A McGill professor and a McGill alumna were among seven researchers, academic and business leaders from across Canada recognized on Wednesday by Mitacs, a national, not-for-profit research and training organization, for their innovative efforts to transform the lives of Canadians. Professor Xue (Steve) Liu, from the School of Computer Science, and Justine Behan, a recent graduate of the Ingram School of Nursing, were each recognized with Mitacs Awards. The annual awards honour the work of outstanding participants in Mitacs’ research and training programs. The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, gave remarks at the event celebrating the exceptional researchers.
Professor Liu was awarded the Mitacs Professor Award for Outstanding Leadership for his commitment, outstanding leadership, and exceptional talent to merge industry with academic research. Through a Mitacs project with Aerial Technologies, a Montreal-based artificial intelligence company, Professor Liu led a group of graduate students on the research and development of device-free, human activity recognition technologies using standard Wi-Fi signals. The research achievements contributed largely to the establishment and growth of Aerial Technologies, and helped the company raise more than two million dollars in funding to accelerate the commercialization of their technologies.
Justine Behan, a graduate of the Ingram School of Nursing and a research assistant for McGill’s Views on Interdisciplinary Childhood Ethics (VOICE) research team was awarded the Mitacs Master’s Award for Outstanding Innovation. While a student at McGill, Ms. Behan conducted an ethnographic study aimed at improving the lives of children living with cancer in India. Her work involved collecting data at three different study sites in New Delhi to better understand how young cancer patients participate in health-related decisions. Ms. Behane’s project provided much-needed empirical findings to spearhead childhood ethics research in India. She was the recipient in 2016 of a Mitacs Globalink Research Award, which provides funding to support senior undergraduate and graduate student research projects abroad.
“The annual Mitacs Awards celebrate the some of the very best people in Canadian research and innovation,” said the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science. “This event allows us to recognize their outstanding leadership and achievements that pave the way to new discoveries, innovations, and opportunities. I want to congratulate all of the students receiving this year’s awards and I look forward to their many future successes in science.”
Listen to the interview Justine Behan did on CBC’s Home Run.