Research builds our communities

Group of images representing the collection of stories

Research builds our communities

A collection of stories showcasing the transformative impact of research on Canadians and their communities
September 20, 2016

Community is the place we live, the shared experiences that bind us to other people. It’s where we come from, it shapes where we are headed. And community is built of many things: the physical spaces around us, the roads and communication lines that connect us, the beliefs and policies that guide us, and above all, that intrinsically human desire to reach out, to be supported by others, to understand our neighbours, to help. Research, ultimately, is one way we do all of these things better. In the social sciences and humanities, we delve into who we are, what makes us human, what drives us, so we can know ourselves better. In the physical sciences, we query the rules of nature that govern us and ask “How can we put these to use for the good of us all?” We make things better for each other.

For 20 years, the CFI has been putting in place the tools and facilities researchers need to think big, and the fruits of those investments are evident in communities across Canada. In this collection of stories, we present just some examples of how research builds communities.

  • Having a sick child, and not knowing the cause of her illness was a frightening and isolating experience for Samantha Knapp, who has six children, two of whom have a rare genetic disorder that causes severe seizures in newborns and infants. Nearly twenty years ago, when Knapp’s eldest daughter Asia started having seizures as a baby, very little was known about this condition. With the help of many doctors, including Kym Boycott at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa, the Knapp family was able to find a diagnosis for both Asia, and her little sister Sienna...
  • Albert Leyenhorst and his son, Logan, are second- and third-generation dairy and cash crop farmers in Dalmeny, Sask. The navy blue silos and red roofs of their farm can be spotted from a great distance; their purebred Holstein herd, and producing quality milk and strong, healthy cows, is their shared passion. To stay ahead of the curve, the Leyenhorsts have teamed up with the University of Saskatchewan’s Canadian Feed Research Centre in nearby North Battleford. The unique research facility is developing new ways of processing grain by-products to make feedstocks that are better for milk...
  • When we turn on the tap or flush the toilet, we don’t usually give much thought to where the water comes from or where it’s going. But municipal wastewater treatment can be extremely expensive, and the higher the level of treatment, the cleaner the effluent and the smaller the impact on the environment. Even so, Calgary treats its wastewater three times —more than many Canadian cities— before returning it to the Bow River. The Bow is the city’s primary source of drinking water, which also feeds into the water sources of several communities downstream. To further its commitment to...
  • Music is a way to connect to the people around us, and understanding how musicians interact with each other and with their audience is the foundation for finding new ways to perform and making those connections stronger. The Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology is a cutting-edge music and sound research centre that does just that. Located in downtown Montreal and run by McGill University, Université de Montréal  and Université de Sherbrooke, the centre is equipped with high-tech recording studios, audio laboratories, and a state-of-the-art music hall...
  • The Canadian Light Source in Saskatoon, Sask., provides scientists with a brilliant light that reveals information about the structural and chemical properties of materials at the molecular level. This kind of knowledge can be used in numerous ways, such as building smaller, more effective computer chips, designing new drugs, creating better materials for safer medical implants or helping clean up mining waste. With such fascinating research being conducted right in the heart of the city, Bill Baker, a certified tour guide and cab driver with United Cabs Saskatoon, saw an opportunity. Now,...