Seventeen McGill researchers honoured with prestigious Canada Research Chairs

McGill awarded $10.9 million in federal funding through Canada Research Chairs Program
All Canada Research Chairs are awarded this distinctive pin

On June 14, the Government of Canada announced $693.8 million in funding for discovery and applied research, including $94.5 million for the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program to support 121 new and renewed chair holders at 39 postsecondary institutions across the country. Seven new and 10 renewed Canada Research Chairs were announced for McGill, representing a total research investment of $10.9 million.

Established in 2000 and investing approximately $311 million annually to recruit and retain world-class researchers in the fields of engineering, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences, the Canada Research Chairs Program is a tri-agency initiative of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

McGill’s latest cohort of seventeen CRCs are working across disciplines, including pioneering work in multi-messenger astrophysics, and developing cutting-edge genetic engineering techniques that treat neurodevelopmental disorders.

“The Canada Research Chairs Program, supported by the Government of Canada, is instrumental in driving groundbreaking research at McGill that significantly impacts the well-being of Canadians and people globally,” said Christopher Manfredi, Provost and Vice-President (Academic). “I applaud the seventeen newly appointed and renewed Canada Research Chairs at McGill, whose dedication to research excellence and mentorship of future scholars make them highly deserving of these prestigious roles.”

There are two types of Canada Research Chairs: Tier 1 Chairs, awarded to outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields, are valued at $200,000 annually for seven years with one opportunity for renewal; Tier 2 Chairs, valued at $120,000 annually for five years and renewable only once at a value of $100,000 annually, are for exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field.

Pioneering research in linguistics, energy, and chronic illnesses

Linguists today increasingly rely on mathematically precise computational models to determine how people understand, learn, and use language. Morgan Sonderegger of the Department of Linguistics, co-Director of the Montréal Computational & Quantitative Linguistics Lab at McGill, and newly appointed CRC in Speech Variability, has already developed innovative insights and software with practical applications in speech technology, the study of endangered language, and treatments for communication disorders. Now, he and his team are creating datasets to map speech variability across languages and speakers, with the aim to produce crucial data for interpreting fundamental aspects of human communication.

The increasing frequency of extreme weather events and the growing use of clean but intermittent energy sources like solar and wind pose significant challenges to the resilience of Canada’s power grids. Xiaozhe Wang of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and newly appointed CRC in Resilient and Stable Zero-Emission Electric Power Grids, is finding innovative methods to improve the ability of power systems to withstand and recover from unexpected events or challenges. Ultimately, Wang and her team’s work will help Canada develop robust net-zero electric grids by 2050. In 2023, Wang received the inaugural Rubin & So Foundation Faculty Scholar Award from the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design.

Among the renewed Chairs is Sylvie Lambert, CRC in Illness Self-Management Support Interventions for Patients and their Family Caregivers. Lambert is an Associate Professor at the Ingram School of Nursing and a principal scientist at St. Mary’s Research Centre, part of the Montréal West Island Integrated University Health and Social Services Centre. With a background in nursing, her research focuses on supporting caregivers of cancer patients and individuals with chronic illnesses by developing and evaluating low-cost, sustainable self-care and illness self-management interventions. Lambert recently received a $300,000 grant from the Canadian Cancer Society to improve communication between clinicians and cancer patients from diverse cultural and linguistical backgrounds. She also secured $760,000 in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for an online coping and exercise program for men with prostate cancer and their caregivers.

McGill’s 2023-1 round of CRC recipients:

  • Allen Ehrlicher, Canada Research Chair in Biological Mechanics, NSERC, Tier 2 (Renewal)
  • Daiva Nielsen, Canada Research Chair in Ingestive Behaviour, NSERC, Tier 2 (New)
  • Daryl Haggard, Canada Research Chair in Multi-Messenger Astrophysics, NSERC, Tier 2 (Renewal)
  • Etienne Vachon-Presseau, Canada Research Chair in Chronic Pain, CIHR, Tier 2 (New)
  • Guojun Chen, Canada Research Chair in Biomaterials and Biomacromolecule Delivery, NSERC, Tier 2 (New)
  • Mabel Carabali, Canada Research Chair in Methods to Address Health Inequalities, CIHR, Tier 2 (New)
  • Marc Martel, Canada Research Chair in Chronic Pain, Mental Health, and Opioid Use, CIHR, Tier 2 (Renewal)
  • Mathieu Roy, Canada Research Chair in Brain Imaging of Experimental and Chronic Pain, CIHR, Tier 2 (Renewal)
  • Melissa McKinney, Canada Research Chair in Ecological Change and Environmental Stressors, NSERC, Tier 2 (Renewal)
  • Morgan Sonderegger, Canada Research Chair in Speech Variability, SSHRC, Tier 2 (New)
  • Nathalie Tufenkji, Canada Research Chair in Biocolloids and Surfaces, NSERC, Tier 1 (Renewal)
  • Niladri Basu, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Health Sciences, NSERC, Tier 1 (New)
  • Shane Sweet, Canada Research Chair in Participation, Well-Being, and Physical Disability, SSHRC, Tier 2 (Renewal)
  • Sylvie Lambert, Canada Research Chair in Illness Self-Management Support Interventions for Patients and their Family Caregivers, CIHR, Tier 2 (Renewal)
  • Xiaoqian Chai, Canada Research Chair in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, CIHR, Tier 2 (Renewal)
  • Xiaozhe Wang, CRC in Resilient and Stable Zero-Emission Electric Power Grids, NSERC, Tier 2 (New)
  • Yang Zhou, Canada Research Chair in Genetic Engineering for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, CIHR, Tier 2 (Renewal)

 

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