Singh, Young earn 2015 Hellmuth Prize

Western professors Shiva Singh (Biology) and Robert Young (Political Science) have been awarded the 2015 Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research. The honour recognizes faculty members with outstanding international reputations for their contributions in research – one of the defining hallmarks of a university. Two prizes are offered annually, one in the area broadly defined as the natural sciences and engineering, one in the social sciences and humanities.

This year’s awards ceremony and lectures will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, in the Arts & Humanities Building, Room 1R40. A reception will follow at 4 p.m. in the International and Graduate Affairs Building Atrium.


Robert Young, Political Science

Over the course of his career, Political Science professor Robert Young has not only made multiple field-defining achievements in Political Science, but he has also dedicated himself to becoming one of Canada’s most prominent public intellectuals regarding issues of secession, in the context of both Quebec and, most recently, Scotland.

Young has also made several important contributions to policy debates surrounding issues of free trade policy and multilevel governance. It is the rare combination of his work on the public stage and his continuously innovative academic research that has distinguished his research enterprise and defined Young as an internationally renowned political scientist.

“Robert Young has not only helped shape the field of Political Science with his exceptional academic work, he has also vividly left his mark in the public sphere,” said Andrew Nelson, associate dean of research in Social Science. “His lasting legacy and the influence his work has made, has greatly enriched and contributed to not only academia, but also the cultural and political landscape of Canada.”

Young’s academic achievements in the field include securing more than $3.3 million in research funding, almost unparalleled in the field of political science in Canada. He has made exceptional use of his high level of grant funding, and a testament to this fact is he has written 91 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, the majority of which have appeared in the most prestigious journals and anthologies in his field.

Young will deliver his Hellmuth Prize Lecture, Nurturing Research, at the April 22 event.


Shiva Singh, Biology

Biology professor Shiva Singh has shown great vision and persistence in advancing his research, using the innovative perspectives and technological advances of the genomic era. His research program in the area of genetics, epigenetics and neurogenomics seeks to understand the factors involved in complex multi-factorial diseases including fetal alcohol syndrome and schizophrenia.

Singh’s area of research is challenging given the difficulty in identifying causal genes, mutations and mechanisms for such diseases when the genes are many, their individual effects small and their impact modified by environmental factors, said Charmaine Dean, dean of Science.

“His service work in the Canadian genetics community, national granting agencies and university is commendable,” said Dean, noting Singh established, and continues to support, one of the strongest undergraduate genetics program in Canada. “He has been visionary and persistent in placing his research program ahead of his peers and laying a solid foundation. His contributions to research and the achievements of his students have been recognized nationally and internationally.”

Singh’s approach has been highly successful, producing more than 200 peer-reviewed papers in top journals, generating more than $15 million in research funds and training 122 researchers at the undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral levels. In addition, he has supervised more than 70 undergraduate research students in the last 10 years.

Singh will deliver his lecture, Four decades in genetics … we have come a long way!, at the April 22 event.

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Previous winners of the Hellmuth Prize for Achievement in Research include:

1997 – Alan Davenport, Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Ian Steele, History;

1998 – William Fyfe, Earth Sciences, and Tom Lennon, Philosophy;

1999 – Michael Bancroft, Chemistry, and David Laidler, Economics;

2000 – Richard Puddephatt, Chemistry, and Regna Darnell, Anthropology;

2001 – Michael Locke, Biology, and Tilottama Rajan, English;

2002 – Grant McFadden, Microbiology and Immunology, and Angela Esterhammer, Modern Languages and Literatures;

2003 – Peter Norton, Chemistry, and Marilyn Randall, French Studies;

2004 – Robert Hegele, Medicine & Biochemistry, and David Bentley, English;

2005 – Ian Mitchell, Physics, and Richard Vernon, Political Science;

2006 – Mel Goodale, Psychology and Physiology and Pharmacology, and Joy Parr, Faculty of Information and Media Studies;

2007 – William Fisher, Psychology, and Rajni Patel, Electrical and Computer Engineering;

2008 – Aaron Fenster, Robarts Research Institute, Schulich, and Patrick Mahon, Visual Arts;

2009 – Brian Feagan, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and John Whalley, Economics;

2010 – Gregor Reid, Lawson Health Research Institute, and Heather Laschinger, Health Sciences;

2011 – Ann Chambers, Lawson Health Research Institute, and Michael Groden, English;

2012 – John Meyer, Psychology, and Terry Peters, Medical Imaging and Medical Biophysics;

2013 – Paul Beamish, Ivey Business School, and Adrian Owen, Psychology; and

2014 – Stewart Harris, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, and Charles Weijer, Arts & Humanities