Queen's University

Queen's profs receive two of five Premier's Discovery Awards


Two of the five prestigious Premier’s Discovery Awards for 2009 have been won by Queen’s University researchers.

Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy, Dr. Kymlicka is one of the world’s leading experts on the role of minority rights within liberal-democratic theory. In more than 200 publications, he has explored both the theory and practice of liberal-democratic multiculturalism. Dr. Kymlicka’s expertise on issues of immigration, sub-state nationalism and indigenous peoples is widely sought by governments around the world, and his work has been translated into 31 languages.

Calling him "the world’s leading expert on multiculturalism and minority rights in democratic societies," the award citation notes that Dr. Kymlicka was the first to advance the idea that minority rights are fully consistent with the principles of individual freedom, non-discrimination and equal opportunity. "At a time when it was assumed that ethnicity would disappear as a result of modernization and secularization, rendering the issue of minority rights outdated, Dr. Kymlicka’s premise was nothing short of revolutionary," the citation states. "Today, it’s widely accepted internationally and has transformed debates about multiculturalism in democratic societies on the global stage."

 A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and of the Canada Institute for Advanced research, Dr. Kymlicka received the Killam Prize in 2004 and was awarded a prestigious Trudeau Foundation Fellowship in 2005. His work remains rooted in a commitment to understanding the Canadian experience with diversity, and he has written extensively on the historical origins and future prospects of the "Canadian model" of governing diversity.

Noting the extent to which Ontario has become much more diverse – not only by waves of immigration from around the world, but also by the voices of Aboriginals and Franco-Ontarians – Dr. Kymlicka said, “It's been a privilege to have been supported in my research efforts to understand this unique and complex story, and to consider its potential for illuminating some of the most pressing problems of the modern world. I am grateful for the opportunity that this award offers in allowing me to continue and expand my work in this field.”

Dr. Smol, who received a 2009 Killam Prize earlier this week and a 3M Teaching Fellowship in January, is Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change and is considered to be one of the world’s leading environmental scientists. Noting that Dr. Smol has spent his career studying the effects of humans and nature on aquatic ecosystems, his Discovery Award citation states: "His innovative approaches have provided important insights into acid rain, climate change, biodiversity, fisheries, contaminant transport and other lake and river management issues, and led to the development of applications for effective ecosystem management. In recognition of his outstanding scientific influence, Dr. Smol has been honoured with over 30 national and international awards, spanning the fields of biology, environmental and aquatic science."

Upon receiving this latest award, Dr. Smol said, "Working in an outstanding country, at an outstanding university and with outstanding students and colleagues, I fully acknowledge that these awards are team efforts. However, I can assure the Ontario government and the taxpayers that this new research money will be well spent. Sadly, if you work in an environmental field, there is no shortage of work and new problems to deal with. We have lots to do, and now can pursue this work even more aggressively."

Celebrating the research excellence of Ontario’s most accomplished researchers, the Discovery Awards are part of the Premier’s Innovation Awards, supporting and promoting ideas and discoveries that build on the province’s innovation strengths. Nominees are evaluated on the impact of their work and its contributions to Ontario’s economy and society, as well as the extent of their international recognition.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AWARDS, GO TO: http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/news/PIA051209_bd2.asp


Nancy Dorrance, 613-533-2869 nancy.dorrance@queensu.ca, or Jeff Drake, 613-533-2877, jeff.drake@queensu.ca Queen’s News and Media Services

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Philosophy professor Will Kymlicka is the recipient of the $250,000 award for Social Sciences, while biologist John Smol will receive $500,000 in the field of Life Sciences and Medicine.

"It is extremely gratifying for Queen's to be so strongly represented in this elite group of Canadian researchers," says Vice-Principal (Research) Kerry Rowe. "This is truly an outstanding achievement, both for Dr. Kymlicka and Dr. Smol and for the university itself, and yet another indication of the excellence and depth of scholarship at Queen's."

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