Trent University Announces 2014 $50 Million Campaign and Centre of Knowledge in the Environment Launch


First of Four Virtual Centres to Showcase National and International Environmental Expertise at Trent

Wednesday, October 21, 2009, Peterborough

Today Dr. Roberta Bondar, renowned space scientist, neurologist, astronaut, former Trent chancellor, and honorary patron of the Centre of Knowledge in the Environment, announced Trent University’s $50 Million philanthropic campaign leading to the University’s milestone 50th anniversary in 2014.

Trent’s 2014 $50 Million Campaign was approved by the Board of Governors in 2007 and over $15 million in new investments has been raised to date. Dr. Bondar joined members of the Trent community, along with public and private partners, donors, government officials and special guests at the University earlier today to kick-off a dynamic two-day program of announcements and events to officially celebrate the launch the Centre of Knowledge in the Environment, a key component of the campaign.

“Trent’s $50 Million campaign represents the most significant strategic philanthropic program in the history of the University and will provide lasting benefits to our students, faculty and academic programs. It will also celebrate the interdisciplinary teaching and research excellence that Trent is known for at the national and international levels,” said Dr. Steven E. Franklin, president and vice-chancellor. “In the coming years, we will use this campaign and the Centres of Knowledge to pay respect to our traditions, celebrate our current achievements, including the teaching and research excellence at Trent, and support Trent as we define our future.”

Centres of Knowledge at Trent University

 The Centres of Knowledge are a new way to talk about Trent, and the exceptional expertise, facilities and strengths of the institution. As virtual centres, they recognize the University’s intellectual capital, Trent’s outstanding faculty, as the engine that drives innovation and student success.

The Centre of Knowledge in the Environment is the first of four virtual centres designed to profile interdisciplinary teaching and research expertise among the humanities, social sciences, sciences and professional programs to be unveiled leading up to the University’s 50th anniversary.

This Centre celebrates Trent’s national and international expertise in and commitment to the environment as a distinct focal point of excellence. Trent’s environmental expertise at both national and international levels is focused on a number of areas of teaching and research, including: water contaminant analysis, environmental modeling, northern and polar studies, species conservation and biodiversity, wildlife stress and diseases, ecological restoration, community-based environmental solutions, and DNA profiling of animal and plants for effective ecosystem management. Trent benefits from the added value of scholars in the humanities and social sciences who help to frame the complex issues facing the globe. In addition, Trent’s expertise in Indigenous knowledge infuses our understanding of the environment.

“The Centres of Knowledge are at the core of Trent’s new philanthropic strategy and this launch represents an important milestone for our University,” said Dianne Lister, vice president of External Relations and Advancement. “Our theme for this launch is “the ecology of partnerships.” We are grateful for the extraordinary support of the broader community, government and our partners who share our commitment to a sustainable and healthy future.”

Trent Biomaterials Research Program – Brain Gain for Ontario

The launch of the Centre of Knowledge in the Environment featured the introduction of the groundbreaking new Trent Biomaterials Research Program led by Dr. Suresh Narine, a pioneer and leader in his field, and his team of researchers, recruited to Trent University from the University of Alberta. 

The research program at Trent will focus on using plant oils (lipids) to create new biomaterials. The primary source of these natural oils will be agricultural commodities such as soy, canola, flax, corn, hemp and jatropha. The applied focus of the research program will centre on creating high-value edible lipid products, high-value industrial materials such as polymers, specialized chemicals, lubricants, adhesives products, and cosmetics.

When completed, the Trent Biomaterials Research Program will be among the top one per cent of laboratories in the world focussed on lipid bioproducts and their structure-function relationships.

To date, $2.5 Million has been raised to support the creation of the Trent Biomaterials Research Program. Founding partners and funders include:

    • Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc., Bolingbrook, Illinois - $1,000,000
    • Ontario Soybean Growers - $500,000
    • Anonymous philanthropist who established the Biomaterials Innovation Fund - $500,000
    • Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster and the Community Adjustment Fund - $500,000

 In addition, support has also been provided by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for specialized laboratory equipment.
Official Opening of Trent University’s Microenvironment Laboratory

At the launch today, Trent University also celebrated the official opening of the new Microenvironment Laboratory. Operational since early this year, the laboratory will permit researchers to use controlled environmental equipment and systems to simulate micro-versions of ecosystems that occur naturally. Research data can then be used to determine and monitor environmental impacts under changing conditions, and measure those impacts on the biological, chemical and physical environment. 

The Mircoenvironment Laboratory will support the work of 14 interdisciplinary Trent faculty and researchers who will have access to five related facilities: the Controlled Environment Chambers, the Wind Tunnel, the Invertebrate Growth Laboratory, the Atmospheric Chamber and the Soil Water Transport and Interaction Chamber. Together, these facilities represent a scientific lab that is among the most advanced of its kind in the world.

The Microenvironment Laboratory is financially supported by both the federal and provincial governments. The University is receiving contributions in kind from equipment suppliers and is actively seeking additional private donations. 

Guided tours of both state-of-the art labs were held following the announcements this morning.

For more information about Trent University’s $50 Million Campaign and the Centre of Knowledge in the Environment, visit

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For more information, please contact:
Dianne Lister, Vice President, External Relations & Advancement, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x7207
Don Cumming, Senior Director, Public Affairs and Government Relations, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6181