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Home > McGill News > 2000 > Fall 2000 > Newsbites

McGill gets big research boost


Lately the good news just keeps rolling in. First came the announcement of a record-breaking gift of $64 million to McGill by Richard Tomlinson, PhD'48. Then in July, the Canada Foundation for Innovation advised the University that it had been awarded $61 million in research grants, the agency's biggest single disbursement. The CFI money will be matched dollar for dollar by the Quebec government, and a further $18 million raised by McGill from corporate partners and other private sources brings the total to a hefty $150 million.

"The timing just couldn't be better," says an elated Derek Drummond, BArch'62, Vice-Principal of Development and Alumni Relations. "Dr. Tomlinson's gift was really about people, attracting the brightest graduate and postdoctoral students through fellowships and top faculty through the creation of academic chairs. This research money is for infrastructure -- the labs and equipment these people will need. It's perfect."

McGill submitted 30 proposals for CFI funding, 22 of which were approved, a success rate of almost 75%. To receive funding, applicants had to demonstrate both excellence and innovation, as well as explain eventual benefits for Canada.


Over half of the CFI grant -- $37.1 million -- will be spent in the area of medicine and medical equipment, including $15.8 million for research at its affiliated hospitals and another $15.5 million specifically at the Montreal Neurological Institute. Also benefiting are Agricultural and Environmental Sciences ($8.3 million), Science ($7.8 million), Engineering ($5.1 million) and Music ($2.6 million).

Principal Shapiro gives credit "to the project leaders for the quality of their ideas and their enormous effort. This infusion enables the University to remain on the cutting edge of research and is encouraging not just for McGill, but for Quebec and Canada, since these new research projects will have a cross-country impact."

No bull: Mac centre of dairy database


While one might not think immediately of databases and Oracle servers when contemplating dairy farming, Canadian cows haven't been left behind on the information superhighway. Macdonald Campus is home to a new national dairy database: the Canadian Dairy Herd Management Services. The data processing centre will manage dairy cattle records for 10,000 herds across Canada, or 8 million dairy records.

The choice of McGill for the centre is thanks in large part to the vision of Emeritus Professor of Animal Science John E. Moxley, who founded a Quebec programme at Macdonald in the 1960s, which later evolved into PATLQ (Programme d'Analyse des troupeaux laitiers du Québec), and has been serving Quebec dairy farmers for decades.

More than 50% of dairy farmers today have a computer on the farm, and data management is becoming an integral component of farming life. Now, state-of-the-art technology, lab analysis and advanced computing methods can automatically provide dairy producers with critical planning and production information such as lactation dates, milk yields, milk fat and protein levels, as well as whether Bessie's milk deviates from dairy standards.

For over three years, Canadian provinces worked together on remodelling their dairy production analysis tools into a single program, and Macdonald Campus and the offices of PATLQ were chosen as the site for the processing centre. The new program, called Vision 2000, collects data sent electronically from dairy farms, allows for dairy producers to receive personalized reports for individual cow or herd profiles, helps in herd management, and increases information transfer among the dairy industry's partners.

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