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Western University a big winner in federal auto-research funding

Three automotive research projects at Western University have been given the green light to partake in a $22-million research initiative.

The projects, focusing on health sciences and engineering, are part of a group of 40 automotive research projects at universities across Canada that were awarded the collective sum last week by AUTO21, a national research initiative supported by the federal government. Nearly 200 academic researchers across Canada will take part in the 40 projects.

Western engineering professor Xianbin Wang was among the researchers awarded funding. His research project, co-led by engineering professor Weiming Shen, focuses on making factory automation safer and more efficient. Their work received $242,250 in funding.

Wang said his research aims to help increase the productivity and profitability of Canada’s auto industry.

“The project builds on earlier AUTO21 research … to design and develop highly reliable, secure and energy-efficient wireless sensor networks that provide and support automated and real-time decision-making capabilities in Canada’s automotive factory automation systems,” he said in an email.


Number of graduate students across Canada taking part in the 40 projects funded by AUTO21.

Other research from Western funded by the initiative includes a study of safe driving in older adults, led by health sciences professor Janice Polgar; and research in computational tools for magnesium die-casting, led by engineering professor Jeffrey Wood.

The funding was announced by Gary Goodyear, Minister of State, Science and Technology, at the AUTO21 conference in Montreal last week.

“The ideas, products and technologies generated by these AUTO21-funded research projects will create jobs and businesses, help develop highly skilled people, strengthen our economy and improve the long-term competitiveness of our Canadian automotive industry,” Goodyear said in a message to conference delegates.

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