Thompson Rivers University

TRU researchers share $579,000 in federal awards

  Posted on: May 23, 2019

Dr. Catherine Ortner, Associate Professor, Psychology.

Dr. Catherine Ortner, Associate Professor, Psychology.

Five Thompson Rivers University researchers received $579,240 over five years through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Discovery Grants program, announced this week by the Government of Canada.

The Discovery Grants Program funds innovations in chemistry, physics, life sciences, mathematics, computer science, geoscience and the many branches of engineering.

This week, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced an unprecedented investment of more than $588 million through the program, awarded to more than 4,850 researchers and students across Canada who are pursuing world-leading discovery work. It also includes support for nearly 500 early-career researchers.

These newly funded researchers bring the total to 18 TRU faculty currently supported by the Discovery Grant program, which is valued at $2.4 million.

“We are delighted by this announcement, which builds on TRU’s research capacity and supports our faculty in pursuing fundamental research questions. A significant portion of these funds will go to hiring students, providing them with the opportunity to engage in high impact practice through mentored research,” said Dr. Christine Bovis-Cnossen, TRU’s Provost and Vice-President Academic.

“This allows me to hire and mentor undergraduate students, as that’s what most of my budget is devoted to,” said Dr. Catherine Ortner, Associate Professor, Psychology, whose research program explores emotion regulation strategies.

“This grant allows me to dig deeper. Before, I was looking into people’s motives when deciding how to respond to an emotional situation, and now we’ll be looking at the underlying and unconscious mechanisms that go into those choices.”

2019 Discovery Grant Awards

  • Catherine Ortner, Associate Professor, Psychology. Cognitive processes supporting emotion regulation choices.
  • Lingling Jin, Assistant Professor, Computing Science. Computational modelling and prediction of plant genome evolution
  • Jonathan Van Hamme, Professor, Biology. Molecular mechanisms of fluorinated organic chemical metabolism in bacteria
  • Qinglin Yu, Professor, Mathematics. Matching extensions in graphs and hyper graphs: structures, algorithms and characterizations.


  • The investment announced this week includes $426 million in Discovery Grants going to more than 2,295 researchers across the full range of science and engineering disciplines, from biology and chemistry to advanced materials engineering and astrophysics.
  • $6.2 million in Discovery Launch Supplements will be going to 499 early-career researchers in the first year of their Discovery Grants to help them launch their careers.
  • $83 million in Scholarship and Fellowships to support nearly 1,700 graduate students and fellows in the early stages of their careers.
  • The Government of Canada recently launched Dimensions: Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Canada. This new pilot program, which is inspired by the United Kingdom’s internationally-recognized  Athena SWAN program, will address systemic barriers in research, particularly those experienced by members of underrepresented or disadvantaged groups.

More information

Dr. Catherine Ortner
Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts