BC gives $260,000 for forest research at TRU

  • Feb. 14, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Ministry of Science and Universities

The B.C. government is providing $260,000 to further research at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) into parasitic plants that attack coniferous forests in B.C., Science and Universities Minister Ida Chong announced last week.

The funding award is being provided through the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF) and used to acquire an advanced scanning electron microscope for research dedicated to controlling dwarf mistletoe, a plant parasite that infects trees and in the case of lodgepole pine, makes the trees more susceptible to pine beetle infestations.

“This funding award will enable researchers at Thompson Rivers University to continue their important work into finding innovative new ways to manage and protect the health of our forests,” said Chong. “It provides important support for Thompson Rivers University, as its scientists continue to build a tradition of research excellence that benefits all British Columbians.”

“We’re pleased with this announcement since it demonstrates the B.C. government’s ongoing commitment to forestry research,” said John Allan, president of Council of Forest Industries.

The BCKDF announcement matched funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and is added to other internal and external sources at TRU for a total research infrastructure investment of $666,333 for the purchase of a state-of-the-art Scanning Electron Microscope or SEM.

“This advanced microscope will be used by internationally-renowned scientist Dr. Cynthia Ross Friedman and TRU students engaged in original research with the potential to lead to innovative practices and solutions for good forest management and pest control,” said Alan Shaver, TRU president and vice-chancellor. “In addition to her research on forest health, the detailed study of mistletoe and other plants continues to lead to the discovery of new medicines and bioproducts that may eventually become new commercial products contributing to the economy of British Columbia.”

“The pioneering work of researchers at TRU is some of the best in the world and we are immensely proud of the work being undertaken at this university,” said Terry Lake, MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson.

Since 2001, the B.C. government has committed $1.8 billion to research in British Columbia, and leveraged another $1.3 billion in research funding from other sources. To date, the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund – the government’s major research infrastructure investment program – has invested over $423 million for research projects in British Columbia.