Mass timber building components tested at one-of-a-kind lab


Dr. SalemSalem’s doctoral student, Adam Petrycki

(left) Dr. Sam Salem, lab’s founder and director and an associate professor in Lakehead’s department of Civil Engineering, (right) doctoral student, Adam Petrycki

Tucked in a corner of Lakehead University’s campus, overlooking the placid waters of the McIntyre River, sits a nondescript building. While it may not attract much notice, this facility is the centrepiece of research that may pave the way for new kinds of materials to be used in modern building construction.

The Fire Testing and Research Laboratory boasts a custom-designed furnace that provides crucial data on the fire resistance of construction materials, building components such as beams and columns, as well as floor and wall assemblies. And with changes to national building codes that allow wood as a primary material in buildings up to six storeys in height, the benefit to local forestry and manufacturing could be significant.

“Without this facility I wouldn’t have this opportunity for advanced research in this fast-developing area of structural fire engineering, and also to help businesses develop innovative products and to serve the community,” says Dr. Sam Salem, the lab’s founder and director and an associate professor in Lakehead’s department of Civil Engineering.

This world-class fire testing facility allows the testing of new engineered-wood products taking place at Lakehead. At the Civil Engineering’s structures lab, products such as glued-laminated timber (glulam) and cross-laminated timber (CLT) are tested for strength, durability and their behaviour under normal stresses.

Next door at the fire lab, the materials are subjected to various fire scenarios, where temperatures in the furnace can reach 1,300 degrees Celsius. “Testing structural components and assemblies in the fire lab is the final stage in the research program, which is basically the main thing we look at to see how the building components behave or can withstand loads when exposed to fire,” Salem explains. “We have to design a safe building system that can first stand the load without the fire, then we expose it to the fire as the extreme loading condition.”

Opened in May 2016 at a cost of more than $1.2 million, the fire lab is the only facility of its kind at a Canadian university.

“This is very unique testing because there are very few facilities around the world that can test like this under this extreme temperature,” says Salem.

Internationally recognized as an expert in the field of structural fire engineering, Salem has conducted dozens of large-scale research projects since he arrived at Lakehead in 2012. Over the years, he has helped train several dozen highly qualified personnel, such as post-doctoral fellows and graduate students. Recently, he and graduate student Cory Hubbard have filed a patent for an innovative beam-end connection configuration for mass timber structural frame systems, which can stand fire exposure for an hour without any additional fire protection.

Salem’s doctoral student, Adam Petrycki, is involved in a project regarding the behaviour of timber-concrete composite floor systems at normal and elevated temperatures, focusing on their use in mid- and high-rise timber construction. His role is to develop a research plan, design and carry out an experimental study, analyze the results and then develop a methodology for their design and application in future construction projects.

The benefits, Petrycki explains, will be to potentially increase the use of this type of mass timber systems in multi-storey buildings. With a plentiful and renewable resource such as wood, Canadian forestry sector and wood companies can develop more mass-timber products for domestic use and export.

“The field of heavy timber construction and the fire safety of buildings is an area of research I’m passionate about, and being able to conduct experimental studies in the unique setting of the LU fire lab has been a unique and rewarding experience,” Petrycki says.

Salem has attracted more than $1.6 million in research grants and awards, from, among others: the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Ontario Centres of Excellence, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, the Ontario Mass Timber Institute, and the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Research in Action highlights the work of Lakehead University in various fields of research.

Written by Julio Heleno Gomes

Story originally appeared in The Chronicle Journal on July 21, 2020

Dr. Sam Salem lab’s founder and director and an associate professor in Lakehead’s department of Civil Engineering

INTERNSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT: Mitacs Business Strategy Internships (BSI)

In collaboration with Mitacs, Lakehead’s Faculty of Business Administration is pleased to offer six Business Strategy Internships to returning Lakehead students, for Fall-Winter 2020-21.  Awards are in the amount of $10,000 for students to undertake a strategic project with a small or medium-sized company (SME) or not-for-profit organization. The partner organization and the Faculty of Business Administration will each contribute $2,500 toward the award.

Interns will undertake a strategic analysis of the SME to help them restore or modify their business operations in a new business environment disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Projects should be for 4 months (full-time) up to 6 months (part-time, total of 480 hours) in duration. Projects may begin as soon as approved by Mitacs, but must begin no later than August 31, 2020. 

Application and selection guidelines

Student Eligibility.  Full-time undergraduate and graduate students in the Faculty of Business who are returning to studies in Fall 2020 are eligible (including international students). Students must be registered during the award period. Students who are actively working on another Mitacs-funded project are not eligible.

Faculty and Partner Organization Supervisors. The student will have two supervisors, one at Lakehead and one at the partner organization. A Lakehead Faculty member (must be Tri-Council eligible) must agree to supervise the student research project. The participating organization will also appoint a supervisor. Both supervisors are expected to meet with the student at least once a week – meetings can be virtual.

Partner Organization.  Small-to-medium sized businesses (fewer than 500 employees) are eligible, as are not-for-profit organizations. Partner organizations will contribute $2,500 toward the award.

Projects.  Projects will be designed to address one or more business strategy components (i.e., marketing strategy, operations strategy, finance strategy, etc.) dependent on the need of the partner organization.

Because of safety measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, students should propose projects that can be conducted remotely.  If the campus re-opens while the project is underway, the project can continue on campus, provided it can be safely conducted under the guidelines in place at that time. 

Program Coordinator:  Maryann Kleynendorst, Experiential Learning Navigator, Faculty of Business Administration, Tel: 807-628-4166, Email:

If you would like to participate and have a research project idea:

  1. Download and review the Primer and the Toolkit.
  2. Contact a Faculty member who might be your supervisor, and discuss your project idea.
  3. FOR STUDENTS:  Complete the preliminary application online at and submit it by Monday, July 6, 2020.  If you have questions about completing the application, you can contact the Program Coordinator. 
  4. For EMPLOYERS (SME / Not-for-Profit): The Faculty of Business at Lakehead will be accepting project applications until July 17, 2020. 
  5. The Faculty of Business will work to match student applicants with available projects. 
  6. If selected, you will then work with the Program Coordinator to complete and submit your application to Mitacs. Mitacs will give a decision on your application within 1-2 weeks.
  7. At the end of the project, you will be required to participate in an exit survey and prepare and deliver a final report and a presentation to the supervisor during the last week of the award period.


For Student Applicants:Deadline:  Monday, July 6, 2020.

 For interested SMEs / Partner Organizations: Deadline:  July 17, 2020


Maryann Kleynendorst

Experiential Learning Navigator

Faculty of Business Administration

Tel: 807-628-4166



SSHRC Grant Application Enhancement Program

The Office of the Vice President (Research and Innovation) at Lakehead University is pleased to announce the continuation of the SSHRC Grant Application Enhancement Program. This program is designed to encourage and support researchers at Lakehead University to begin preparation of their SSHRC applications well in advance of the internal deadline (two weeks before the SSHRC deadline), with the ultimate goal of increasing overall success rates. The workshops will be designed to develop skills to write each application type, with common and specific references made during the sessions.

Beginning in April each year and spanning a five week period, applicants will participate in a series of four workshops devoted to the drafting of specific elements of a SSHRC application, common across disciplinary boundaries. Workshop topics may include participating in a mock SSHRC peer review exercise, organizing a comprehensive description of the proposed research project, preparing an engaging summary, crafting a project budget, and creating a feasible knowledge mobilization plan. The topics and schedule of these workshops will be finalized in consultation with participants who are accepted in this program. At the conclusion of the workshops, participants’ feedback will be sought to assist in the evaluation of the program.

Participants in the program will be eligible for a research grant of up to $1500, distributed in two installments to aid in the development of their SSHRC applications. Researchers may use this grant for costs associated with research, including but not limited to hiring research assistants and grant writers/editors, collecting preliminary data, meeting with research partners, and gathering materials for the literature review. The $1500 grant will be distributed in two separate allotments: 1) $750 at the completion of the workshops in which the participant had full attendance and 2) $750 after a SSHRC application has been submitted. Applications from the completion of the workshops must be submitted to the next immediately available Insight Grant, Insight Development Grant competition.

All researchers engaged in research in the area of social sciences and humanities are welcome to participate in the program. Participants from previous programs are welcome to apply to re-enroll in the program on an “audit” basis, which means that they will not be eligible for the financial incentive. 
The number of applicants selected to participate in this program will be capped depending on financial resources available and will total no more than 10 participants. Evaluation of applicants will be based on originality, relevance to SSHRC’s mandate, project description cohesiveness, and background of the researcher.

If you would like more information, please contact the Research and Knowledge Mobilization Facilitator at

eHealth app for Northern maternal health care being developed

Lakehead University researchers — from left, Dr. Pauline Sameshima, Dr. Jennifer Chisholm, Abigale Kent, Dr. Helle Moeller and Dr. Manal Alzghou — have been working on a research project focusing on maternal health care for Indigenous and immigrant women in Northwestern Ontario.

A program for mobile devices may provide access to the health care and education that mothers-to-be in Northwestern Ontario feel they often don’t receive. Supported by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, an eHealth app is being adapted by researchers at Lakehead University to fit the needs of women in this region, particularly Indigenous and immigrant women. This will hopefully help close this gap in maternal care and education.

“We know from interviewing women in this area that there is a need for mental health care and services in our region,” says Dr. Helle Moeller, an associate professor in Lakehead’s department of Health Sciences. “We also know few women, compared to the rest of Ontario and nationally, access pre-natal education. So we would like to offer an alternative tool for mental health education care, and support for women in their pregnancy and post-partum period.”

Moeller, who is also associate director of the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research, has a long-standing interest in equity in access to health and health care as well as Northern, Indigenous and women’s health.

A project started in 2013 looked at the birthing experience of women in Thunder Bay. Interviews with diverse women, including Indigenous women and women from refugee and immigrant backgrounds, reported being less well-treated in the health-care system, and provided with less information about the pre-natal education and care options available to them than the broader community. Many perceived birth to be inherently risky and Indigenous women felt the primary care providers reinforced this perception. They felt providers considered them “high risk,” and were often not informed about the option of midwifery care.

In 2017 the project was expanded to focus on pre-natal education. It involved interviews with another 40 women from varied backgrounds. The results revealed vast differences in access to pre-natal care and education.

“Women in Northern communities and women that come from diverse backgrounds do not have access to the same level of pre- and post-natal care and education as other women,” Moeller says. That is primarily due to: socioeconomic, linguistic and cultural differences, and the perception of racism and discrimination. Also, being on one or the other end of the age spectrum and not living close to where the programs are offered poses challenges.

“That issue of travel really prohibits women in northern communities from participating” in pre-natal programs, says Moeller.

Importantly, nearly half the participants indicated there was not enough mental health support services, in outlying communities as well as in Thunder Bay, Sioux Lookout and Kenora.

“Fifty per cent of women that we interviewed stressed that they had mental health needs they felt were not met during pregnancy and post-partum,” Moeller says.

A team in Alberta has successfully piloted a software application that provides educational mental health modules, online screening for depression and anxiety, and access to counselling and support during pregnancy and post-partum. The Thunder Bay team hopes to customize the app for women in this region to use.

“Social service and care providers see that the app has great potential,” Moeller states. “But there will need to be some adaptation in terms of language, culture, how the curriculum is put together.”

Abigale Kent, a master of Health Sciences student, has been the research co-ordinator on the project. In addition to supporting the efforts of the team generally, her thesis has focused on one leg of the project, interviewing providers servicing predominantly Euro-Canadian women and their perceptions on the suitability of an eHealth app for maternal mental health in the Northwest.

“I work with a fantastic and supportive team in building community connections, setting up interviews and putting together the building blocks that are going to ensure this app and the project succeeds,” Kent says.

When she graduates in August, Kent hopes to enroll in medical school having just been interviewed at NOSM.

Along with Moeller and Kent, the current team consists of: Dr. Manal Alzghoul, assistant professor in Nursing; Dr. Jennifer Chisholm, assistant professor in the department of Women’s Studies; and Dr. Pauline Sameshima, professor in Graduate Studies & Research in Education and Canada Research Chair in Arts Integrated Studies. The team has been funded by Women’s Xchange of Women’s College Hospital, Toronto, and the SSHRC Explore Research Development Fund.

Written by Julio Heleno Gomes

Story originally appeared in The Chronicle Journal on June 12, 2020

CFI - Exceptional Opportunities Fund – COVID-19: Internal Call for Expressions of Interest

CFI - Exceptional Opportunities Fund – COVID-19:  Internal Call for Expressions of Interest

Through the Exceptional Opportunities Fund – COVID-19 competition, the CFI will invest up to $25 million with the objective of supporting urgent needs for equipment for ongoing research related to COVID-19.  Full-time faculty members (affiliated with Lakehead University, TBRHRI, and NOSM West Campus are eligible to apply).

As an exception to their usual competitions, the CFI will cover up to 100 percent of the eligible costs of a project. Final applications are due at the CFI by July 6, 2020.

As per the CFI call document, to qualify for this funding opportunity, a project must meet the following requirements:

• The infrastructure component must be an indispensable element of an ongoing research project related to COVID-19.
• The infrastructure component must be acquired at the latest by March 31, 2021.

Under this special call, the CFI has indicated that Lakehead University can submit applications for equipment seeking a maximum of $200,000 from the fund.

Due to the short turnaround time for this call, Lakehead University invites submissions under the following process and timelines.  


Stage 1: Expressions of Interest due to ORS by June 10 @ 4:30 (mandatory)

  • COVID-19 Project Title
  • Anticipated Amount To Be Requested
  • Names of Principal Investigator and Co-applicants


Stage 2:  Internal Letter of Intent due to ORS by June 15 @ 12 noon (6 pages maximum)

- Project Title*

- Project Summary (50 words) and abbreviated proposal outlining how the project addresses each of the CFI program criteria*

- CV for members of research team (CFI CV, CCV, or standard CV will be accepted)#

- Budget justification*

- 1 quote for each piece of equipment requested#

* - Included in the six page LOI.

# - In addition to the six page LOI

An internal review committee will meet and review/rank the applications in relation to the CFI program criteria.  The Internal Peer Review Committee will provide their recommendations to the VPRI by June 19 and the successful applicants will be invited to prepare their full proposals using  CFI Awards Management System (CAMS)  and submit to the ORS by June 29.

For questions, please contact Andrew Hacquoil, Research Grants Officer (

Project guides climate change communication strategies

Dr. Lindsay Galway giving a presentation

Photo: Dr. Lindsay Galway speaking at the March climate change communication workshop.

That climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity is not news. This awareness, however, does not always translate into action. To move people to action, governments and organizations need to understand how best to communicate climate change information.

In March 2020, Dr. Lindsay Galway, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Science at Lakehead University and her team completed a project that sought to understand how citizens in Thunder Bay, Ont., and Prince George, BC, can become better engaged with climate change. Northern communities are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Although research has been conducted in the arctic, until now, little was known about public responses to climate change in the provincial norths.

“Provincial norths are unique case studies, because their economic wellbeing, culture, and history is often closely connected to resource extraction. They are also more remote and politically marginalized. But there is also a strong sense of place, of community, and of connection to the land,” said Galway.

The two-year project, funded the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada, involved three components: representative postal surveys in Thunder Bay and Prince George; interviews with “climate champions” in each community who are engaged in climate change education and action; and lastly, the development of climate change communication strategies based on the gathered data.

The postal surveys involved using Canada Post’s address database to randomly select 2000 households for each community and then adjusting based on census data to make sure these households represented the demographics of the community as a whole. Surveys were mailed to these households asking about climate change beliefs and attitudes, impacts of climate change, and climate change action. The team received just under 400 completed surveys for Thunder Bay which is considered a strong response rate.

Key findings from the Thunder Bay postal survey in regard to attitudes and beliefs include that 95% of respondents believe climate change is happening, and 86% feel very or somewhat worried about climate change. 40% of respondents report experiencing climate change impacts in Thunder Bay such as shifts in seasonal patterns, changing frequency and intensity of precipitation, and extremes of weather.

Other key findings, those that relate to action, highlight areas for education and change. 70% feel that addressing climate change will have positive effects on the long-term health of our communities, but paradoxically, 51% are concerned about whether addressing climate change will increase taxes. Similarly, while 80% felt Thunder Bay community members should do more to address climate change, only 60% reported taking action themselves. 70% of respondents felt that climate change is more likely to be a threat in the future than in the present.

“People still think of climate change as a threat of the future – that’s key. Climate science clearly illustrates that it is problem of now. If we are going to act to address climate change, we need to do it in the next five years” emphasized Galway.

The research was supported by an advisory group in each community made up of representatives from organizations who are working to address climate change. Following analysis of the data, 30 people from the advisory group and other organizations took part in a climate change communication workshop in March 2020 to discuss the results of the research, and to build best-practices for communicating about climate change in Thunder Bay, facilitated by Galway and Dr. Paul Berger, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead.

“Dr. Galway's research provides a solid foundation from which to take strong action. Scholarly evidence of strong local support for addressing climate change helped to secure a unanimous vote in favour of the City of Thunder Bay’s declaration of a climate emergency” said Aynsley Klassen, Program Coordinator at EcoSuperior, and a member of the research advisory group.

“Eco-superior is also able to use Dr. Galway's research to guide program development, increase the effectiveness of climate-related communications, and engage community residents in climate actions,” she added.

Another outcome of the project has been a video which recently was a finalist in the Social Sciences and Humanities Council Storytellers competition. The video was created by Robert Sanderson, a Master of Health Sciences Student at Lakehead, who was a research assistant on the project.

“Working on the project expanded my own interests and knowledge – it was a great opportunity to learn and make connections and gain research experience. I got to see a whole project from start to finish – to see the steps, the challenges and how to overcome them,” he said.

Sanderson’s video can be viewed at here and the final report from the project can be accessed here.

Story written by: PhebeAnn Wolframe-Smith

Photo credit: Paul Berger

Story originally posted in The Chronicle Journal on Wednesday, June 3, 2020


Updated: NEW - Mitacs Research Training Awards - Summer 2020

UPDATE (May 27, 2020):  Because of unexpected changes by Mitacs, the RTA quota at Lakehead has been reduced from a total of 30 awards to 8 awards (confirmed) for a first tranche, with the possibility of a second tranche (to be confirmed in mid-June).  We regret any inconvenience this may cause for applicants, however, these circumstances are outside of Lakehead's control.  Another update will be posted in mid-June regarding the possible second tranche.

Dear Lakehead Students,

In collaboration with Mitacs, Lakehead is pleased to offer 30 Research Training Awards (RTA) to returning Lakehead students, for the summer of 2020.  Awards are in the amount of CAD 6,000 for student-driven research projects of 12-16 weeks in duration (projects must be completed within that time frame).  Projects may begin as soon as approved by Mitacs, but must begin no later than August 31, 2020. 

Application and selection guidelines

Student Eligibility.  Full-time undergraduate and graduate students are eligible (including international students), in any discipline.  Students must be registered during the award period (previous winter for undergraduates, spring/summer for graduate students) and Fall 2020. Undergraduates who have recently graduated but have committed to a graduate program in the fall at Lakehead are also eligible. Students who are actively working on another Mitacs-funded project are not eligible.

Faculty Supervisor. A Lakehead Faculty member (must be Tri-Council eligible) must agree to supervise the student research project, and is expected to meet with the student at least once a week – meetings can be virtual.

Projects.  Because of safety measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, students should propose projects that can be conducted remotely.  If the campus re-opens while the project is underway, the project can continue on campus, provided it can be safely conducted under the guidelines in place at that time.  Twelve weeks is the minimum project length, 16 weeks is the maximum.

Program Coordinator:  Jill Sherman, Office of Research Services,

If you would like to participate and have a research project idea:

  1. Download and review the Toolkit and the Application template.
  2. Contact a Faculty member who might be your supervisor, and discuss your project idea.
  3. Complete the application in Word (do not change any of the document settings) and submit it to the Dean of your Faculty by May 25, 2020.  If you have questions about completing the application, you can contact the Program Coordinator.
  4. Each Faculty will have a limited number of awards. Your Faculty Dean will oversee the selection process and make recommendations of selected candidates to the Vice President (Research and Innovation) by June 1.
  5. If selected, you will then work with the Program Coordinator to submit your application to Mitacs. Mitacs will give a decision on your application within 1-2 weeks.
  6. At the end of the project, you will be required to prepare and deliver a final report and a presentation to the supervisor during the last week of the award period.

To apply, you can download the following documents (use your Lakehead email address):


If you have any questions about the application requirements, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Jill E. Sherman
International Research Facilitator

Tel: 807-343-8014

Internal Call for Proposals: 2020-2021 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Competition

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program is a very prestigious fellowship program that provides funding to the very best of postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally.  The program expects that these postdocs will positively contribute to Canada's "economic, social and research-based growth."
The specific objectives of the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program are to:
  • attract and retain top-tier postdoctoral talent, both nationally and internationally
  • develop their leadership potential
  • position them for success as research leaders of tomorrow
Because of the fact that the Banting program expects universities to submit applications for the best candidates, in order to select the most meritorious applicants for endorsement, the following deadlines/procedure will be followed for this year's competition:
1.  Banting submissions from potential candidates are due in the Office of Research Services no later than July 31, 2020.  Banting applications received after this date will not be considered.
2.  Submissions received by the internal deadline will be reviewed by the Senate Research Committee and feedback provided to the candidate by August 21, 2020.
3.  Final Banting submissions will be due internally September 4.  
4.  The required University letter of support will be provided to candidates by September 25. 
University Support
Please note that for the purposes of submission, Lakehead University is willing to make the following contributions to Bantings that are submitted through our internal process:
For Banting applications ultimately successful in the national competition,  the VP Research and Innovation (VPRI) will contribute a minimum of $5,000.  In addition, the VPRI will contribute an additional $2,500 if matched by an additional $2,500 from the respective Faculty dean for a potential institutional contribution of $10,000.  The match from the Dean must be requested by the proposed postdoctoral fellow supervisors and confirmed in writing.

Testing shines a light on effectiveness of UV lamps

Lakehead University professor Dr. Siamak Elyasi makes an adjustment to an instrument he has developed to test ultraviolet lamps.

A study being undertaken by Lakehead University to analyze the performance of ultraviolet lamps used to disinfect wastewater before being released into Lake Superior is moving to the next phase of testing. The aim is not just to determine which lamps perform better, but how to improve the process and optimize costs.

“The City of Thunder Bay is looking to gain a better understanding of the aging process of the ultraviolet lamps,” explains Lindsay Menard, process engineer at the City’s Water Pollution Control Plant. “The intended goal of this project is to optimize the UV system and decrease operating costs.”

The study is a collaboration with Dr. Siamak Elyasi, an associate professor in Chemical Engineering. Elyasi’s broad interest is drinking water and wastewater treatment.

“Having clean water for all human kind is my dream,” Elyasi says. “Clean water prevents many waterborne diseases, which reduces health costs and improves the economy of the people and the prosperity of the country where they live.”

About 70 million litres of wastewater flows to the City’s Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) each day. The wastewater is treated through various processes before being discharged into the Kaministiquia River.  Preliminary treatment, the first stage of treatment, is where large objects such as rags, paper and wood debris are removed in the bar screens and suspended solids are removed in the grit tanks. 

The next treatment process, primary treatment, involves the organic materials and dissolved contaminants settling in clarifiers.  Following primary treatment, the wastewater receives secondary treatment.  The WPCP uses a secondary treatment process referred to as the Biological Aerated Filter (BAF) process.  The BAF process removes carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand, total suspended solids, phosphorus and ammonia. 

The treated wastewater is disinfected with ultraviolet (UV) light to destroy pathogenic bacteria.  This process adds UV light, and therefore has no impact on the chemical composition of the wastewater.

Disinfection is the primary method of destroying disease-causing bacteria, to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases, says the City’s Menard. There are various methods of disinfection used by wastewater plants. The best option for the City of Thunder Bay, says Elyasi, is to have the treated wastewater exposed to UV radiation. To that end, from mid-April to mid-October — the “disinfection season” as defined by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks — the treated wastewater flows through a channel where light from an array of UV lamps damage the cells of micro-organisms that might be in the water.  When bacteria, viruses and protozoa are exposed to the UV light, they are rendered incapable of reproducing and infecting.

The system is equipped with more than 700 UV lamps, some costing hundreds of dollars each. The lamps have an expected life of 12,000 hours, but how effective are they as they slowly lose intensity?

Elyasi has developed an instrument to test a variety of lamps, to compare their performance over their life expectancy.

“You have to be very careful the UV lamp has the exact same performance or better,” Elyasi explains. “If they are less expensive, it doesn’t mean they are better, it doesn’t mean they are worse. You have to test them. If they can meet the performance of the original UV lamp, and are less expensive, that’s definitely the best choice.

“That is the goal of every manufacturer and plant operator: to reduce the cost of the operation,” he adds.

The project involved research/thesis student Mrunmayee Ravindra Nikam. Along with reviewing the literature during the development phase, she also performed experimental analysis of UV lamp output and collected data and documented the research findings. Her two years on this project gave her valuable experience in engineering research and designs.

“Throughout this research project I acquired numerous project management skills and further developed my abilities to think analytically, critically and logically,” Nikam says.

She graduated with a Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering and plans to pursue a doctoral degree. Her ultimate goal is to become an environmental entrepreneur and implement a sustainable approach to preserve the environment.

Elyasi is pleased with the performance of the equipment and hopes it can be deployed at the Water Pollution Control Plant when the technology is proven.

“The UV process is an important step in the treatment of wastewater,” says the City’s Menard. “We are always looking for ways to improve our operations and we believe the work Dr. Elyasi is doing is one way to help us get better.”

Story written by Julio Heleno Gomes

Originally published in The Chronicle Journal April 28, 2020

COVID19 Research Call for Proposals - Strategic Research Development Fund, Senate Research Committee - Deadline May 1

This targeted funding is for short-term projects. Successful applicants are expected to begin their projects within one month from the awarding of funding and complete them within 9 months. Proposals from all disciplines are encouraged. It is anticipated that this call will fund a maximum of 5 projects with a maximum budget of $10,000 each. Proposals which have received, or have been submitted for COVID-19 related funding from other sources are eligible. 

Eligibility: Faculty members with tenure-track, tenured and 3-year limited term appointments are eligible to apply; Faculty with limited term appointments must provide evidence to demonstrate that they can complete the project prior to the end date of their appointment. Eligible faculty members can apply once to this special competition as principal investigator. There are no restrictions on how many times an eligible faculty member can apply as co-investigator on a research team. 


Application Process:

Requests for funds must be made using the on-line Romeo Research Portal via MyInfo (

As part of the Romeo application, the following should be included:
  • A research plan (maximum 3 pages);
  • Detailed budget and budget justification (maximum 2 pages);
  • Curriculum Vitae—CCV (preferred)—for all faculty members; and
  • Letters of support from research partners (if applicable)


Selection Process and Criteria:

The Senate Research Committee will review all eligible applications based on their degree of innovation, feasibility, training of HQP and impact.
Compliance with Lakehead University’s COVID19 Directives
All projects must adhere to the Lakehead University’s COVID19 directives and relevant research guidelines which can be found at the following link: For example, projects involving human subjects must adhere to the directives for research involving human participants during the publicly declared emergency by the Research Ethics Board.


Required Reporting and Deliverables:

A final report must be submitted to the Senate Research Committee through the Romeo Research Portal within 30 days of completing the project.
Applicants should be aware that the Senate Research Committee operates under Senate approved guidelines. All funding for internal research competitions is limited and designated for specific uses. Due to the competitive nature of the internal competition for most funding opportunities, the Senate Research Committee does not provide applicants with feedback or justification for its decisions. All decisions are made internally through a peer review process and all decisions are final.

For additional information regarding the application process, please contact



Senate Research Committee

Special One-time Call for COVID19—Strategic Research Development Fund Proposals


Romeo Application Form Questions:

9 Month Research Plan

1.            Briefly state the objectives to be achieved within the project’s time frame (9 months)

Proposals will be evaluated based on the following:

2.            Criteria: Innovation

Situate the proposal in the existing literature, context, and clearly explain how the research proposed is original, innovative and of high quality.

3.            Criteria: Feasibility

Please describe the key milestones, including methodology you propose to use and the project’s feasibility to produce impactful results in a short-time frame. NOTE: All proposed research activities must firmly adhere to the government’s and the University’s directives to observe social distancing and safety protocols.

4.            Criteria: Training of HQP

Please describe how the proposed research has the potential to develop research capacity among HQP.

5.            Criteria: Impact on COVID19

Please describe how the proposed project addresses COVID19 research questions. Please describe the anticipated impacts and deliverables.

 Overlap with Other Funding

Please explain how this proposal builds upon current research grants or proposals (if applicable) or how it is unique.

Detailed Budget and Budget Justification

Please provide a detailed budget itemizing all eligible expenditures and a budget justification.

Research Track-Record

Attach a copy of a CCV for all faculty members involved in the proposed research.


Please attach letters of support from partners (if applicable)