for its research expertise in fuel cell catalysis. NRC-ICPET has already established a number of collaborations in this area with our Taiwanese counterparts such as the National Science Council, the Industrial Technical Research Institute and a number of universities. I look forward to working with Dr. Kuei-Hsien at Academia Sinica to expand such scientific linkages even further".

Dr. Stephane Evoy (NINT)
Dr. Stephane Evoy (NINT)

Dr. Stephane Evoy's group develops biosensors and nanoscale mechanical structures to detect biomolecules and other chemical compounds. He believes that partnering with Taiwanese researchers will enhance the progress of research in both countries.

Dr. John Luong, whose research group develops biological applications in nanotechnology, believes that Taiwan is a particularly good partner for Canada because of its similar population and research output in the field of nanotechnology. Our equal size and scope makes us more effective in helping each other attain our research goals.

Dr. Luong also highlights the more pragmatic benefits of these relationships. "International collaborations promote the visibility of NRC in particular and Canada in general. Conducting nanotechnology and nanoscience research is expensive and requires extensive collaborations and networks."

Many of the participants agree that an equally important if less tangible benefit of international collaboration is the greater understanding achieved when different cultures meet; a situation reflected in Canada's own multicultural scientific community.

"Exposure to other cultures opens up the mind to novel directions and approaches that one might not have thought about otherwise," said Dr. Evoy.

Researcher / Institute Group Research Interest
Dr. Stephane Evoy (NINT) Group Leader,
Devices and Sensors Group
Developing biosensors based on nanoscale mechanical structures to detect individual biomolecules and their attachment of individual proteins

Making bacterial and pathogen sensors using cantilever technologies

Dr. John Luong (NRC-BRI) Group Leader, Biosensors & Nanobiotechnology
Environment Sector
Fabricating nanoparticles and nanorods

Electrochemical biosensing with nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes

Detecting pathogenic bacteria and cancer cells with impedance spectroscopy

Near infrared surface plasma resonance biosensing using nanoparticles

Nanoparticle-modified Capillary electrophoresis, Microfabricated chips and DNA sensing using gold nanorods

Dr. Barry MacDougall (NRC-ICPET) Competency Leader
Multiphase Transformations
Energy conversion, storage and generation using fuel cells Materials for environmental electrochemistry
Dr. Suwas Nikumb (NRC-IMTI) Group Leader, Precision Fabrication Processes Laser micro-processing of materials, precision micro fabrication, laser development, pulsed laser and electron beam deposition and laser joining of materials.

Micro-device/sensor fabrication, embedded micro-optical components, micro joining of materials, porous semiconductors, machine & process dynamics, Micro-electro-mechanical-systems based devices, computer controlled integrated systems for micro material removal and device fabrication.

Dr. Teodor Veres (NRC-IMI) Group Leader
Functional Nanomaterials
Alternative nanofabrication methods. Developing processes for large area controlled nanopatterning using imprint lithography

Synthesis and characterization of magnetic nanostructures (nanoparticles, nanowires) for bio-magnetc interfacing

Application development drug delivery, MRI agents and bio-sensing.

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