(Windsor, Ontario, Wednesday November 17, 2010) — Dr. Ahmet Alpas, a University of Windsor engineering professor, and General Motors of Canada Limited, have won a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) 2010 Synergy Award for Innovation. Dr. Alpas is one of only four winners in Canada to receive this year’s prestigious award. The prize, which includes a $200,000 research grant will allow Dr. Alpas and his team to further invest in their innovative work with General Motors (GM). Dr. Alpas and his students are examining ways to increase energy-efficiency in vehicles by developing lightweight materials for automotive products and manufacturing systems. “I would like to thank NSERC for this generous award and GM for their support of this partnership,” said Dr. Alpas. “I look forward to working together with GM and I am proud of our team’s collaborative efforts which have led to improvements in Canada’s manufacturing process.”
Dr. Ranjana Bird, University of Windsor Vice President of Research said, “Dr. Alpas is an outstanding researcher in materials engineering and GM is committed to basic and applied research. The synergy and research between Dr. Alpas and the team at GM is generating knowledge, value and product that will continue to impact the nation and the world. We are grateful to NSERC for this award.”
The University of Windsor and GM have been working together as partners since 2002. Beginning as a small contract, the relationship has grown and now includes GM laboratory access to UWindsor researchers.
Kevin Williams, president and managing director of GM of Canada said, “As a leading supporter of collaborative research in Canada, we are proud to see Dr. Alpas and his team recognized for the positive contributions made to the automotive industry and beyond. At GM, we are committed to responsible environmental stewardship in all of our business practices, and this research has led to efficiency improvements in a number of areas, including powertrain manufacturing and vehicle operation.”
The Synergy Awards for Innovation were launched in 1995 by NSERC to recognize partnerships in natural sciences and engineering research and development between universities and industry.
Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC said, "The strategic investments that NSERC has made over the years have led to numerous successful collaborations such as the one we are recognizing today. The Synergy Awards highlight partnerships that bring together the best researchers from Canadian universities and the leading innovators from the private sector, resulting in the transfer of tangible research results to those who can translate them into economic and social benefits for Canadians."
Jeff Watson, Member of Parliament for Essex said, “Our government supports science and innovation because of its importance in strengthening the economy and improving the lives of Canadians. The Synergy Awards recognize the talent we have here in Canada and the success we have had in getting new technology from the labs out into the marketplace.”
NSERC is a federal agency which helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 29,500 university students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 11,800 university professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects. www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca
General Motors of Canada Limited is a recognized leader in green manufacturing and plays a leadership role in automotive design and engineering, engaging in innovative research and development partnerships with leading Canadian universities and research institutes. www.gm.ca.
Founded in 1963, the University of Windsor has close to 16,000 full-time and part-time students. The University of Windsor’s mission is to enable people to make a better world through education, scholarship, research and engagement. www.uwindsor.ca