Professors Awarded NSERC Discovery Grants!


Congratulations to Professors John Chetelat, Derek Mueller, and Chris Burn who were awarded 5 year Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grants!

“Researchers across Canada will be sharing more than $340 million from NSERC’s flagship Discovery Grants Program. These grants—based on recommendations from peer review committees containing world experts in each of 12 science and engineering fields—typically last for five years. They provide the core funding and freedom so Canada’s best researchers can pursue their most promising ideas and breakthrough discoveries—world‑firsts in knowledge”. (

Professor John Chetelat intends on using his NSERC Discovery Grant to investigate how environmental conditions affect the sensitivity of Arctic lakes to metal pollution. The funding over the next 5 years will support graduate students to conduct laboratory experiments and field-based research. His research program aims to identify how climate-related environmental factors affect the bioaccumulation of metals and their transfer in aquatic food chains, and to improve our understanding of how rapid climate change is affecting the fate of metal pollution in Arctic aquatic ecosystems.

Professor Derek Mueller examines drastic changes that are currently under way at the northern coast of Ellesmere Island.  Half the extent of the thick ice shelves in this region has been lost over the past decade.  These floating masses of coastal ice are breaking up and melting from both their top and bottom. Derek and his team of graduate students are working to find out how atmospheric warming and ocean dynamics are influencing the rate of melt and break up.  They are also investigating meltwater from glaciers in the fiords that may be contributing to ice shelf loss.  They conduct field work, use remote sensing techniques plus modelling to learn more about how climate change is affecting this remote Arctic environment.

Professor Chris Burn studies the response of permafrost to climate change in the western Arctic, especially the thawing of near-surface ground. The support will assist Master and PhD students to conduct research in the Mackenzie delta area and in northern Yukon, where they are studying the principal terrain factors that accelerate the response of permafrost to climate warming. The research is predicated on developing numerical simulations of thawing permafrost firmly based in field observations.

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