Over the last year, Research Nova Scotia has joined with researchers, research funders, governments, those who use research, and innovators to respond to one of the most disruptive challenges our society has faced in recent memory.
The following report shares highlights of some of the exciting ways in which Research Nova Scotia is working to help solve Nova Scotia’s biggest challenges. And we are only just getting started.
Protecting Residents in Long-term Care.
Nova Scotia has the highest proportion of seniors in Canada. Investing in high quality and safe solutions for long-term care facilities is an important healthy aging strategy here and around the world. Research Nova Scotia worked with Dr. Kenneth Rockwood and his team of researchers, Nova Scotia Health, Windsor Elms, Northwood, and government stakeholders to shape a project to determine whether specialized UV lights installed in long- term care facilities will reduce influenza-like illnesses, respiratory infections, and COVID-19 infections among residents.
Creating Tastier Proteins and Reducing Food Waste.
Pulses (e.g., beans, peas, lentils) have attracted new interest as a high-quality source for the rising global demand for plant-based protein. Farming of these crops in Nova Scotia has increased over the last 10 years, and Canada is a crop production and export leader.
Dr. Marcia English, Assistant Professor in Human Nutrition at St. Francis Xavier University, is collaborating with researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Mount Saint Vincent, and Acadia on food projects such as biodegradable packaging made from food waste, and wine.
Tracking Virus in Wastewater.
Dr. Graham Gagnon and his research team at Dalhousie University, along with researchers from Acadia, Cape Breton and St. Francis Xavier Universities and Halifax Water, launched a project aimed at detecting the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19 in human wastewater, to quickly identify the presence of the virus – even before it is detected through individual testing.
Producing Medical-grade Pulp for Use in PPE.
When the pandemic hit Canada, the sole Canadian mill producing medical-grade pulp, an essential component for personal protective equipment, struggled to keep up with demand. Dr. Christa Brosseau, a professor and Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Chemistry & Materials, along with her team at Saint Mary’s University launched a project in collaboration with Port Hawkesbury Paper to research the possibility of Nova Scotian mills to produce medical-grade pulp for use in personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 respirator masks.