Western received a $45 million grant from the federal government in September, which will go towards the construction of the University's two latest buildings.
Western will be matching the grant so a total of $90 million will be contributed towards the new building projects.
The funding will go into the construction of the Western Interdisciplinary Research Building and the Three C+ Innovation Centre. The two new projects focus on interdisciplinary collaboration.
The Western Interdisciplinary Research Building will be home to collaborative projects between the Rotman Institute of Philosophy and the Brain and Mind Institute. In addition to classroom space for students to use, there will also be a space provided for aspiring entrepreneurs to come together and put their ideas into practice.
Peter Fragiskatos, MP for London North Centre, noted how important this interdisciplinary dialogue is to research today.
“Any effort that brings together those in the natural science and those in the humanities is absolutely central to meaningful research because, I have seen it myself, where researchers who could be engaged in a dialogue are not because there is this perception that their work has nothing in common when in fact it’s quite the opposite,” Fragiskatos said.
The Three C+ Innovation Centre will allocate space for the Engineering program. According to Peter White, Western’s executive director of government relations, the building will provide state-of-the-art labs and infrastructure.
“It’s something that we just don't have room for today in the existing engineering facility so I know the engineering faculty is very excited,” White said.
The federal grant is coming from The Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Fund. This fund consists of $2 billion that will go towards infrastructure projects in post-secondary institutions across Canada. It was approved in the 2016 federal budget.
The government opened up applications to all post-secondary institutions in June of this year. Western dedicated itself to putting forward a sound proposal which highlighted already well thought out plans. White noted that this gave Western a leg up over other institutions.
White also noted that although the funding is coming primarily from the federal government, there is also some provincial funding being provided. The provincial funding will be used for the refurbishment of already existing buildings.
Fragiskatos commented about the importance that this funding will have not only for Western but also for London and Canada as a whole.
“If Canada is going to compete in the global economy we have to focus on research and innovation. So when we invest in research and innovation, we position ourselves globally to really grow our economy and that is what [the strategic fund] is all about and if you look at the projects at Western, that’s exactly what you have,” Fragiskatos said.