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Top 10 Research and Innovation Achievements of 2016.

Announced during Research Week 2017 Closing Ceremonies.

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 University

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 Laurentian University, 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 

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, Laurentian University

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, Laurentian University

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.