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Top 10 Research and Innovation Achievements


Top Research and Innovation Achievements of 2019

1. Dr. Mélanie Perron, in collaboration with the University of Moncton, transformed her collaborative research into a book for children entitled “Emotions: how to explain them better”. So far, 500 copies of the book have been distributed to help promote the development in young francophone children of the understanding of emotions.

2. Dr. Chantal Mayer-Crittenden started The Parlé Podcast where she hosts a bevy of guests on the topic of communication at large.

3. Dr. Celeste Pedri-Spade received Laurentian University’s first New Frontiers in Research Fund grant for her research project repatriating children’s artwork to Indian Residential School and Day School survivors in Anishinabe and Algonquin territory.

4. Dr. Nancy Young and Ms. Mary Jo Wabano are co-leading a CIHR grant entitled, “Listening to Children's Voices - Promoting Indigenous Mental Wellness (I aM Well).”  This 5-year grant is worth $1.5 million and is one of only two applications that were successful in the National competition.

5. In 2019, Dr. Joey-Lynn Wabie received a SSHRC Connection grant to support outreach activities in the area of reconciliation, bringing forward the voices of Indigenous youth (aged 16-
29) from communities across Ontario. 

6. The Workplace Simulation Laboratory (W-SIM), housed at the CROSH, has been created through successful grant applications totalling approximately $750, 000 from FedNor, NOHFC, CFI, and ORF. W-SIM is the only facility of its kind globally, and can recreate almost any northern workplace environment, within a controlled laboratory setting. Integrating: a robotic, motion platform (simulates vibration); an environmental chamber (to control temperature/humidity); a virtual reality eye-tracker (simulates workers’ surroundings); and a cardiorespiratory diagnostic system (measures human responses) – W-SIM can solve real-world, workplace problems using simulation.

7. The Wiigwam at Laurentian University is a visible reminder of Indigenous presence and lands on campus. It is a treasured community member, and one way the community has moved LU forward towards its Imagine 2023 goal of becoming a national leader in Indigenous education. Launched by LU faculty and staff, the outcome of this funded research project continues to change the landscape on campus through the sharing of Indigenous knowledge.

8. Dr. Elizabeth Turner is among a team of scientists that have discovered the world’s oldest fungus fossil to date, which dates back as far as a billion years ago. That's about half a billion years older than the previously discovered fungi.

9. Dr. James Watterson’s partnership with Sudbury Action Committee for Youth (SACY) to identify the chemical properties of street drugs.

10. Dr. Kerry McGannon was a co-author of the article, "Educating Parents of Children in Sport About Abuse Using Narrative Pedagogy" which won paper of the year (2019) from the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport.

Past Winners

  1. Dr. Émilie Pinard received Laurentian University’s first ever SSHRC Partnership Engage grant at for her project supporting the Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-Utenam Band Council in developing a project to build a centre for the transmission of Innu culture focused on youth. 
  2. Dr. Ming Cai and four students obtained a patent in Chile for their new rock bolt (Superbolt) design. It is Laurentian’s first patent in Chile and the first issued patent which names four students as co-inventors.
  3. Drs. Jennifer Walker (co-PI), Taima Moeke-Pickering, Sheila Cote-Meek, Joey-Lynn Wabie and Celeste Pedri-Spade were part of the research team behind the inaugural summer school of Ontario’s Indigenous Mentorship Network (IMN), Ontario’s first Indigenous-led health research training network. 
  4. A team of Laurentian University researchers led by Dr. Nathan Basiliko, along with Drs. John Gunn and Nadia Mykytczuk, received $1.6M from NSERC and OCE for the project entitled “Landscape Carbon Accumulation through Reductions in Emissions (L-CARE)”, aimed at tackling the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. 
  5. Dr. Tammy Eger is one of four Canadian women (from a total of 95 women representing 28 countries) to have been selected to participate in a 12-month intensive leadership program for women in STEMM entitled “Homeward Bound”, which culminates with a 3-week expedition to Antarctica.
  6. Dr. Jennifer Walker received an Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade for her project entitled “Data as Medicine: Improving population-level health information in First Nations communities in Northern Ontario.”
  7. Grace Scott, PhD candidate in Rural and Northern Health, received the Frederick Banting and Charles Best CGS – Doctoral Award, administered through the Canadian Institute of Health Research. 
  8. Dr. Luis Radford received an Honorary Provincial Education Award from the Ministry of Education for his exceptional and sustained contribution to French-language education research in Ontario. The award waspresented at the 4th edition of the forum Synergie portant sur la recherche en éducation de langue française de l'Ontario.
  9. Dr. Luckny Zephyr received First Prize AMBAR 2018 - Research and Development of the Colombian Energy Sector (Research Category) from the Association of Colombian Distributors of Electrical Energy for the paper "MAEP: A Mild- and Long-Term Tool for Hydro-Thermal Power Systems".
  10. In 2018, bachelor's and master's students in Sciences infirmières received six (6) awards for presenting quality research projects at various conferences. 

1. John A. Franklin Award

Dr. Ming Cai received the John A. Franklin Award from the Canadian Geotechnical Society, recognizing his work in rock mechanics and rock engineering aimed at improving safety and efficiency in the mining industry in Canada and around the world.

2. 2017 Annual CFA Society Toronto & Hillsdale Canadian Investment Research Award 

Dr. Kobana Abukari, with his colleague Isaac Otchere, won the 2017 Annual CFA Society Toronto & Hillsdale Canadian Investment Research Award for his paper Dominance of Hybrid Contratum Strategies over Momentum and Contrarian Strategies: Half a Century of Evidence.

3. Early Researcher Award

Dr. Nadia Mykytczuk received the Early Researcher Award, only the second in Laurentian history, from the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science for her project titled, Extracting value from environmental liabilities: using microbes to recover metals and reduce impacts from mine waste.

4. Ontario Public Health Association’s 2017 Award of Excellence

Dr. Jennifer Walker received the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA)’s 2017 Award of Excellence, in recognition of her contributions and leadership in the field of Indigenous health. Dr. Walker was also awarded $500,000 from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for her project Validation of the Canadian Indigenous Cognitive Assessment Tool in three provinces.

5. Health System Research Fund Grant

Dr. Nancy Young is the recipient of a $2 million Health System Research Fund (HSRF) grant for Health Promotion from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for her project Evaluation to Action: Integrating the Voices of Aboriginal Children. Co-leading the project is Mrs. Mary Jo Wabano, Health Services Director for Wiikwemkoong Unceeded Territory.

6. Exhibition at Noor Cultural Centre

Dr. Tammy Gaber’s exhibition of 30 original research-creation pieces and 72 informative posters at the Noor Cultural Centre in Toronto as part of the Canadian Council for Muslim Women symposium, based on the findings of her SSHRC project documenting mosques in Canada.

7. SSHRC Impact Award

Dr. Carol Kauppi received the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Award for her accomplishments in working with university and community partners to understand homelessness in northern Ontario and her research into sources of social and economic inequality and strategies for working toward social justice.

8. Master’s Program in Science Communication

Canada’s first and only comprehensive Master’s program in Science Communication in the School of the Environment created by the team lead by Dr. Chantal Barriault, including Drs. Philippa Spoel, David Pearson, Ratvinder Grewal, and Ann Pegoraro, and Science North as a partner institution.

9. #1 Undergraduate University in Total Sponsored Research Income

Laurentian University is Canada’s #1 Undergraduate University in total sponsored research income, according to Research Infosource.


The Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) launched M-CROSH, its mobile, occupational safety and health research lab, the first of its kind in Canada. The M-CROSH project is co-lead by Drs. Tammy Eger and Sandra Dorman.

10. Governor General Gold Medal for highest achievement in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and NSERC Doctoral Award, Justin Chamberland (MA, Psychology)

Justin Chamberland (MA, Psychology) received the Governor General Gold Medal for highest achievement in the Faculty of Graduate Studies along with a 3 year NSERC Doctoral Award to study at the University of Ottawa. Justin has been exemplary in his time at Laurentian with 8 publications and has conducted exceptional research on the relationship between eye movement and smile authenticity: According to his external thesis examiner, "This study (relationship between eye movement and smile authenticity) is a remarkable Master's thesis and I would like to congratulate the candidate for a fine piece of work".

9. Outstanding NSERC Granting Success, Dr. Elizabeth Turner (Harquail School of Earth Sciences)

 In 2016, Elizabeth Turner was awarded an NSERC Discovery Grant and Accelerator supplement.  The Accelerator supplement is given to less than 1% of all Discovery grantees, and is designed to provide substantial and timely resources to researchers who have a superior research program, and who show strong potential to become international leaders within their field.  Elizabeth is only the second person at Laurentian University to ever be awarded one.

8. Research Chairs recruitment and renewals

Laurentian recruited and renewed several Research Chairs in 2016. This includes the renewal of Canada Research Chairs Drs. Gillian Crozier, Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde, Robert Schinke and Zhibin Ye, the  recruitment of Dr. Jennifer Walker as Canada Research Chair, Dr. Nadia Mykytczuk as NOHFC Industry Chair, and Dr. Serge Miville as Laurentian Chair in Franco-Ontarian History.

7. First NSERC CREATE grant at LU

Dr. Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde (Biology), Dr. David Lesbarrères (Biology), Dr. Jacqueline Litzgus (Biology), Dr. Brett Buchanan (School of the Environment), Dr. Gillian Crozier (Philosophy)

CEEEC, the Centre for Evolutionary Ecology and Ecological Conservation comprised of 3 biologists (Dr. Schulte-Hostedde, Dr. Lesbarrères, Dr. Litzgus) and 2 philosophers (Dr. Buchanan, Dr Crozier) were awarded the first NSERC CREATE grant ($1.65M) in the history of Laurentian.  ReNewZoo is a unique graduate training programme bringing together the zoological community with academic ecologists and conservation biologists in order to train the next generation of conservation professionals to work seamlessly with zoos, aquariums, and other conservation organizations in Canada and globally to help them achieve their conservation goals.

6. Achievements in Indigenous Research

Laurentian University received national recognition with the establishment of the Maamwising Indigenous Research Institute, an initiative that was unanimously supported by Senate and was officially announced in late 2016. Aligning with this monumental initiative, Indigenous research activities were further enhanced by the announcement of our first-ever Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Health, Dr. Jennifer Walker and the announcement of the Advancing Indigenous Research Fund, a $100,000 strategic investment created to explore solution to the unique challenges faced by Indigenous peoples.  Each of these initiatives in 2016 demonstrates excellence in one of Laurentian’s strategic priorities.

5. Canada’s #1 in total sponsored research income growth in the undergraduate category

Research Infosource, Canada's Source of R&D Intelligence, reported that Laurentian University was Canada's #1 in total sponsored research income growth in the undergraduate university category in 2016.

4. Clifford A. Fielding Research, Innovation and Engineering Building

The total project costs of this state-of-the art building were supported in part by a joint federal-provincial investment of $27.3M as well as a private donation from the Fielding family of $3M.   This is significant as the new RIE Building is the largest infrastructure announcement in Laurentian’s 56-year history.  It will add 47,000 square feet to support the expansion of much needed research and innovation space on campus and will play an important role in driving growth and innovation in our community.

3. Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) award - Metal Earth, $49.6M

This was the largest funding announcement in Laurentian University’s history!  Metal Earth is a success story that will transform our understanding of Earth’s evolution and make Canada a world leader in metal endowment research.  This $104M investment in an applied R&D program led by Laurentian scientists will translate to world-class innovation through open source delivery of new knowledge.

2. 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

"The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics is awarded by the Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation, an organization dedicated to awarding physicists involved in fundamental research which was founded by Russian physicist and internet entrepreneur Yuri Milner. The 3 million USD 2016 prize was shared by five experimental neutrino physics collaborations, including the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, for "the fundamental discovery and exploration of neutrino oscillations, revealing a new frontier beyond, and possibly far beyond, the standard model of particle physics". Nineteen past and present members of the Laurentian Physics Department received a certificate, a medal, and a share of the prize money.”

1. Student Achievement - Publications in High Profile Research Journals

Nature-Heredity, PLOS one, Ecology and Evolution, Genes and Genomics, etc., Gabriel Thériault, (PhD candidate, Biology

Mr. Gabriel Theriault is a bright, active and engaging young scholar who is completing his Ph.D. in Biomolecular Sciences in Dr. K. K. Nkongolo lab. In 2016, he coauthored eight research publications and was the main author of five high profile research papers published in Nature – Heredity, PLOS one, and Genes and Genomics. He also made 3 presentations at 3 international conferences in the USA and Canada. More importantly, Mr. Theriault developed the first complete transcriptome of white birch published in PLOS One. He also discovered a bacterial gene horizontally transferred to birch species that is associated to nickel resistance. This discovery, published in Nature – Heredity was podcasted by the journal because of its significance.