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Concordia prof gets grant for climate research

by Archives September 2, 2008

The Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) has awarded Concordia professor Damon Matthews $190,780 in funding. The grant, announced on Thursday, will support his research into the viability of Canadian carbon sinks for the next two years.
Carbon sinks, such as growing forests, use more carbon than they emit; reducing the atmosphere’s overall level of carbon dioxide. Under the Kyoto protocol, carbon sinks can help countries meet their greenhouse gas reduction targets by allowing them to reduce their overall impact, without reducing their actual emissions.
“This funding will allow me to hire a post-doc and graduate students to study how Canada’s forests take up carbon from the atmosphere, and how these carbon sinks might change over the coming decades,” said Matthews, an assistant professor in the geography, planning and environment department.
“I am particularly interested in the processes that influence how much carbon is sequestered by forests, the interaction between carbon uptake and other growth-limiting nutrients such as nitrogen, and how forest productivity might change in a changing climate.”
Matthews first heard about CFCAS’s call for proposals from colleagues and submitted his research proposal last February.
The competitive application process pitted Matthews’ request against 72 other projects, less than half of which were approved.
“This project is a perfect fit for the goal of this competition, which focuses on research that will give decision-makers the scientific tools they need to face future challenges,” said Gordon McBean, chair of CFCAS.
Concordia’s vice president of research and graduate studies Louise Dandurand also praised Matthews’ research project.
“It is a solid example of the commitment our researchers have to addressing issues of climate change. It also recognizes the innovative approach they adopt in tackling complex problems,” she said.
The CFCAS is the main funding resource for university-based research on climate, atmospheric and related oceanic works in Canada. It is the foundation’s seventh and final competition under its current mandate and is entirely funded from interest revenues of CFCAS investments.
$5.5 million in research grants were awarded across Canada, in this competition, which adds up to just over $115 million in total grants.
Matthews pointed out that although the grant money is coming from CFCAS, Concordia is also contributing by funding the over-head related costs of his research.

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