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The first step

'Rewarding to see others succeed and grow,' says award winner

Research

By Jeff Green

As a kid who grew up in Edmonton, Alta., during the 1980 Oilers dynasty, Dr. Andrew Staniland says he finds inspiration in hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s famous quote: “You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.”

In fact, he wants those contemplating nominating fellow colleagues – or applying themselves – for prestigious awards and honours to consider The Great One’s sage advice.

“There is some amount of luck that comes with winning an award – it has to be the right work, judged by the right jury and at the right time – but the first step is applying or being nominated,” said Dr. Staniland, professor, composition and electronic music, School of Music.

‘Opportunities and connections’

Dr. Staniland says awards and recognition have played a large role in his career.

“This is primarily because they are a highly visible and widely accepted currency that have helped bolster my reputation as a composer on the national and international stage,” he noted during a recent conversation with the Gazette.

“The School of Music has exceptional faculty, and each and every personal accolade in turn raises its profile.” — Dr. Andrew Staniland

“Winning recognition can expose you to new audiences and new collaborators and can help create or reveal new opportunities for future projects. Given that my primary motivation is to write music, it is the opportunities and connections that can arise, as a result of an award or recognition, that are the most valuable part.”

He goes on to say that it can feel “unsettling to put yourself out there,” but you shouldn’t let the possibility of not winning keep you from trying.

“If you don’t apply, you definitely won’t win.”

As part of Research Week, Memorial is celebrating its extraordinary researchers.

High honours

Described as one of the leading composer of his generation, Dr. Staniland has established himself as one of Canada’s most important and innovative musical voices.

He has received prestigious industry awards, including JUNO nominations (2017 and 2018) and an East Coast Music Award (2018), as well as important research honours, including election to the inaugural cohort of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists in 2014.

Since joining Memorial nearly a decade ago, Dr. Staniland has received lucrative faculty awards, including the Terra Nova Young Innovator Award in 2016 and institutional honours such as the President’s Award for Outstanding Research in 2014.

As a researcher, he is well respected as the founder of MEARL – the Memorial ElectroAcoustic Research Lab — and he leads a cross-disciplinary research team that has produced the innovative Mune digital instrument.

The Technology Transfer and Commercialization Office (TTCO) facilitated Mune’s protection under industrial design followed by licensing with a commercialization partner.

In addition to the acclaim that comes with receiving awards, Dr. Staniland says the honours also raise Memorial’s national and international reputation for leading-edge research.

“High-visibility accolades do bolster my own reputation as they do the institution where I work,” he said. “The School of Music has exceptional faculty, and each and every personal accolade in turn raises its profile.”

He says researchers should consider applying for awards but it is equally – or perhaps more – important to nominate others.

“Recognizing talent in the people around you, be it colleagues, students or others in your sphere, and encouraging them to apply or, if you can, nominating them directly or supporting them through the process, is equally motivating,” he told the Gazette.

“It is rewarding to see others succeed and grow.”

This article is one of a pair of Gazette stories being published during Research Week 2019 that is aimed at encouraging more faculty nominations for prestigious institutional awards and honours, and external distinctions. If you are considering nominating a researcher – or applying yourself – and have questions about the submission process or a specific award, please contact Ellen Steinhauer or Tina Winsor.


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