Innovative research on bridge scour wins uOttawa engineering student prestigious NSERC award

Posted on Monday, February 27, 2012

University of Ottawa engineering student Jimmy Ly has been selected by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) as a winner of the 2012 André Hamer Postgraduate Prize for his research, which may greatly decrease factors that lead to bridge failures.

“Our sincere congratulations to this accomplished student. Jim Ly is one of many examples of how the University of Ottawa offers its students a truly unique educational experience,” says Mona Nemer, vice-president, research.

“I am honoured to be the winner of such an award. The faculty and my fellow students are really supportive and the state-of-the-art labs have played a monumental role in winning this award,” Jimmy Ly says.

Under the supervision of Professor Colin Rennie from the Department of Civil Engineering, Jimmy Ly is developing a three-dimensional numerical model that will help explain the complex factors at play in scouring—the process of water eroding the sediment that supports bridge piers.

In America, river processes contribute to about 60 percent of bridge failures. Estimates suggest that in New Zealand, one percent of bridges fail per year due to scouring. Jimmy Ly's research aims to better understand these complicated river processes, which would in turn help minimize bridge failures.

The prize award was announced as part of a celebration recognizing recipients of several national prestigious awards from NSERC, including the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, which has been won three times by University of Ottawa professors.

The NSERC André Hamer Postgraduate Prizes are awarded to the four most outstanding candidates in NSERC's postgraduate scholarships competition at the master's level, and to the most outstanding candidate in the NSERC Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships competition at the doctoral level. The prizes were established by Arthur McDonald, winner of the 2003 Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, in memory of André Hamer, a very promising young scientist who passed away in 2003

The University of Ottawa, one of the leading research universities in Canada, welcomes over 4,500 graduate students each year including close to 900 in the Faculty of Engineering. Through their research activities, students contribute significantly to discoveries, innovation and prosperity in various fields. Training tomorrow's leaders is at the heart of the University of Ottawa's mission.

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