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Four Researchers Awarded Insight Development Grants

2020 Insight Development Grant Project Summaries

Dr. Izabel AmaralAssistant Professor, School of Architecture, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Architecture

Co-Investigators: Dr. Jean-Pierre Chupin (University of Montreal) & Dr. Carmella Cucuzzella (Concordia University)

Grant Period: 2020-2022     

Awarded Amount: $74,983             

An Ecology of Wood Cultures in Canada (2003–2020): comparing constructive cultures through awarded architectural designs

At the intersection of architectural theory and cultural studies, this research investigates wood architecture as a symbolic universe that allows us to study the presence of nature in human culture. The diversity of expressions of quality in Canadian architecture is studied from the standpoint of environmental preoccupation, building culture and architectural expression. Considering wood architecture as a form of “cultural ecology”, it will reveal how Canadian cultures represent and symbolize their relations to the land and natural resources, as well as the cultures of its founding peoples. 

Notwithstanding the interest in wood as a major alternative to fossil fuel-based construction materials, this research will highlight the symbolic spectrum of wood buildings, which ranges from local and indigenous traditions to ecological aesthetics, representing forms of making that rely both on traditional architectural practice or recent building technologies and computer-aided design. Considering a corpus of awarded designs centred on wood as a sustainable building material, this research will evaluate exemplary (awarded) Canadian architecture of public cultural buildings and its analytical acknowledgement as a cultural practice, through a series of comparative analysis within an empirical corpus of 40 awarded projects from Ontario and Quebec, between 2003 and 2020. Results will be published in the open-access Atlas of Excellence in Architecture (, a documentation and research platform of Canadian award-winning architecture. 

Steven BeitesAssistant Professor, School of Architecture, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Architecture

Co-Investigator: Dr. Blake Dotta (Laurentian University)

Grant Period: 2020-2022     

Awarded Amount: $74,656

Architecture, Neuroscience and Technology: An Investigation into the Experiential Dimensions of the Built Environment

For centuries, architects have understood the deep connection between occupant and building, and the influence it has on our development, behavior and overall well-being. Only through experience have architects been able to develop an intuition on the importance of vistas, proportions, materials and lighting conditions to the success of enriched architectural spaces. However, the full extent of these architectural implications are unknown as such principles have remained subjective and anecdotal without the technological ability to develop research-based evidence.

The research thus begins with a theoretical and empirical investigation into the phenomenological and experiential dimensions of architecture through the lens of contemporary neuroscience. It merges neuroscientific knowledge with architectural experience as a means to offer insight into the design of spaces. Through experimentation, prototyping and research-creation activities and the use of portable sensing technologies now capable of objectively measuring changes in the brain, the research will serve to demonstrate a neurobiological basis for the understanding of human responses to the built environment as a means to further examine the potential of architecture.

Dr. Laura HallAssistant Professor, School of Indigenous Relations, Faculty of Arts
Co-Investigators: Dr. Celeste Pedri-Spade (Queen’s University) & Dr. Tanya Shute (Laurentian University)

Grant Period: 2020-2021    

Awarded Amount: $69,566

Clayworks and Creation'ing: Addressing and Ending Violence through Land and Arts­Based Learning for Indigenous Women and 2SLGBTQQIA Communities 
This project will focus on the land-based and arts-based practices of Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA People, in order to imagine and enact present and future worlds without gender-based colonial violence. The Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) provided systemic analysis of the roots of settler colonialism in the crisis of ongoing violence. We will work to make material those changes that need to occur, through clayworks and earthworks, which will include additions to the Red Dress Campaign with Jaime Black and Chrissy Isaacs, and a clay-oven workshop with Urpi Pine and Salvador Gallegos-Santinoli. Earthworks, in this sense, reframes land-based learning to include the ways that permaculture, soil, and water, all form and enrich our thoughts, our physical beings, and our movement
forward as Indigenous women in all of our diversity. The workshops will culminate in a presentation for N'Swakamok (Sudbury), Peterborough and Grassy Narrows First Nation communities. A goal of this work is to amplify the voices of Indigenous women, 2SLGBTQQIA people and our allies as we work toward preventing and ending colonial violence through land and arts-based learning. 

Dr. Kamran EshghiAssistant Professor, School of Sports Administration, Faculty of Management

Grant Period: 2020-2022    

Awarded Amount: $19,230

The Potential Impact of Adoption of Cryptocurrencies by Firms: hype or a wise investment? 

In recent years, blockchain technology has become one of the most innovative technologies and has received significant attention in academia and practice. Among blockchain applications, the most well-known is Bitcoin, which was introduced in 2008. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are one of the most used currencies in circulation. Based on the information from, as of August 5, 2020, there are more than 19,000 businesses that accept cryptocurrencies worldwide. While firms began to adopt these currencies as a method of payment, the literature on cryptocurrency and payment methods is silent on the performance outcome of such adoption. The proposed research will identify the factors that affect the adoption of cryptocurrency as a method of payment among North American firms in the past seven years. This research will also help to understand the impact of such adoption on the shareholder value of the firms who adopted different types of cryptocurrencies. The event study method will be used to calibrate the impact of cryptocurrency adoption on shareholder value. Moreover, the role of firms’ characteristics in influencing shareholder value will be investigated.
This research will advance existing knowledge on the adoption of cryptocurrencies among firms in two ways: 1) it will measure the short and long-term impact of the adoption of cryptocurrency in its different forms on the value of the North American firms, and 2) it will investigate the boundary conditions under which the successful adoption of this payment system could occur.