TRU has received funds from Genome BC in support of ongoing research that could help to reclaim damaged ecosystems. The funds, which totalled $250,000, will be used to create an industrial research chair position to be filled by TRU professor Lauchlan Fraser.
“It is a critical area. It has, of course regional, but also global consequences and I am so delighted to have the support from Genome BC. We have exciting things in the works,” Fraser said.
Fraser has been studying the use of genetic tools to limit environmental disturbance as a result of mining, forestry and ranching, and to repair the disturbances when they do occur.
Fraser said that he has already been researching DNA present in the tailings of the Mount Polley spill in an attempt to restore biodiversity in the area. Fraser went on to say that his project had already employed student research assistants and will continue to do so with the new funding.
“It’s extremely important that this kind of technique be brought to bear on the challenges facing us with regard to restoration of ecologies that are disturbed by human activities,” said TRU president Alan Shaver.
TRU referred to the $250,000 pledge as the first step in the creation of a “centre for ecosystem reclamation at TRU.”
The university has plans to raise more money for researching reclamation ecology.
“We need to raise $1.5 million to trigger the industrial research chair matching program federally, so this is the first of many, but immediately following the announcement we had major stakeholders have lunch with [Fraser] and Genome BC and many of them have given soft yeses. We are positive that over the next year we will acquire the $1.5 million and trigger the federal match of $3 million,“ said TRU VP of Advancement Christopher Seguin.
Genome BC is a funding partner of many research initiatives across the province. According to their website, Genome BC draws most of their funding from the B.C. government and Western Economic Diversification Canada.