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    Bolstering support for research focused on big ideas

    The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council has announced $14.3M in funding to Queen's researchers to advance their innovative STEM and health research projects.

    [Queen's Art of Research Photo: "Colourful Cells" by Nathalia Yun Kim
    Queen's Art of Research Photo: "Colourful Cells" by Nathalia Yun Kim – This image depicts bladder tissue with Hunner lesion, an inflammatory disease. The image was acquired using imaging mass cytometry, a technology that allows the visual and computational analysis of the spatial distribution of dozens of protein markers on thousands of colourful cells within the tissue.

    Pursuing transformational research can be a long road. To make an impact on addressing major social issues or work towards ground-breaking discoveries researchers need sustained support to fully realize their projects.

    Today, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages announced $11.8M in funding for Queen’s from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Discovery and Research Tools and Instruments (RTI) programs. Intended to support ongoing research with long-term goals, the Discovery programs provides multi-year grants that support operating funds and facilitate access to funding from other programs. The RTI grants program supports the purchase of critical research equipment necessary to pursue breakthrough research. The NSERC announcement is part of a larger $960M suite of funding announced by the federal government.

    "Our government is funding the top-tier researchers and scientists whose work makes Canada a world leader in research and innovation," says the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages. "These projects – from reimagining teacher education with Indigenous wisdom traditions to creating equity in mental health care to researching the impacts of space radiation and weather on Earth’s climate – will help transform today’s ideas into tomorrow’s solutions. This is why Canada is an innovation leader." 

    In total, 43 Queen’s researchers are recipients of Discovery and RTI program grants as part of today’s announcement. Additionally, in recognition of the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presented to advancing research, Minister Boissonnault announced a 1-year extension of existing NSERC funds. At Queen’s, 57 researchers will be receiving an additional $2.5M to support their active projects. 

    The Discovery-funded Queen’s projects:

    Subatomic Physics Discovery Grant

    Mark Chen (Physics, Engineering Physics, and Astronomy): SNO+ Scintillator Phase and Tellurium Operations (2023-2025) – $2,960,000

    Discovery Grant


    Robert Colautti (Biology): The Genetic Basis of Rapid Evolution and Constraints on the Spread of an Invasive Plant – $195,000

    Biomedical and Molecular Sciences

    Faith Brennan (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences): Microglia-Astrocyte Cross-Talk in the Central Nervous System – $177,500

    Sarah Dick (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences): Investigating the Mechanisms of Cardiac Macrophage Self-Renewal – $212,500

    Katrina Gee (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences): Deciphering the Molecular Mechanisms of IL-27-Mediated Innate Anti-Viral Immune Responses – $225,000

    Neil Magoski (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences): Plasticity of Electrical Transmission Regulates Synchronous Activity in Neurons that Control Reproduction – $260,000

    Chemical Engineering

    Kevin De France (Chemical Engineering): Functional Materials from Cellulose and Protein – $172,500

    Paul Hungler (Chemical Engineering): Development of Adaptive Mixed Reality Simulation for Training and Education Using Multimodal Machine Learning – $192,500


    Philip Jessop (Chemistry): Chemical Applications of Carbon Dioxide with Water and Amines – $415,000

    Lucia Lee (Chemistry): Functional Structures Based on Main-group Supramolecular Interactions – $152,500

    Nicholas Mosey (Chemistry): Materials for Energy Applications via Advanced Chemical Simulations – $260,000

    Kevin Stamplecoskie (Chemistry): Tailoring the Excited State Properties of Metal Clusters for Photonics Applications – $195,000

    Civil Engineering

    Leon Boegman (Civil Engineering): Physical-Biogeochemical Flux Paths in Lakes and Coastal Oceans – $105,000

    Amir Fam (Civil Engineering): Fundamentals of Laboratory-Based Rolling Versus Pulsating Loading Fatigue of Bridges Built with High Performance Materials – $295,000

    Jason Olsthoorn (Civil Engineering): Quantifying the Impact of Climate Change on Mixing in Lakes – $162,500

    Xiaying Xin (Civil Engineering): Development of Nanobubble-Enhanced Visible-Light-Driven Photocatalytic Water Disinfection Systems – $185,000


    Hesham Elsawy (Computing): Towards Diverse, Intelligent, and Perceptive 6G Network Architecture: Theoretical Foundations and Optimization Schemes – $172,500

    Nick Graham (Computing): Fostering Collaboration through Digital Games – $260,000

    Ting Hu (Computing): Interpretable and Explainable Learning with Evolutionary Computing – $205,000

    David Skillicorn (Computing): Data Analytics in Adversarial Settings – $180,000

    Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Melissa Greeff (Electrical and Computer Engineering): Toward Resilient Multi-Robot Collaboration in Emergencies – $167,500

    Ning Lu (Electrical and Computer Engineering): Constrained Online Learning for Wireless Computing Networks – $250,000

    Joshua Marshall (Electrical and Computer Engineering): Mobile-Robot Navigation, Control, And Mapping in Spatiotemporal Worlds – $210,000

    Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering

    Daniel Layton-Matthews (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering): Application of Non-Traditional Isotopes at Higher Spatial Resolution to Element Cycling in Mineral Deposits – $175,000

    David McLagan (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering): Seeing the Forest from The Trees: Understanding Pollutant Biogeochemical Cycling Between Vegetation and Air, Fire, Soil, and Water – $187,500

    Kinesiology and Health Studies

    Brendon Gurd (Kinesiology and Health Studies): Mechanisms Controlling Mitochondrial Biogenesis in Human Skeletal Muscle – $220,000

    Mathematics and Statistics

    Maria Teresa Chiri (Mathematics and Statistics): Evolution Problems for Moving Sets – $162,500

    Felicia Magpantay (Mathematics and Statistics): Transient Dynamics in Deterministic and Stochastic Systems from Eco-Epidemiology – $195,000

    James A. Mingo (Mathematics and Statistics): Random Matrices and Higher Order Freeness – $185,000

    Mechanical and Materials Engineering

    Jackson Crane (Mechanical and Materials Engineering): Detonation Chemistry and Propagation Dynamics: Experiments and Models for Next-Generation Engines – $197,500

    Claire Davies (Mechanical and Materials Engineering): Participation Requires Communication:  Developing Accessible Communication Devices – $250,000

    Yong Jun Lai (Mechanical and Materials Engineering): Development of Ultrasensitive Biosensors for Rapid Pathogen Detection – $210,000

    David Rival (Mechanical and Materials Engineering): In Situ Lagrangian Measurements – $250,000

    Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining

    Julian Ortiz (Robert M. Buchan Department of Mining): Towards Geometallurgical Digital Twins: Stochastic Models for Risk Management of Mining Systems – $210,000


    David Hauser (Psychology): How Do Vaccine Resistors Recruit Evidence to Support their Beliefs and Meta-Beliefs? – $202,500

    Jonathan Smallwood (Psychology): States of Mind and Brain – Understanding the Neural Basis Behind Different Thought Patterns – $295,000

    Sari van Anders (Psychology): Social Neuroendocrinology and the Evolution of Diversity in Human Intimacy – $350,000

    Public Health Sciences

    Wei Tu (Public Health): Statistical Learning and Inference for Sparse and Heterogeneous Functional and Longitudinal Data – $147,500

    Smith School of Business

    Vedat Verter (Smith School of Business): Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics for Delivery of Mental Health Care – $210,000

    Research Tools and Instruments Grant

    John Allingham (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences): Protein Structure Determination Facility Upgrade – $85,434

    Chantelle Capicciotti (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences): A Benchtop SPR Instrument for High-Throughput Interrogation of Protein-Ligand Interactions – $136,528

    Aris Docoslis (Chemical Engineering): A Raman Spectroscopy System for (Bio)Chemical Analyses and Materials Characterization – $149,500

    Christian Muise (Computing): Customizable Platform for Autonomous Agriculture Research – $146,183

    Nir Rotenberg (Physics, Engineering Psychics, and Astronomy): Tunable Pulse-Shapers for the Exploration of Dynamic Photon-Photon Interactions – $149,936

    To learn more about this round of Discovery Grants, visit the NSERC website. You can also read about Queen’s success in recent SSHRC Partnership and Insight and CFI JELF grants competitions in the Queen's Gazette.