Western lands nine new CRCs among latest round

VICTORIA, B.C. ― Western will be home to 12 new and renewed Canada Research Chairs (CRC) whose work will have an impact on health care and economies terrestrially, as well as the cosmos celestially, as Kristy Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced 346 positions at 52 institutions across Canada today.

“Our government recognizes that when our institutions better reflect the diversity of Canada, science and research are stronger and their impacts on the lives of Canadians are more profound,” Duncan said. “I am encouraged to see improved equity, diversity and inclusion among our CRCs and look forward to seeing how their unique perspectives will help shape a better future for us all. I would like to thank our universities for embracing research excellence and inclusion.”

Among the nine newly named Western CRCs were:

  • Public Health Economics professor Shehzad Ali, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Tier 2, Public Health Economics;
  • Medical Biophysics professor Corey Baron, CIHR, Tier 2, Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging;
  • Biology professor Natasha Mhatre, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Tier 2, Invertebrate neurobiology;
  • Western Law professor Alan Miller, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Tier 2, Law and Economics;
  • Medical Biophysics professor Grace Parraga, CIHR, Tier 1, Lung Imaging to Transform Outcomes;
  • Biomedical Engineering professor Arghya Paul, NSERC, Tier 2, Advanced Cell-instructive Materials and Biotherapeutics;
  • Anatomy and Cell Biology professor Marco Prado, CIHR, Tier 1, Neurochemistry of Dementia;
  • Statistics and Actuarial Sciences professor Cristian D. Bravo Roman, NSERC, Tier 2, Banking and Insurance Analytics; and
  • Information and Media Studies professor Nadine Wathen, SSHRC, Tier 1, Mobilizing Knowledge on Gender-Based Violence.

Among the renewed Western CRCs were:

  • Earth Sciences professor Fred J. Longstaffe, NSERC, Tier 1, Stable Isotope Science;
  • Physics and Astronomy professor Stanimir Metchev, NSERC, Tier 2, Extrasolar Planets; and
  • Biochemistry professor Patrick O’Donoghue, CIHR, Tier 2, Chemical Biology.

The CRC program invests around $295 million per year to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds. With this announcement, there are now 1,836 Canada research chairs at universities across Canada.

“These are some of the most respected researchers whose backgrounds represent the diversity of Canada,” said Ted Hewitt, SSHRC President and CRC Program Steering Committee Chair. “Together with their Chair colleagues across the country, their contributions to research excellence across a wide variety of fields will benefit the quality of life for all Canadians and others around the world.”

This announcement builds on a vision for an equitable, diverse and inclusive research community, Duncan said. This cohort is comprised of 47 per cent women, 22 per cent visible minorities, 5 per cent persons with disabilities and 4 per cent Indigenous peoples.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) also made an investment towards these chairs. It is providing more than $5.2 million in new funding for research infrastructure, supporting 30 Chairs at 18 institutions.

“Canada has built a strong research enterprise that supports talented researchers in all disciplines,” said Roseann O’Reilly Runte, CFI President and CEO. “By working together and using state-of-the-art equipment and labs, researchers are well positioned to advance knowledge and address some of the world’s most pressing concerns.”