2022: The year in research
December 15, 2022
From January to December, our researchers, students, and staff enjoyed being back to in-person events, celebrating funding for groundbreaking projects, and connecting to our community beyond campus. As we approach the end of year, let’s take time to review some of the highlights from 2022.
As Canada gradually reopened after pandemic shutdowns, we had the chance to once again hold on campus events to celebrate research and innovation. In July, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade Vic Fedeli, and other dignitaries came to Queen’s to announce a $1.5 billion investment in an EV battery facility in Eastern Ontario that will create hundreds of jobs and partnership opportunities for the university, and boost Ontario’s economy. The podium party also took the opportunity to interact with Queen’s researchers and students.
In November, Queen's hosted the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. He met with students, senior leadership, and members of the research community. The same week, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) president Ted Hewitt visited the campus to meet with Queen's senior leadership and early career researchers, including scholars in Indigenous and Black Studies research.
Support for groundbreaking research
Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry) kicked-off 2022 with $24 million in support from Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund to advance research on molecular coatings designed to significantly extend the lifespan of vital metals.
In August, the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Major Science Initiatives Fund also announced key support for two research facilities affiliated with Queen’s. Combined, SNOLAB – Canada’s deep clean astroparticle research laboratory – and the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) Operations and Statistics Centre were granted $122 million, representing around 20 per cent of the total funding announced to support Canada’s major research infrastructure. Vice-Principal (Research) Nancy Ross travelled 2 km underground to host the announcement, which included Minister Champagne and Mona Nemer, Canada’s Chief Science Advisor.
Other funding that will support Queen’s future research include:
- The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) renewed its support of CCTG with a five-year $30 million commitment
- Queen’s received over $4.4 million in support from the NSERC Alliance Grant program. The funded projects will see the research teams partner with public, private, and not-for-profit organizations to generate new knowledge and accelerate the application of research results to create benefits for Canada
- SSHRC announced a $3.6 million boost for research that addresses complex societal challenges and opportunities
- Katherine McKittrick was a finalist for the 2022 SSHRC Impact Awards
- Queen’s received $3 million from the New Frontiers in Research Fund programs for projects across disciplines that are pushing the frontiers of knowledge and pioneering solutions to overcome challenges brought on by the pandemic
- Our researchers received over $2 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to advance programs assessing a series of public health challenges, from chronic abdominal pain to the relations between poverty and child health
- Four Queen’s early career researchers received $100,000 each from the Government of Ontario to structure programs that will investigate topics in machine learning, agriculture, astroparticle physics, and natural products
Several Queen’s researchers were also recognized with prestigious awards and prizes. John McGarry (Political Studies) was the 2022 laureate for the Pearson Peace Medal, an award designated by the United Nations Association of Canada to recognize a Canadian who has made outstanding contributions to peace and prosperity around the world.
Nobel Laureate and Professor Emeritus Arthur McDonald (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy) received the inaugural Canadian Association of Physicists Fellowship for lifetime achievement. Kerry Rowe (Civil Engineering) was awarded the inaugural NSERC Donna Strickland Prize for Societal Impact of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research, which recognizes outstanding research that has led to exceptional benefits for Canadian society, the environment, and the economy. Early-career researcher Farnaz Heidar-Zadeh (Chemistry) earned Ontario’s Polanyi Prize for her research advancing innovative computational molecular design techniques.
Other recognitions included fellowships from of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Faculty members were also appointed or reappointed as Canada Research Chairs, the UNESCO Chair in Arts and Learning, and as the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Chair of Artificial Intelligence. Queen’s students and postdoctoral fellows received Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, two of the most prestigious national awards for future researchers. Internally, three researchers received the Queen’s Prizes for Excellence in Research, which are granted to early-career researchers who have demonstrated significant contributions to their fields.
In the news
The Gazette published dozens of research profiles and stories that highlight some of the groundbreaking research undertaken by faculty and students. Our community is addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, like climate change, with programs on carbon dioxide conversion technology and sustainable finance.
Queen’s experts are responding to challenges worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, like health professionals’ mental health struggles, and working to create new technological solutions for human problems, including robots that can improve human mobility. They are also advancing the field of neuromorphic computers and figuring out new ways to manage obesity.
We continued our partnership with The Conversation Canada, an online news platform that pairs academic experts with experienced journalists to write informed content that can be shared and repurposed by media outlets worldwide. Over spring and fall, Queen’s hosted members of their editorial team for four workshops for researchers and graduate students.
This year, 69 Queen’s researchers published 76 articles and garnered over 1.7 million reads on The Conversation. Some of our most read articles covered topics like the impacts of housework imbalance in women’s sexual desire, the power of routines, the relationships between eating rhythms and mental health, and the causes for lung damage in COVID-19.
At Queen’s, we believe inspiring new generations of researchers, gearing research processes towards more equitable and inclusive ones, and bringing together the academy and our community is as important as doing outstanding research. We are proud of our efforts to support Black Excellence in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine/health) and women’s participation and leadership in Engineering.
In 2022, our annual photo contest, Art of Research, was reimagined to focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and placed a spotlight on the intrinsic connection between research and social impact.
Our researchers and students have also been working to bring their expertise to the public via outreach events, art installations, short presentations, and connecting with the global community to discuss urgent matters like the crisis in Ukraine – in April, we hosted a panel discussion about the origins and the impact of the conflict featuring experts in political studies and law.