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Five leading researchers recognized by Queen’s

2017 Prizes for Excellence in Research are Queen’s highest internal research award

The recipients of the 2017 Prize for Excellence in Research are committed to building connections. Whether it be between organic compounds and metals or scholars and Indigenous communities, each scholar has established themselves as leaders in their fields, working to connect their studies to the world at large. Spanning disciplines across the university, the 2017 PER recipients are Sam McKegney (English), Liying Cheng (Education), Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry), Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering), and Denis O’Donnell (Medicine).

Awarded annually in five areas (humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, and health sciences), the awards have been the signature internal research prize since 1980, and represent an important investment by Queen’s in recognizing research and scholarship. Recipients are some of the top scholars in their fields, and they are each awarded a prize of $5,000 as well as the chance to give a public lecture on their research in the spring. More information on the public lectures will be made available in early 2018.

“I would like to extend my sincerest congratulations to this year’s Prize for Excellence in Research recipients,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “This prize is a testament to the level of research excellence found at the university, and a true mark of excellence for these scholars.  Each researcher has made a significant, long-standing impact in their field. I look forward to watching them receive their prize at fall Convocation and to hearing their public lectures in the spring.”

Sam McKegneySam McKegney (English) is an associate professor whose research has greatly impacted considerations of the ethical roles of settler scholars in Indigenous Studies. He has written many articles on environmental kinship, Indigenous prison writing, and the Truth and Reconciliation process. Dr. McKegney’s 2014 book Masculindians explored the connections between constructions of racial and gender identities by interviewing North American Indigenous artists, and received an honourable mention for The Canadian Women’s and Gender Studies Association’s Outstanding Scholarship Award.

Liying ChengLiying Cheng (Education) has helped to redefine language assessment practices around the globe. A professor in the Faculty of Education and Director of the Assessment and Evaluation Group, Dr. Cheng’s research into how effective assessment practices can lead to enhanced language teaching and learning outcomes for second language students has influenced education policy, curriculum, pedagogy, and language assessment practices. She is highly respected in the international education community for her research into “washback,” or the impact of language assessment practices on language learning and teaching.

Cathleen CruddenCathleen Crudden (Chemistry) is the Canada Research Chair in Metal Organic Chemistry and an internationally-recognized scholar whose discovery of how the bonding of organic compounds to metals in well-defined monolayers has garnered global attention from many different fields. She is an expert in synthetic organic chemistry, and has demonstrated bond formation reactions that were thought to be impossible by other scholars. Dr. Crudden has made immense strides in her field, and she now maintains extensive international collaborations with many researchers.

Pascale ChampagneAs the Canada Research Chair in Bioresource Engineering and Director of the Beaty Water Research Centre, Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering) is an internationally-recognized researcher with an innovative and diverse research program in the fields of environmental engineering and bioresource management. Her research program focuses on topics of critical importance in Canada and internationally, and pillars in achieving sustainable development, including low energy and low impact eco-engineered systems for the treatment of wastewater, as well as using renewable resources in the creation of novel routes for the production of bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts. Many of her projects are in collaboration with private industries, government/regulatory agencies, and municipalities. 

Denis O'DonnellDenis O’Donnell (Medicine) is a world-class respiratory physiologist specializing in the mechanisms of breathlessness and exercise limitation in patients with chronic lung disorders. His research in this field has been so influential that the respiratory community has named the critical lung hyperinflation point corresponding to an abrupt increase in intolerable breathlessness in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) the “O’Donnell Threshold.” He served as Chair of best practices guidelines for COPD management in Canada, has published extensively in top respiratory journals and has served on numerous international scientific panels and journal editorial boards.

Queen’s researchers are renowned for their success in garnering research accolades, and the university ranks second nationally for external faculty research awards and honours, according to Maclean’s. Queen’s is also a member of the U15 group of Canadian research-intensive universities, and our faculty and students are advancing research programs that have real world impact and are addressing global challenges.