Breadth of institutional research on display with award of $3.7 million of federal funding across disciplines

University of Lethbridge research projects from across the institution were supported with more than $3.7 million in funding as the Government of Canada announced a major investment in Canadian science, engineering, social sciences and humanities research.

Today, at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, announced investments of more than $635 million to support more than 4,800 lead researchers and their teams. This support includes more than 3,400 new grants and grant extensions through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Discovery Grants program, and 1,315 research projects across Canada through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Partnership GrantsPartnership Development GrantsInsight Grants and Insight Development Grants. As well, there were 156 new or renewed Canada Research Chairs (CRC) confirmed at 36 institutions across Canada.

“The investment of nearly $4 million in our institution’s research activities is an investment in our people who drive innovation, spark inquiry and author solutions to some of the biggest issues facing society today,” says Dr. Robert Wood, the University’s interim vice-president (research). “That each of our five Faculties is represented in these funding announcements shows the depth and breadth of the research activities taking place here on campus and affirms our position as one of the country’s leading comprehensive research institutions.”

In all, 30 different projects are receiving funding support through either SSHRC or NSERC, with values ranging from small awards that support community outreach STEM activities in Destination Exploration (grants of $4,600 and $5,000) to large funding awards for projects such as Dr. Inge Genee’s SSHRC Insight Grant supporting her work in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics/Indigenous Studies ($344,779 for Documenting contemporary and historical variation in Niitsi'powahsin (Blackfoot)) and Dr. Majid Mohajerani’s NSERC Discovery Grant supporting his Department of Neuroscience study ($720,000 for researching Spontaneous activity, memory replay and the default mode network).

“From math and computer science to neuroscience, kinesiology, physics & astronomy, chemistry and biochemistry, philosophy, education, music, business, psychology, health sciences, religious studies and English, our researchers are pushing boundaries, training students and making a real difference in society,” says Wood.

The Government of Canada says the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the invaluable contributions researchers make to our country and throughout the world.

“More than ever, this past year has shown that society cannot move forward without the strong contribution of researchers from across Canada and beyond,” says Ted Hewitt, president of SSHRC and Chair of the Canada Research Chairs Program Steering Committee. “Advancing knowledge and insight within and across all disciplines including social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, engineering and health is essential to tackling the challenges we face and finding the solutions we need to make Canada healthier, safer, more innovative and more prosperous.”

NSERC Discovery Grant

Amir Akbary, Math & Computer Science, Distribution problems for L-functions and number fields — $105,000

Robert Benkoczi, Math & Computer Science, Facility location optimization with applications in evacuation planning and IoT — $30,000

Chelsea Ekstrand, Neuroscience, Novel approaches for examining functional and structural correlates of naturalistic cognition using functional magnetic resonance imaging — $177,500

Daya Gaur, Math & Computer Science, Fine-grained linear programming based approximate methods for NP-hard problems — $120,000

Paul Hazendonk, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Development of characterization methods for multicomponent mixed phase materials for application in energy and environmental technologies — $120,000

Rob Laird, Biological Sciences, Evolution of senescence in plants — $355,000

Majid Mohajerani, Neuroscience, Spontaneous activity, memory replay and the default mode network — $720,000

Gongbing Shan, Kinesiology, Development of a general biomechanical model for wearables application — $30,000

Locke Spencer, Physics & Astronomy, Far­Infrared technology for Experimental Astrophysics — $170,000

(Co-Applicant) Theresa Burg, Biological Sciences, Microstallite Paternity Analyses of Six years of Savannah Sparrow Field Data — $10,000

NSERC Engage Grant

Borries Demeler, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Use of Analytical Ultracentrifugation to Uncover Unique Characterization of Canola Feed Ingredients — $25,000

NSERC PromoScience Science Literacy Week

Valerie Archibald, Dean’s Office, Family STEM activities — $4,600

NSERC PromoScience Supplement for Science Odyssey

Valerie Archibald, Dean’s Office, STEM Explorers on the Go — $5,000

NSERC Research Tools & Instruments

Aaron Gruber, Neuroscience, Next-generation neural recording platform for the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience — $149,594

Igor Kovalchuk, Biological Sciences, Plant growth chambers to support a new Phytotron Core Research Facility — $148,804

Robert McDonald, Neuroscience, Assessing memory representations in freely­behaving animals with calcium imaging via miniscopes — $122,433

Majid Mohajerani, Neuroscience, Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience Research Cores for High throughput, Automated and Longitudinal Monitoring of Rodents Behaviour and Brain Activity — $149,842

SSHRC Connection Grant

Dan O’Donnell, English, Canada-LATAM Workshop on Open and Inclusive access to research (Taller Canada-LATAM sobre acceso abierto y equitativo a la investigación científica), Santiago de Chile, November 2020 — $25,000

Paul Vasey, Psychology, The Puzzles of Sexual Orientation & Gender Diversity Conference 2020 — $19,279

SSHRC Insight Development Grant

Julia Brassolotto, Health Sciences, Medical Assistance in Dying: Ethical and Policy issues in Southern Rural Alberta — $57,322

Jennifer Otto, Religious Studies, Remembering Anabaptist Martyrs — $23,050

SSHRC Insight Grant

Barbara Bordalejo, English, Canterbury Tales Project Phase 3: Analysis and Publication — $333,000

Inge Genee, Modern Languages and Linguistics/Indigenous Studies, Documenting contemporary and historical variation in Niitsi'powahsin (Blackfoot) — $344,779

Kent Peacock, Philosophy, Sustainability: The Symbiotic Hypothesis — $50,690

Sharon Pelech, Education, Agents in the Field: Exploring the Educational Value of Place-Conscious Pedagogy — $129,602

Janet Youngdahl, Music, Singing all the names of the Prairie Crocus: Building a women's vocal ensemble with an ear to the ground and a heart for relationships — $93,224

(Co-Applicant) Yale Belanger, Political Science, Organisational Changes to Address Homelessness: Lessons Learned from 3 Mid-sized Canadian Cities — U of L portion TBD

(Co-Applicant) Feng Jiao, Dhillon School of Business, Forward Premium Puzzle, International Stock Returns, and Heterogeneous Beliefs — U of L portion TBD

SSHRC Partnership Development Grant

Dan O’Donnell, English, Good things come in small packages: A grassroots Community of Practice for Open and FAIR humanities data practices — $200,000

SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant

Debra Basil, Dhillon School of Business, Communicating effectively with new Latino immigrants — $25,000