A budding cannabis research cluster
takes shape in Fredericton
a new research cluster will soon be sparking to life in Fredericton as the city’s two universities each begin their search for a researcher to fill a new chair in cannabis research, reportedly the first two such chairs in
the country. St. Thomas University’s new
chair will focus on the social impact of cannabis, both as a medicinal and recreational
drug, while the University of New Brunswick’s chair will tackle the pharmacology and
biochemistry of cannabis.
The announcement of the two chairs
within months of each other was not a
coincidence. Both were
the brainchild of Bruno
Battistini, CEO and sci-
entific director of the
New Brunswick Health
“We’re trying to do the science behind the
impact of legalization and pharmaceutical de-
velopment, to make sure we have the proper
data and analysis,” he says. “We want to bring
order to where right now there is chaos.”
NBHRF is providing $500,000 over five
years for each chair, with two private-sector
partners each chipping in another $500,000
– the pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart at
St. Thomas and the pharmaceutical company
Tetra Bio-Pharma at UNB.
Michael Dawson, associate vice-president,
research, at St. Thomas, says the chair plays
to the university’s strengths in the social sci-
ences and the humanities. “We’ll focus on
what governments ought to be thinking
about – and worrying about – given what’s
going to happen with legalization,” he says.
“It’s an exciting recognition that the social
sciences have a major role to play in an im-
portant public policy issue.”
Dr. Dawson says the university expects
to have a researcher in place by July 1 of next
year, the date set for the legalization of can-
nabis across the country.
David MaGee, acting vice-president for
research at UNB, says the new chair is an
opportunity for the university to build on its
expertise in health-related research and to
support the government’s plans to develop a
cannabis industry in New Brunswick. “The
government has made it clear that the cannabis industry is something that it is backing,
and the university is trying to support that
any way we can,” he says. – brian owens
“We’ll focus on what
governments ought to
be thinking about, given
what’s going to happen
Walking on sunshine at TRU
a new walkway is laying ground for a greener
campus at Thompson Rivers University. The
university in Kamloops, British Columbia,
recently installed 16 solar modules into a
14-metre stretch of sidewalk It’s touting the
solar walkway as a first in Canada.
The panels should produce nearly 1,300
k Wh a year, according to project lead Michael
Mehta, a professor of geography and environmental studies at TRU – enough to power all
the lights, computers and appliances in the
university’s sustainability office.
The slip-resistant, reinforced panels were
intentionally installed in a high-traffic, treelined area. The solar cells in each panel have
been optimized to respond to shade patterns
that change throughout the day – when a set
of cells drops in its ability to generate power
the rest make up the difference to maintain
a consistent output. “If it can work in this
location, solar sidewalks and perhaps even
solar roads can work almost anywhere,” Dr.
Mehta wrote in a blog post about the build.
The sidewalk is a prototype for Dr.
Mehta’s Solar Compass project, a compass-shaped path made of 64 solar modules.
Installation was scheduled to begin outside
TRU’s Arts and Education building in late
September. Once in operation, the solar road
should offset the use of up to 40 computers
a year. – natalie samson
From Daniel Heath Justice’s essay, “Demanding kinder
classrooms doesn’t make you a snowflake,” published at
thewalrus.ca, Aug. 23, 2017.
I don’t want my classes to be gladiatorial
arenas where only the strongest survive.
There’s already enough cruelty in the world.