Dr. Craig Willis – photo by Dan Harper of DanHarperPhoto.com

The University of Winnipeg has selected Dr. Craig Willis, Associate Professor of Biology, wildlife biologist and prominent bat researcher, as its first Chancellor’s Research Chair. 

The three-year award will afford Dr. Willis the opportunity to devote more time to his research on Wildlife Health and Environmental Change; the physiology of aging in wild animals; and infectious diseases of wildlife. One significant and timely facet of Dr. Willis’s research involves studying the incidence of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) which is devastating North America’s hibernating bats.   

“The Chancellor’s Research Chair will allow me to focus on projects with a great team of undergraduate and graduate students, and post-docs, addressing urgent questions for wildlife conservation that have implications for ecosystems, economics and human health,” said Willis. “The extra time for research and extra funding will also help my students and me to take full advantage of outstanding new facilities in the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex.” 

The newly created Chancellor’s Research Chair is open to any University of Winnipeg tenure-track faculty member and carries an award of $7,500 per annum. It was approved by the Board of Regents in the May 2011 university budget, which placed high priority on excellence in research. This year UWinnipeg is hiring 31 tenure-track faculty, consisting of seven newly-created positions, 14 replacements for faculty positions vacated in the year through retirement or other turnover, and a number of conversions of term instructors. 

“We are committed to supporting and enhancing the important research underway on campus,” said Dr. Neil Besner, UWinnipeg’s Vice-President, Research and International. “Giving our faculty members more opportunities to focus on research benefits both professors and their students, and strengthens UWinnipeg’s reputation for academic excellence.” 

The next Chancellor’s Research Chair award will be granted in Spring/Summer 2012.

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