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One interesting feature about Canadian universities is their tendency specialize a little, creating research centres/institutes and investing in expensive equipment not found elsewhere in Canada [1].  This allows the university to proactively recruit graduate students interested in that field, and more effectively petition for government funding [2].  For those interested in Canadian research, here’s a list of all the specialties I could find [3].

From west to east:

University of Victoria – Unknown.

University of British Columbia – Isolation of marine natural products. Drug research and development. Nuclear chemistry.

Simon Fraser University – Drug research and development. Nuclear chemistry. Materials chemistry. Chemical Biology.

University of Calgary – Industrial sulfur chemistry. Petroleum Engineering.

University of Alberta – Carbohydrate researchNanotechnology.

University of Lethbridge – RNA research.

University of Regina – Unknown.

University of Saskatchewan – Synchrotron based research.

University of Manitoba – Antimicrobial research (weak focus, due the proximity of the National Microbiology Laboratory).  Sea ice/Arctic research.

University of Guelph/University of Waterloo – Theoretical and computational chemistry. Chemical Engineering.

McMaster University – High throughput screeningChemical biologyBiosurfaces.

York University – Atmospheric chemistryMass spectrometry.

University of Toronto – Chemical engineeringNano-Polymers and Thin Polymer Films.

Carleton University – Inorganic chemistry (split focus with the university of Ottawa)

University of Ottawa – Organic chemistry (split focus with Carleton University).  High field NMR researchCatalysis.

Concordia University – Molecular modeling.

Université de Montréal – Self-assembled structures (with McGill).

McGill University – Chemical Biology. Self-assembled structures (with Université de Montréal).

Université de Québec à Montréal; Université de Sherbrooke; Université Laval – Materials chemistry.

University of New Brunswick – Theoretical/Experimental SpectroscopyMagnetic resonance imaging.

Dalhousie University – Materials.

Memorial University – Unknown.  Environmental (marine) monitoring?

I’m sure that the list is incomplete, so if you happen to have a little insider knowledge let me know!


[1] This is of course in addition to the standard roster of inorganic/organic/theoretical/analytical/bio- chemists.

[2] Smaller universities may not have the resources for a full-fledged research institute or $5m piece of equipment, and instead may simply have a few professors with overlapping interests.  Promotion of these smaller clusters is erratic.

[3] Disclaimer: my knowledge is imperfect.  The list is not meant to reflect the impact of “big name” professors.

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