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YEAR IN REVIEW: Research at Queen’s in 2018

[Research at Queen's 2018]
Researchers at Queen's, and their work, continue to garner attention locally, nationally, and around the world.

Research prominence at the national and international level is a key strategic priority for Queen’s. As we near the end of 2018, the Gazette takes a look back at some of the major announcements and events that captured our attention during the year.


There were a number of notable developments from the research portfolio in 2018. In April, the 2018-2023 Strategic Research Plan was approved by Senate. The five-year roadmap outlines areas of research strength and priority for the university, and sets the tone for a positive and productive environment through its emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Also in April, it was announced that Kimberly Woodhouse would begin a two-year appointment as Interim Vice-Principal (Research), succeeding John Fisher. A professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Dr. Woodhouse also recently served as dean of that faculty for two five-year terms from 2007 to 2017.


Queen’s Research fared well in two significant rankings released this year.  According RE$EARCH Infosource, a research and development intelligence company, Queen’s placed first nationally in research income growth within the medical category.

In the annual university rankings by Maclean’s, Queen’s maintained its second-place ranking for awards per faculty member.


The university celebrated the opening of the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute in May. Named in honour of the co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, the institute is a partnership of eight universities and five affiliated research organizations. Headquartered at Queen’s, the institute came to fruition as a result of the $63.7 million investment the university received through the Government of Canada’s Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

In April, a group of Queen’s researchers and administrators made the trip to Ottawa for Queen’s on Parliament Hill Day. The aim of this event, one of several held in Ottawa in 2018, was to highlight the university’s areas of strength in research and innovation while also demonstrating support for the federal government’s continuing investments in fundamental research.

Queen’s faculty members and researchers continued leverage the university’s partnership with The Conversation Canada, with a total of 63 articles being published through the online platform this year, with over 1 million views. Many pieces have been republished by local, national, and international news outlets, including Maclean’s, CNN, Time, Scientific American, The National Post, and The Washington Post.

In an ongoing effort to highlight and share the work of researchers with the Queen’s and broader communities, an integrated campaign demonstrating beauty of research highlighted winning photos from the annual Art of Research contest. Throughout much of the year, the mobile Art of Research pop-up exhibit could be seen at various locations on campus and at events across Ontario. At the same time, banners along University Avenue and building skins on a number of prominent buildings helped keep research front of mind on campus.


Queen’s continued to attract leading researchers and competitive funding and awards through a number of national and international programs.

In March, the university welcomed Sari van Anders who arrived on campus as a Canada 150 Research Chair, one of only 28 such positions awarded across the nation as part of a federal government initiative designed to recruit top-tier academic talent from around the world. Dr. van Anders’ work is in social neuroendocrinology, sexuality, and gender/sex.

In May, Ahmed Hassan received the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). A leader in software engineering, Dr. Hassan (School of Computing) is only the 10th Queen’s faculty member to receive the honour since the award’s creation in 1965.

Queen’s researchers continued to be recognized by the Royal Society of Canada with Stephen Archer (Medicine), Heather Stuart (Public Health Sciences) and Rena Upitis (Faculty of Education) being elected as fellows. Ahmed Hassan added to his banner year by being named a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Across the Atlantic, John Smol was elected a fellow of the prestigious Royal Society (UK and Commonwealth) – just the third Queen’s researcher to join their ranks.

In terms of research funding, scholars across disciplines garnered financial support from the tri-agencies, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Ontario Research Fund, among others. Highlights from 2018 included receiving $15.5 million through NSERC’s Discovery Grants program, and more than $3 million from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)’s Insight and Partnership Grants program.

The research work of graduate students was also recognized as four Queen’s doctoral students also secured Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships in areas of study including Indigenous public protest, kidney function, low-income populations, and assisted dying.

To learn more about research at Queen’s, visit the Queen’s Research website.