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‘The next level’

More than $6-million federal investment for Memorial University research and discovery

By Jeff Green

From critical games and waste management to soil health and climate change, Memorial University scholars and scientists now have more than $6 million to delve deeper into their research.

It’s part of a significant investment announced by the Government of Canada on March 13 by Pablo Rodriguez, minister of Transport of Canada and Quebec lieutenant, on behalf of François-Philippe Champagne, minister of Innovation, Science and Industry and Mark Holland, minister of Health to support leading-edge researchers and future leaders, allowing them to collaborate and develop new ideas.

More than $1.7 billion was announced for researchers and students.

Check back to the Gazette for future stories highlighting several Memorial researchers and projects benefitting from this support.

‘Inspiring work’

“Today we celebrate the inspiring work of our incredibly talented researchers and their teams,” said Dr. Tana Allen, vice-president (research). “The ongoing support of the federal government allows our researchers to be innovative as they seek solutions to global problems and provide essential training for the next generation. Through their exciting projects, these recipients are asking tough questions, creating new knowledge and taking a closer look at important matters. Warmest congratulations to those receiving support as you take your projects to the next level.”

Researchers based in the faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences, Engineering and Applied Science, Medicine and Science, the schools of Music, Science and the Environment, Pharmacy and Graduate Studies, and the Marine Institute are among those sharing the funding for projects that are underway.

Included in the announcement is funding from the Canada Research Chairs Program; the Canada Foundation for Innovation; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grants; and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Alliance Grants; and student scholarships and fellowships.

‘Model of success’

“Seeing the number and quality of applications from students and post-doctoral research fellows for research funding this past cycle was inspiring,” said Dr. Amy Warren, associate vice-president (academic) and dean, School of Graduate Studies. “With many of them ultimately getting awarded research funding, it is further evidence of their outstanding skills as researchers and as leaders within Memorial. We are fortunate to have these researchers choose Memorial and they are a model of success in research graduate programs. The team at the School of Graduate Studies collectively congratulates all the recipients on their awards.”

Read on to see the complete list of Memorial’s researchers who are receiving funding.

Canada Research Chairs Program

Four researchers have been named new or renewed Canada Research Chairs.

  • Dr. Octavia Dobre, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, is appointed the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Ubiquitous Connectivity.
  • Dr. Harris Berger, School of Music and cross-appointed to the Department of Folklore, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, continues as the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Ethnomusicology. He was initially appointed in 2016.
  • Dr. Hai Nguyen, School of Pharmacy, continues as the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Health Policy Evaluation and Health Care Sustainability. He was initially appointed in 2018.
  • Dr. Nicholas Welch, Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, continues as the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Change, Adaptation and Revitalization of Indigenous Languages. He was first appointed in 2018.

Tier 1 chairs are tenable for seven years, renewable once and valued at $200,000 annually for seven years.

Tier 2 chairs, tenable for five years and renewable once, are valued at $100,000 annually for five years.

Canada Foundation for Innovation

John R. Evans Leaders Fund, affiliated with the Canada Research Chairs Program

  • Dr. Octavia Dobre, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Advanced Aerial Communications, Sensing and Computing Laboratory (A2CSCL), $78,655

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Insight Development Grants

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Dr. Sarah Thorne, Department of English, Between Theory and Play: Critical Games as Critical Media Theory, $38,462
  • Dr. Sean McGrath, Department of Philosophy, European and Asian Environmental Aesthetics: A Critical Comparison, $59,393

Total: $97,855

Faculty of Medicine

  • Dr. Desai Shan, Division of Community Health and Humanities, Safety on Board British Columbia Tugboats: Improving Safety for Seafarers and Their Families, $69,512
  • Dr. Atanu Sarkar, Division of Community Health and Humanities, Exploring current consumption and sustainability of waste management: a pilot study, $75,000

Total: $144,512

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

Alliance Grants

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

  • Dr. Syed Imtiaz, Department of Process Engineering, Advanced control solution for managed pressure drilling system, $108,000

Total: $108,000

Faculty of Science

  • Dr. Karl Jobst, Department of Chemistry, Waters & Wellington: Gas chromatography x cyclic ion mobility mass spectrometry: a novel platform that will accelerate the creation of halogenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon reference materials, $75,000
  • Dr. Kim Welford, Department of Earth Sciences, Continuously evolving Newfoundland offshore model, $192,000
  • Dr. Stephen Piercey, Department of Earth Sciences, Geology, mineralogy, lithogeochemistry, and genesis of mineralization in the Silurian Whisker Valley Cu-Au system, Newfoundland Appalachians, $126,050

Total: $393,050

Grenfell Campus

School of Science and the Environment

  • Dr. Adrian Unc, BioSoil-North: Local solutions for soil health resilience and mitigation of GHG, $878,854

Total: $878,854

Marine Institute

Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development

  • Dr. Deepika Dave, OFI SF7 Exploration and Preservation of the Nutritional Value and Bioactive Compounds of Atlantic Seaweed Species, $30,000

Total: $30,000

Student Scholarships and Fellowships

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

  • Roshni Caputo-Nimbark, Making Common Space Commonplace: Queering Economy through Cooperative Home Gardening in Rural Newfoundland, Doctoral Awards, $40,000
  • Tori B. Carter, Exploring Sport Officials Mental Health in Canada, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Abigale Coad, Reimagining a Northern Housing System: A Case Study of the Partnership between the K’asho Got’ine Housing Society and Housing NWT, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Laura Couturier, A Longitudinal Study of Weight Stigma and Health-Related Behaviours in Young Adulthood: The Role of Shame, Social Safeness and Self-Compassion, Doctoral Awards, $80,000
  • Julia Craig, Experiences of Female Infertility Among Indigenous People in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Molly K. Downey, Educator Attitudes and Preferences Toward Teaching Cannabis Education in the Classroom, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Natasha Farrell, Star-Dust in Hollywood: Jan and Cora Gordon’s Multimedia Portraits of America’s Dream Factory, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral, $105,000
  • Brianna E. George, The Mental Well-Being of Indigenous Women: Socioeconomic Factors and Help-Seeking Behaviors, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Brooke B. Hiscock, Uncovering the Barriers: Stigma and Misidentification of Relationship Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Sherry A. Hucklebridge, Speakers and Possibilities: Conceptualizations of the Future in Dene Languages, SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowships, $45,000
  • Sarah D. Kuehn, Bivalves as Proxies for Palaeoenvironment, Seasonality, and Harvest Intensity on the Pacific Northwest Coast, Doctoral Awards, $60,000
  • Maureen M.S. Levangie, Sensitivity as Epistemology: The Role of Sensitivity in Midwifery Care in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Courtney A. Loveless, An Examination into the Role of Dyadic Coping and Posttraumatic Growth in Sexual Passion for Couples with Adverse Childhood Experiences, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Megan MacKinnon, The Encoded Memories of a Changing Climate: A 2000 Year Multi-Disciplinary Analysis of Crassostrea virginia in an Atlantic Canadian Context, Doctoral Awards, $80,000
  • Hannah McLean, Transgender/Non-Binary Supports for Homelessness in Canada, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Sadie L. Mees, Women’s Unpaid Labour in Rural Newfoundland Communities, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Kerri Mozessohn, Grandma Doesn’t Need to Know: Measuring Support from Friends and Family for Identifying as a Recovering Addict, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Amy J. Parsons, Exploring the Experiences of Psychiatric Weaponization Among Alberta’s Frontline Healthcare Workers who Have Disclosed Psychiatric Diagnoses in the Workplace – An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, Doctoral Awards, $60,000
  • Emma J.S. Rossiter, LGBTQ Communities and Organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador, 1974-1985, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Emily C. L. Rowe, Directed Education on Cannabis for Youth Decision Empowerment (DECYDE): Developing a Tool for Evaluating Cannabis Health Literacy in Grades 4-6, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Rosemarie Singh, Learning and teaching social justice in online social work education, Doctoral Awards, $20,000
  • Micheal Taylor, Prison Turned Inside Out: Interpreting probation work in Canada, Doctoral Awards, $80,000
  • Simon T. Taylor, ‘Life is a Field of Honour’: Literary and Biographical Adventurism of Sir Wilfred Grenfell and his Mission, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Avery S. Velez, Apaja’tunej Maqamikew eteg Tskinuk Ktaqmkuk: Land Back in Western Newfoundland, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Sarah M.E. Worthman, Far Right Flirtations: How Mainstream Centre-Right Parties Encourage Far-Right Violence, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500

Total: $850,000

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council

  • Kyla Funk, Using a conservation behaviour framework to interrogate the intersection of contraception-induced changes to habitat selection and sociality in a hyperabundant species, Postgraduate Scholarships – Doctoral Awards, $63,000
  • Matthew Gill, The Carbon Sequestration and Mineralization Potential of Ultramafic Rocks, Postgraduate Scholarships – Doctoral Awards, $63,000
  • Robyn Latimer, Approaches to regional estimation of methane emissions from oil and gas operations, Canada Graduate Scholarships — Doctoral program, $105,000
  • Kira Randall, Fatty Acid Modulation of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) Splenic Macrophage-like Cell Lipid Metabolism, Eicosanoid Synthesis, Function, and Gene Expression in Response to Simulated, Postgraduate Scholarships – Doctoral, $63,000
  • Mikhailey Wheeler, Synthesis and recycling of plastic made from carbon dioxide, Postgraduate Scholarships – Doctoral, $105,000

Total: $399,000

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

  • Shona Campbell, Mechanism of chemotherapyinduced inhibition of wakepromoting orexin neurons: implications for chemotherapyinduced fatigue, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Hiliary Hasan, Alcohol use disorder in Newfoundland and Labrador: exploring primary care providers screening practices, diagnosis and pharmacologic management, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Grant Kelly, Assessing the mechanisms behind, and human relevance of, an observed adipocyteinduced partial mesenchymaltoepithelilal transition in triple negative breast cancer cells, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Evan Mackenzie, AGEility: Mapping the age-related changes in corticospinal tract integrity and lower limb functioning, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500
  • Grace Mercer, Understanding the effects of neuroprotective agents to prevent brain injury from preterm birth, Canada Graduate Scholarships – Master’s, $17,500

Total: $87,500

A number of other Memorial researchers are co-applicants, collaborators and partners on other projects that received support. In addition to those noted above, other recipients received awards for future study at another university.


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