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Four Queen's National Scholar proposals advance to second stage

By Craig Leroux, Senior Communications Officer

Four out of 23 initial submissions to this year’s round of the Queen’s National Scholar (QNS) program have been selected to advance to the second stage of the competition. The program’s advisory committee selected submissions in the fields of aquatic ecotoxicology, Indigenous visual and material cultures of the Americas, integrated energy systems, and international community-based rehabilitation.

“The QNS program aims to bring talented new faculty to Queen’s and build upon existing or emerging teaching and research strengths,” says Alan Harrison, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “The advisory committee was particularly impressed with these four proposals. They all have the potential to create rich learning experiences for students while advancing scholarship in their fields.”

At the second stage of the competition, the proponents for the four selected submissions will be asked to prepare a full proposal and to identify a candidate for appointment. The advisory committee will review these proposals and recommend two for appointment to the principal.

“Each of the selected submissions has the potential to further Queen’s research expertise in important and growing areas of inquiry,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). “The next step for each proponent will be to identify leading candidates to put forward in the second round.”

The submission in aquatic ecotoxicology would be based in both the Department of Biology and the School of Environmental Studies. A growing field, aquatic ecotoxicology looks at the impacts of chemicals in aquatic ecosystems and water supplies, and the implications for the environment, human health and sustainability. The position would leverage new state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and participate in international collaborations, such as the Sino-Canada Network for the Environment and Sustainability.

The Department of Art History partnered with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in proposing a QNS in Indigenous visual and material cultures of the Americas. The position would foster new understandings of the entangled histories of Aboriginal and settler populations, while expanding discourse on the aesthetic, social and ethical dimensions of Indigenous cultures. It would expand research, teaching and exhibition opportunities while adding to Queen’s existing expertise in Indigenous art.

The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science’s submission proposes a QNS in integrated energy systems (IES), which will be at the core of science and engineering for the 21st century. IES are essential to increasing the penetration of renewable energy and continuing the evolution of a sustainable energy infrastructure. The QNS would expand the faculty’s existing expertise in this multidisciplinary field and generate new knowledge and technologies in areas that include: energy systems analysis, energy conversion and energy storage.

The School of Rehabilitation Therapy’s submission proposes a QNS in international community-based rehabilitation (CBR). CBR aims to enhance the quality of life and inclusion of people with disabilities and their families by actively involving families, organizations and entire communities. The QNS would facilitate the further growth of the school’s International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation, which has positively influenced the daily lives of people with disabilities in over 22 countries.

In addition to the these four submissions moving to the second round of this year’s competition, results from last year’s competition are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. It was announced in April that proposals in the fields of African history, biological organic chemistry, and Indigenous literatures and languages had advanced to the second stage.

The QNS program was first established in 1985, with the objective to “enrich teaching and research in newly developing fields of knowledge as well as traditional disciplines”. Since then, over 100 QNS appointments have been made in a wide variety of disciplines, and the appellation of Queen’s National Scholar has become synonymous with academic excellence. Recently reinstated, the program selects two new QNS positions each year, providing $100,000 annually for five years for each.