Celebrating Diversity in Research

Dear members of the University community / Boozhoo / Aanii / Kwe kwe,

This year’s Research Week was once again an outstanding success. The theme “Celebrating Diversity in Research” highlights the varied and unique contributions of Laurentian faculty and students, from underground to outer space, from lab bench to bedside and from classroom to community!

Promoting diversity in research compels us as a university community to address the question of representation in all disciplines and ensure that inclusive spaces and pathways open to all ways of knowing and learning.

Research Week featured keynote addresses by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Kim Rudd, and Dr. Ted Hewitt, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We saw the unveiling of the research video and launch of the latest edition of our research magazine, The Key. It featured 10 faculty and student-led symposia and fora, 57 presentations by graduate students, 20 3-minute thesis competition presentations, 32 submissions to the ICEBATS art show and 3 pitches to the Voyageurs’ Innovation Challenge.

Governors Claude Lacroix, Peter Faggioni and Ian Wood, as well as numerous researchers, faculty, staff and students attended the various events held during the week – a big thank you to all who joined us, whether in person or video stream. There were many new events this year, including:

  • A multi-site Health Research Day developed in collaboration with Health Sciences North, the Sudbury and District Health Unit and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine;
  • An Industry event which featured representatives from the Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC), Vale Living with Lakes, the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH), the Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO), the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Services Association (SAMSAA) and Expert Process Solutions (XPS) to discuss the opportunities for Industry-University collaboration;
  • A Science North Science Café addressing the ways in which we can attract and support a diverse scientific workforce.

One of the best things about Research Week is that it allows the university community to celebrate the outstanding achievements of faculty and students. Congratulations to all recipients who were recognized during the March 3rd closing ceremonies. A complete list is available here.

Highlights for me included listening to alumna Dr. Sylvie Lamoureux, now Vice-Dean of Undergradaute Studies at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ottawa, deliver a keynote presentation on her research as part of the Faculty of Education’s first research symposium. I was impressed by student presentations at the Voyageurs’ Innovation Challenge, which was inspired by the television show “Dragons’ Den” and for which I had the pleasure to serve as master of ceremony. I learned a lot from fellow panellists Elder Hilda Nadjiwan, Susan Manitowabi (Indigenous Relations) and Dr. Celeste Pedri-Spade (Northern and Community Studies) as we discussed Truth and Reconciliation. Finally, I was moved by the determination and accomplishments of PhD candidate Gabriel Thériault, and by the significant pride his parents shared with me at the closing ceremony.

We celebrated Laurentian’s Top 10 Research and Innovation Achievements for 2016 as determined by popular vote from the university community. The following awards were given:

  • Student Achievement – Publications in High Profile Research Journals (Nature-Heredity, PLOS one, Ecology and Evolution, Genes and Genomics, etc., Gabriel Thériault, (PhD candidate, Biology);
  • 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics;
  • Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) award, Metal Earth, $49.6 million;
  • Clifford A. Fielding Research, Innovation and Engineering Building, Laurentian University;
  • Canada’s #1 in total sponsored research income growth in the undergraduate category, Laurentian University;
  • Achievements in Indigenous Research, Laurentian University;
  • First NSERC CREATE grant at Laurentian University, Dr. Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde (Biology), Dr. David Lesbarrères (Biology), Dr. Jacqueline Litzgus (Biology), Dr. Brett Buchanan ( Environment), Dr. Gillian Crozier (Philosophy);
  • Research Chairs recruitment and renewals, Laurentian University;
  • Outstanding NSERC Granting Success, Dr. Elizabeth Turner (Harquail School of Earth Sciences);
  • Governor General Gold Medal for highest achievement in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and NSERC Doctoral Award, Justin Chamberland (MA, Psychology).

Thank you to everyone who participated in Research Week, and a special thanks to the staff in Research Services, Graduate Studies, Marketing and Communications for organizing such an outstanding week of events!

Stay tuned for next year’s Research Week!

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter. You can reach me at dominicgiroux@laurentian.ca, or can join the 12,700 people who follow me on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank you, Miigwech.

Laurentian Matters, Far and Wide

Dear members of the University community / Boozhoo / Aanii / Kwe kwe, 

Laurentian faculty, staff, and students seem to be everywhere these days.  Our faculty, our students, our research centres and our programs are garnering media attention far and wide, and I am thrilled to be celebrating all of their successes.  Members of the Laurentian community are making their mark, making a difference, and making us all proud.  Here’s a brief list of recent accomplishments in our Laurentian community:

In the North
On January 8th, we celebrated a big announcement from the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration:  a three-year funding commitment of $2.7 million for  Professions North, an important program that was started here at Laurentian University by our Faculty of Management. Since its inception in 2010, Professions North has helped more than 300 internationally trained professionals to reach their career goals by bridging education, culture and employment services, and by providing a linking service with employers.  This effort has been making a real difference in the lives of internationally-trained professionals, and in the northern communities where they are living and working.  We’re proud to play a role in this successful program.

On Parliament Hill
From January 9-12th, Laurentian students from Sudbury and Barrie took part in the 22nd annual Model Parliament. As usual, the members of Laurentian’s Political Science Association and faculty worked hard to put together a successful and memorable event and, I congratulate all of them.  I think their “political organizing” skills will certainly serve them well!  It was a privilege for me to attend again this year and to listen to our students’ impressive speeches, questions and answers! It was heartening to see our students meeting and talking politics with keen observers of the Canadian political scene, such as Chancellor Steve Paikin and Richard Madan, Parliamentary Correspondent for CTV News in Ottawa. Our Past Chair, Floyd Laughren, joined us as Governor General. You can read accounts of the student experience in this year’s Model Parliament at Lamdba.ca and at the Student Blogs page

On January 15th, the federal government announced a new International Education Strategy designed to double the number of international students in Canada by targeting China, Brazil and other fast-growing countries. The government plans to spend $5 million annually to support the program and another $13 million over two years will be spent on the Globalink program, which helps Canadian students study in other countries. This is good news for Laurentian University, where we’ve experienced strong growth in international enrolment.  As set out in our Strategic Plan, we are focussed on increasing the proportion of international students from 6.1% in 2011 to 8% by 2015.

In Ontario
On January 16th, the Honourable Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced the launch of a new Course-to-Course Transfer Guide.  This tool makes it easier for Ontario’s postsecondary students to transfer their credits among all of Ontario’s 44 publicly funded colleges and universities. Students can now enter their current transcript information, such as course codes or course titles, and they will be able to see how their credits will be recognized at other institutions prior to applying. As co-chair of the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT), I am thrilled to see this tool developed to assist students in learning about the pathways available to them.  Laurentian University continues to recognize full credit of courses taken in other universities and is #1 among Ontario universities outside the GTA in terms of college transfers.

In the Universe
Congratulations to Nigel Smith, Christina Kraus, Clarence Virtue and everyone at SNOLab for the wonderful feature that aired on January 20th on PBS News Hour.  The program brought viewers inside “one of the most sophisticated particle physics observatories in the world,” and introduced the enormous PBS audience across the United States and abroad to SNOLab, Laurentian University and Sudbury.  Bravo!

The Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) was awarded an exceptional distinction on January 22nd, when the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology) announced winners of the Business-led Networks of Centres of Excellence (BL-NCE) program. At the Minister’s announcement in Sudbury on January 22nd, CEMI was awarded $15 million for its Ultra-Deep Mining Network proposal, making it the largest grant recipient of the 2014 competition.  Amazing news for our colleagues at CEMI. I am proud to serve as Chair of CEMI this year.

And Still More Kudos!
Congratulations to our own Tracy Oost, Forensic Scientist and Continuity Officer, whose Titanic research continues to gain attention and wide recognition.  Tracy was interviewed recently on the flagship CBC Radio program As it Happens (39:00), as well as CBC Sudbury and Radio New Zealand National.  She has become a leading name in a fascinating field of research, and her work has helped to unravel long-standing mysteries surrounding the tragedy of the Titanic.

Dr. Amadeo Parissenti, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Laurentian also made headlines this month with breakthrough developments in cancer treatment.  Dr. Parissenti will also be featured on the cover of University Affairs magazine in March.  We are tremendously proud of the work he is doing in helping to improve the quality of life of women with breast cancer.

Laurentian Mechanical Engineering students took home top honours in the Senior Design category at the Ontario Engineering Competition.  Congratulations Richard Lapointe, Justin Gaudet, Nathan Mathias and Mitch Andryechen who will be representing Ontario at the 2014 Canadian Engineering Competition in London, March 13-16.

Research Week is February 3-7th. There is a series of events throughout the week to learn more about the work being done at Laurentian University by our faculty and graduate students.  Click here for the complete agenda.

On February 13th, bidders with an eye for a well-designed ice-fishing hut will be attending a first-of-its-kind auction in support of the Laurentian School of Architecture.  As part of their design/build program of study, our first-year architecture students have been creating ice huts – and without giving too much away, we understand that there are some pretty amazing designs out there!  Perhaps one of these huts will be seen on a lake in your neighbourhood during the current ice-fishing season. The auction will be held at Science North in the Vale Cavern on Thursday, February 13, 6:00-9:00 pm.  Good fishing, everyone.

Also coming up:
On March 6, 2014, the Peter Goring lecture series welcomes the Honourable Bob Rae, who will speak on “Mining and First Nations: Sustainability is the Only Option.” Mr. Rae will share his thoughts on “sustainability” as a critical principle of first nations thinking, and how it relates not only to the land, water, and air, but also to the sustainability of people and communities.  This is sure to be a very popular lecture.  Stay tuned to www.laurentian.ca for further details about this event.

As always, I welcome comments on the blog or any other matter: you can reach me at dominicgiroux@laurentian.ca, or you can join the 6,800 people who follow me on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn.

Merci, Thank You, Miigwetch.