You are now in the main content area

Laurentian University Celebrates SSHRC Insight Grant Success


Laurentian University is pleased to announce that three of its researchers have been awarded Insight Grants through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). This year, three outstanding researchers from Philosophy, Speech Pathology and Social Work, have been awarded a total of $291,024 of new funding to support research, student training and knowledge mobilization. 

Insight Grants support research excellence in the social sciences and humanities, supporting long-term research initiatives that are central to advancing knowledge and addressing complex issues pertaining to individuals and societies, and to further our collective understanding.

Congratulations to the lead researchers, co-applicants, collaborators and students involved in these exciting multidisciplinary and highly collaborative projects!


1. Gilles Deleuze and Cosmology 

Pictured: PI Alain Beaulieu

Research team: Alain Beaulieu (Philosophy, Laurentian), Janae Sholtz (Philosophy, Alvernia USA), Gennady Chitov and Ubi Wichoski (Physics, Laurentian), Martin Boucher (PhD Human Studies, Laurentian)
Duration of award: 2018-2023
Amount awarded: $70,800

Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) is one of the few contemporary philosophers who incorporated cosmological questioning into their thought, thus renewing an old and partly lost way of seeing philosophy's task. The objective of this research is to explain the role of cosmology in Deleuze's thought and better understand his redefinition of traditional transcendent cosmologies (which speculate on the laws of organization and ontological superiority of heavens) in favor of an immanent experience of the world and the universe (which makes of the geodynamic and “cosmic” Earth an object of philosophical investigation). 

Interdisciplinary research is the first exhaustive inquiry into the subject. It addresses the cosmological aspects of Deleuze's thought from four complementary perspectives: philosophy, science, art, and ethics; and poses the questions: What are the possible applications of Deleuze's cosmological theories in anthropocene studies? What answers could Deleuze provide to the recent challenges faced by scientific cosmology? How can cosmic art help overcome capitalist forces that threaten to overwhelm art practices? What are the practical challenges posed by Deleuze's cosmological ethics? 

The research provides students and HQP with opportunities to develop individual projects within the research theme. Laurentian University in Sudbury is uniquely situated to undertake this project not only owing to the presence of Aboriginal people who share a deep concern for cosmological matters, but also because the city offers an ideal infrastructure to ensure the project's successful completion. Research partners include: Doran Planetarium, Sudbury Astronomy Club, SNOLAB (Sudbury), Bibliothèque du Saulchoir and IMEC (France). The research results will be of interest not only to philosophers, but also to physicists, art historians, and contemporary artists. 


2. The early identification of children at risk of developmental language disorders using validated parent questionnaires: a partnered approach to childhood well-being 

Pictured: PI Roxanne Bélanger

Research team: Dr. Roxanne Bélanger (Orthophonie, Laurentian), Dr. Chantal Mayer-Crittenden (Orthophonie, Laurentian), Dr. Michèle Minor-Corriveau (Orthophonie, Laurentian) & Dr. Pascal Lefebvre (Orthophonie, Laurentian)
Duration of award: 2018-2023
Amount awarded: $99,400

A role for parental report in the evaluation of language has been long established for toddlers and preschool children. Parent reports are being increasingly used as a screening measure because parents have extensive experience with their children under a wide variety of naturalistic situations. However, the identification of preschool children with developmental language disorders (DLD) is a complex task. This is due to the fact that early language development varies widely; that at a surface level, delays in many children seem to resolve; and that current tools’ lack adequate sensitivity and specificity for predicting longer-term problems.

To date, only a few studies have examined the interaction of risk factors from multiple developmental domains on development. Taken together, the conclusions imply that examining language development requires a holistic and interactionist view, combining multiple sources of information and monitoring them over time in order to determine patterns of operating factors.

Our objective is to determine if a battery of valid parent-reported questionnaires measuring robust predictors of DLD is as accurate as a standardized speech-language evaluation in determining those children that are at risk for DLD. We also aim to determine the optimal ages and frequency for screening.


3. Evaluating decision-making and relationship competence when reporting suspected child abuse and neglect

Pictured: PI Lea Tufford

Research team: Dr. Lea Tufford (Social Work, Laurentian), Dr. Barbara Lee (UBC), Dr. Elizabeth F. Wenghofer (School of Rural and Northern Health, Laurentian), Professor Marion C. Bogo (University of Toronto)
Duration of award: 2018-2021
Amount awarded: $120,824

The study examines the decision-making processes of social workers in the mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect and how social workers maintain the relationship with the family to provide psycho-social support to address conditions contributing to maltreatment. This grant builds upon previous work by Dr. Tufford’s research team in developing a comprehensive educational toolkit to train social work students and practitioners. The final stage in the educational toolkit is the development of performance and reflection scales to capture the procedural and meta-competencies specific to the mandatory reporting of child maltreatment. This project will develop the scales, test their reliability and validity, and compare the educational toolkit with intervention and matched comparison groups. The completed educational toolkit will include lecture, reflection questions, case study, conceptual framework, group discussion, a best practice video demonstration, and performance and reflection scales to implement an Objective Structured Clinical Examination. The toolkit will be fully accessible through electronic format. 

Laurentian University Research Assistants will play key roles in the success of this study as they participate in an innovative project to develop and study a new educational assessment approach. Students will enhance their research capabilities and professional training through communication, coordination, and dissemination activities.  

This research potentiates more effective and collaborative relationships between social work practitioners and child protection workers. Results could inform key components of that relationship and how these two professions can work in tandem for the betterment of the family. The research could also lead to more cooperative relationships between child protection workers and their clients in terms of enhanced communication towards a family with which they are engaged.