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Research Prominence

Start writing for The Conversation Canada

Scott White, Editor-in-Chief of The Conversation Canada, to host two online, interactive workshops for faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows on Sept. 17 and 21.

The importance of fact-based, expert commentary in the news has never been more apparent. The public is seeking informed information on issues important to them, particularly as the world gets accustomed to the new normal of living in a global pandemic.  

For researchers looking for an opportunity to reach the public and mobilize their knowledge, The Conversation is an ideal platform. It combines academic rigour with journalistic flair by pairing academic experts with experienced journalists to write informed content that can be repurposed by media outlets worldwide.

Global Reach

Founded in Australia in 2011, the online news platform has 11 national or regional editions with more than 112,000 academics from 2,065 institutions as registered authors whose articles attract 42 million readers monthly worldwide. The Conversation’s Creative Commons Licensing has meant that over 22,000 news outlets around the world have shared and repurposed content.

As a founding member of The Conversation Canada, over the last three years the Queen’s research community has embraced the platform as a unique tool for sharing their research expertise and engaging with the media. More than 160 Queen’s researchers have published 270 articles that have received an impressive audience of over 4.3 million via The Conversation Canada’s website. Through the platform’s Creative Commons Licensing and newswire access, dozens of major media outlets, including Maclean’sThe National PostTIME, and The Washington Post, to name a few, have republished these pieces.

For Queen’s researchers interested in learning more about the platform, University Relations and the School of Graduate Studies will host two interactive, online workshops in September. The workshops will explore the changing media landscape in Canada, why researchers should write for The Conversation, and how to develop the perfect pitch. 

Online Workshops

Faculty are invited to attend the workshop on Thursday, Sept. 17 from 10-11:30 am. Interested graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are asked to register for a specially designed workshop on Monday, Sept. 21 from 10-11:30 am that will also count towards the SGS Expanding Horizons Certificate in Professional Development. Scott White, Editor-in-Chief of The Conversation Canada, and members of his editorial team will host both workshops over Zoom. Participants are asked to bring an idea to pitch to the workshop to receive real-time editorial feedback from the team.

In order to facilitate a collaborative workshop, spaces will be limited. Please visit the Research@Queen’s website to register.

It’s time to join The Conversation

Queen’s is looking to add to its roster of authors taking part in The Conversation Canada. Faculty and graduate students interested in learning more about the platform and research promotion are encouraged to register for the September workshops or contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, for more information.

Beyond long-term care

Naturally occurring retirement communities, or NORCs, are unplanned communities that have a high proportion of older residents, and may be critical to finding housing solutions for aging Canadians.

Members of the Oasis Senior Supportive Living Program pole walking in their community.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has shown Canadians that we need to think differently about how we support older adults. The media and all levels of government have focused heavily on long-term care, and rightly so. However, the vast majority of older adults live at home and plan to remain there for as long as possible.

In a July 2020 Home Care Ontario survey of older adults, 93 per cent of the 1,000 respondents indicated their desire to stay in their own home. No one identified long-term care as part of their future housing plans. Simply put, although necessary for some, long-term care is not where most people choose to live.

It had been clear well before the pandemic that long-term care is costly and woefully inadequate to meet the needs of Canada’s aging population. It is crucial to expand the conversation to consider what other housing solutions exist and how they can be implemented.

Alternative housing models

Essential to the success and acceptability of any housing alternative is the need for older adults to maintain a sense of autonomy and independence, be actively engaged in decisions affecting themselves and their community and have the opportunity to build social networks that can ultimately support one another.

Villages and co-housing are two examples of how we can think differently. In the village model found in the United States, older adults living in a neighbourhood of single dwelling homes come together as a group to organize paid and volunteer services.

Originating in Europe, co-housing brings together younger and older adults in clusters of homes or apartments built around shared spaces. Members work together to manage common spaces and support each other through group activities such as communal dining.

Naturally occurring retirement communities

Naturally occurring retirement communities (NORCs) offer a third example with enormous potential. Unlike the village or co-housing models, NORCs are unplanned communities that have a high proportion of older residents.

For example, individuals in a specific neighbourhood may have aged together as a community, or an apartment building in a walkable neighbourhood may attract older adults moving from single family homes. On their own, NORCs are simply a way to describe a community’s demographic profile, however, they can be seen as a critical piece of the solution.

Researchers have referred to NORCs as “untapped resources to enable optimal aging at home” with the potential to build social networks and integrate supportive community programs. Studies have demonstrated the benefit of these communities to building social networks and increasing participation in daily activities. There are well documented examples of NORCs with social support programs in New York and other U.S. states. To date, there has been very little focus on NORCs in Canada and only a handful of documented examples.

Side-by-side maps showing significantly higher population of adults ages 55 years and older in 2016 compared to 2006
Maps of percentages of all older adults who are aged 55 years and older by dissemination areas in all of Ontario. (Paul Nguyen), Author provided

NORCs in Ontario

We examined the make-up of Ontario neighbourhoods using Statistics Canada’s dissemination areas — which are small, stable geographical areas with 400-700 inhabitants — to identify the prevalence of NORCs in the province.

Older adults at a long table working on art projects.
Social programming at one of the Oasis expansion sites. Author provided

We found the proportion of neighbourhoods with at least 40 per cent older adults (age 55 and older) dramatically increased from 8.7 per cent in 2006 to 20.1 per cent in 2016. Although the prevalence of NORCs has increased overall, NORCs vary in frequency across the province. In Central Ontario, an incredible 37 per cent of neighbourhoods are considered NORCs, whereas in the highly populated Golden Horseshoe area capping the western end of Lake Ontario, NORCs make up 14 per cent of neighbourhoods.

These findings provide a literal and figurative map on which we can plan a shift in the way we support older adults: reorienting services to focus on building socially connected NORCs, creating resource hubs in NORCs and developing NORCs as age-friendly communities. Given the anticipated growth of the older adult population over the next decade we can expect the number of NORCs to continue to increase.

A NORC Oasis

The Oasis Senior Supportive Living program is one Canadian example of how NORCs can be leveraged to bring supports to older adults. Oasis was created by older adults in one apartment building in Kingston, Ont., a decade ago and, together with a community board of directors and on-site Oasis co-ordinator, they run community activities, including physical and social activities and congregate dining in a common space donated by the building’s landlord.

Preliminary results show that Oasis increases physical activity levels and decreases social isolation, as well as leads to a decrease in use of the health-care system, particularly home-care services. Over the past two years, through a partnership between the Oasis members and board of directors, Queen’s University, and McMaster and Western universities, we have spread Oasis to six new NORCs in Ontario.

As the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions appear to be a collective reality for the near future, it is essential that we explore how to support older adults in their communities. NORCs exist, we can easily identify them and it is now time to capitalize on these as a real solution by considering NORCS as an option for how we support older adults and providing resources to strengthen existing and potential NORCs.The Conversation


Catherine Donnelly, Associate Professor, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen's University; Paul Nguyen, Senior Analyst, ICES, Queen's University; Simone Parniak, Research Project Manager, Queen's University, and Vincent DePaul, Assistant Professor, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen's University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Canadian research leaders

Queen’s University adds two new and two renewed Canada Research Chairs.

Queen’s University welcomed two new and two renewed Canada Research Chairs as part of the Government of Canada’s recent $140 million of Canada Research Chairs announcement. One of the country’s highest research honours, the Canada Research Chairs program advances the nation’s position as a leader in discovery and innovation Queen’s is home to over 40 Canada Research Chairs. 

Ning Lu (Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Amber Simpson (School of Computing; Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) are the two new Tier 2 chairs while Gregoire Webber (Law) and Dylan Robinson (Faculty of Arts and Science) are renewed Tier 2 chairs. Tier 2 Chairs are recognized as emerging leaders in their research areas and Queen’s will receive $100,000 per year over five years for each Tier 2 Chair. 

The research focus of the new and reviewed chairs ranges from the foundations of law and government and new approaches to treating patients with cancer to Indigenous public arts across North America and innovative resource management solutions. 

“The CRC programs allows Queen’s to attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and promising minds from a diversity of disciplines,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). “I look forward to seeing these new and renewed chairs further develop their research programs.” 

Dr. Lu’s (Canada Research Chair in Future Communication Networks) research recognizes the Internet of Things as an emerging network paradigm connecting billions of wireless devices. Proper network resource management will play a critical role in reaping the benefits of this emerging technology. His research will have wide-ranging applications in telecommunications from smart homes to emergency response. 

Dr. Simpson (Canada Research Chair in Biomedical Computing and Informatics) examines how we can harness the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify tailored treatments for patients with cancer. She is seeking to transform how clinicians treat patients with cancer using a data-driven approach. 

Dr. Webber (Canada Research Chair in Public Law and Philosophy of Law) is looking to enrich our understanding of the responsibilities of government, our responsibilities to each other, and our obligation to the law. 

Dr. Robinson’s (Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts) research addresses how Indigenous artists are weaving their histories and futures back into the fabric of civic infrastructure by creating new public artworks. 

For more information on the program, visit the Canada Research Chairs website. 

Four professors receive one of the highest Canadian academic honours

Royal Society of Canada elects two Queen’s University researchers as Fellows, and two to the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

Four Queen’s University researchers have been elected to the Royal Society of Canada, which is one of the highest recognitions for Canadian academics in the arts, humanities, and the social and natural sciences. Nancy van Deusen, and Cathleen Crudden were elected to the Fellowship of the academy, while Amy Latimer-Cheung and Awet Weldemichael were named members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

The newest Fellows from Queen’s have a wide range of research interests including women and gender history, and organic chemistry.

The newest members of the College of Scholars from Queen’s have done exemplary research in the promotion of physical activity and history of colonialism and national movements in Africa and Southeast Asia,

The Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada comprises more than 2,000 Canadian scholars, artists, and scientists, peer-elected as the best in their field. These are distinguished academics from all branches of learning who have made contributions in the arts, the humanities and the sciences, as well as in Canadian public life.

The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists is Canada’s first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the emerging generation of Canadian intellectual leadership.

Queen’s is proud to be home to over 90 members of the Fellowship and 11 members of the College of the Royal Society of Canada.

“Queen’s is renowned for excellence in research and teaching, in part thanks to the contributions of faculty members like these,” says Patrick Deane, Queen's Principal and Vice-Chancellor.  “Recognized by their peers, this honour reflects outstanding leadership in research and the significant contributions they have made to their respective disciplines.”

The four Queen’s scholars are:

Nancy Van DeusenNancy van Deusen’s (History) research in women and gender history, the histories of African and Indigenous slavery, and early modern Catholicism have earned her a place as one of the most distinguished colonial Latin Americanists in North America today. Her meticulous research and thought-provoking analyses have led to innovations in the classroom and in scholarship, providing a more nuanced portrayal of previously under-represented groups.

Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry) has made lasting contributions to organic chemistry and materials science. She has employed the principles of organometallic chemistry to develop catalytic transformations of importance to pharmaceutical research and to develop novel techniques for the formation of organic monolayers on metal surfaces. The latter work has resulted in the most robust organic monolayers to date, high stability nanoparticles and novel metal nanoclusters. 

Amy Latimer-Cheung (Kinesiology and Health) is acclaimed for her research which encourages people to be more physically active. She is particularly interested in increasing participation among people with a disability by creating positive activity experiences. A direct translation of her research into practice, Dr. Latimer-Cheung is the Executive Co-Director of Revved Up, an exercise program for people with a disability.

Awet Weldemichael  (History) is an internationally sought-after speaker in academia and media. His research focuses on colonialism, decolonization, revolutions, nationalist movements, peace, conflict and security studies relevant to Africa and Southeast Asia, specifically, modern and contemporary Horn of Africa and island Southeast Asia. His recent award-winning book, Piracy in Somalia, examines the root causes, dynamics and consequences of piracy in Somalia.

The four Queen’s researchers will be inducted at the Royal Society of Canada's annual Celebration of Excellence and Engagement in November. For more information, visit the Royal Society of Canada website.

Fighting for change

Policy paper for anti-racism in hockey developed by two Queen’s University researchers is gaining momentum.

A recent paper authored by Queen’s University researchers Courtney Szto and Sam McKegney is back in the news again after the National Hockey League, the National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball recently postponed games in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The Policy Paper for Anti-Racism in Canadian Hockey calls on hockey organizations and governments to enact policy changes to invigorate the need for re-education of coaches, parents, players, and officials on the importance of anti-racism, and to promote strategies for making hockey culture safer, more inclusive, and more accountable for its practices. 

During a segment on Sportsnet after the NHL postponed several playoff games, host Ron MacLean highlighted the paper while in conversation with fellow broadcaster Harnarayan Singh. It was also featured on In Conversation with Ron MacLean where Dr. Szto was joined by Olympic sprint champion Donovan Bailey to discuss racism and moving forward as a society. 

“Am I happy with the coverage it has received – yes. Am I happy with the change it has fostered – not yet,” says Dr. Szto (Kinesiology and Health Studies). “We had meetings with Hockey Canada and Bauer in July and have had ongoing meetings with the Minister of Heritage's Office. The paper has been downloaded over 4,500 times to date and has been widely read but it seems like people still have questions about what they should be doing instead of tweaking the recommendations so they fit their organization. If people can make one change this season and add another next season then we encourage them to do so, but we need to see action in some form.” 

The calls to action include: 

  • All levels of government and hockey administrative bodies to publicly adopt and enforce Calls to Action 87 to 91 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 
  • Implementing modules addressing intercultural competency, conflict resolution, and anti-racism in sport to be included in certification for coaches, administrators, billets, and officials 
  • Hockey Canada instituting a “duty to report” with relation to all incidents of suspected racism and track those incidents over time to establish objectives with regards to the elimination of such incidents
  • The Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities creating an external oversight body which sole purpose is to receive and investigate claims of racial, sexual, homonegative, and gendered abuse/discrimination, and to advocate for claimants
  • Calling upon Hockey Canada to implement a system to collect numbers on the participation of racialized groups in hockey in order to monitor demographic changes and trends
  • Asking Hockey Canada to allocate a percentage of the budget to support Indigenous hockey in Canada 

“Racist incidents occur time and time again, and the hockey community is righteously appalled—but then attention fades and it’s back to business as usual, with no substantive structural or systemic change,” says Dr. McKegney (English Language and Literature). “We’re advocating for practical, actionable changes we believe will not only make hockey more inclusive but will help unlock the game’s potential as an instrument of positive social change.” 

The paper was developed during a Roundtable on Racism in Hockey hosted at Queen’s. Drs. Szto and McKegney worked in collaboration with Michael Auksi (PhD student, McGill University) and Bob Dawson (Senior Sportswriter, Boxscore World Sportswire). 

Queen’s researchers receive more than $600,000 from SSHRC

The funded projects involve a range of research, including investigating the building blocks of constructing gender and race in primary education, and testing for independent experts to improve Canada’s federal transfer system.

A total of 12 Queen’s University researchers are recipients of nearly $610,000 in combined funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant program. Part of the  Insight and Partnership Grants suite, the programs are designed to support research projects across a range of disciplines in their early stages and build knowledge and understanding about people, societies, and the world.

The projects being funded at Queen’s involve a range of research, including investigating the building blocks of constructing gender and race in primary education and testing for independent experts to improve Canada’s federal transfer system.

“With a number of these grants going to early-career researchers at the university, this program provides the opportunity to develop our talent at Queen’s,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). “The funded projects approach societal challenges in creative and innovative ways and, ultimately, will provide better insight into the world around us.”

This year’s successful recipients include:

Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin (Geography and Planning) Youth, Labour and Neoliberal Urban Transformation in Ibadan, Nigeria, $72,636

Ragavendran Gopalakrishnan (Smith School of Business) Behaviour-Aware Queueing Models for Smart Service Operations, $60,100

Eun-Young Lee (Kinesiology and Health Studies) No Level Playing Field: Towards Quantifying Intersectionality in Large-scale Population Studies, $50,026

Nora Fayed (School of Rehabilitation Therapy) Wellbeing Priorities for Children with Highly Complex Disabilities and their Parents, $38,097

Colin Grey (Law) Humanitarianism and the Justification of Deportation for Criminality, $41,742

Kyle Hanniman (Political Studies) Popular Support for Unpopular Reforms:  Testing the Potential of Independent Experts to Improve Canada’s Federal Transfer System, $46,032

Alyssa King (Law) Travelling Judges, Moonlighting Arbitrators, and Global Common Law, $27,370

Reena Kukreja (Global Development Studies) Undocumented South Asian Male Migrants in Greece: Understanding Masculinity, Love and Work in Troubled Times, $53,529

Jeremy Stewart (Psychology) Unpacking Suicide Capability: Refining the Definition and Measurement of Fearlessness about death, $72,972

Kristy Timmons (Education) Inequity at the Starting Line: The Influence of Teacher Expectations, Beliefs and Practices on Learning Outcomes in Kindergarten, $61,446

Dan Cohen (Geography and Planning) Financing Social Progress: Market-making and Canada’s Social Finance Fund, $46.739

Sumon Majumdar (Economics) Do Immigrants Face Barriers in Access to Local Public Services in Canada?   $43,576

Through the 2019-2020 competition, SSHRC has awarded over $32 million to more than 1,045 researchers from 69 Canadian institutions.

Insight Development Grants support research in its early stages. They enable the development of new research questions, as well as experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches or ideas. Funding is provided to individuals or teams for projects of up to two years.

For more information visit, the SSHRC website.

Don’t miss out on research funding opportunities, subscribe to the University Research Services Funding Opportunities  listserv. 

A national health data infrastructure could manage pandemics with less disruption


A young man on a subway wears a mask
Using data to manage the spread of coronavirus means that work and everyday life could quickly resume. (Shutterstock)

If we did not know it before, we know it now: pandemics present dire threats to our lives, similar to climate change and nuclear proliferation. Confronting these threats requires social and technical innovation and the willingness to view potential solutions in entirely new ways.

As Canada struggles with calibrating its response to COVID-19, the limits of our existing crisis strategies are plain to see.

Political leaders are stuck between controlling the spread of the pandemic and resuming commercial and economic activity. How quickly should restrictions on confinement and social distancing be relaxed? And for whom? Their responses rely largely on the extensive use of personal protective equipment (notably masks), deployment of immunity tests and test-and-tracing technologies.

There are two problems with this approach: first, they are based on after-the-fact views of COVID-19’s spread. And second, this approach treats the pandemic as a medical problem.

Managing the unknowns

The facts of this virus are becoming clear. While it is hard to know who is infected given that many may be asymptomatic, we do know that the vast majority of those who become infected will not experience severe symptoms. Data from France show that if everyone gets infected, only approximately one per cent of the population will experience symptoms severe enough to require admission to an intensive care unit.

Instead of using the blunt instrument approach of designing public health policy for an entire population, would it make more sense to predict who would fall into that highly vulnerable one per cent group and then devote the state’s resources to protecting them. That way, those who are less vulnerable can continue about their lives, while those who are more vulnerable would be better protected.

Different perspectives

Governments are not following this path. They see COVID-19 as primarily a medical problem when it is really an information problem. If it were to be seen as an information problem, then potential solutions are possible. These solutions use advanced information technologies that have proven successful in other contexts.

Consider personalized prediction. Machine-learning models fed with vast quantities of health data, for example, could be trained to make clinical risk predictions. Public health leaders could use these prediction models to identify those who are vulnerable and who would need to be quarantined and prioritized for access to scarce medical resources, such as personal protective equipment, dedicated health support, free delivery of groceries and other necessities.

Personalized prediction, based on machine learning and artificial intelligence, has transformed businesses over the last 20 years. Netflix evaluates consumers’ characteristics and past choices to make personalized recommendations about what they might watch next. Amazon uses the same approach to recommend future purchases based on past spending behaviour.

A similar approach could be taken to measure individuals’ clinical risk of suffering severe outcomes if infected during a pandemic such as COVID-19. What would this look like if rolled out on a country-wide scale?

Each person would receive an electronic message with their clinical risk score, which would be derived automatically from their medical records and reflect how vulnerable they are to a particular virus. Those with predicted scores above a certain threshold would be classified as “severe” or “high risk.” They would be temporarily isolated and supported. Those with scores below a threshold would be able to return to a more-or-less normal life.

A young man with a mask works at a laptop.
Identifying and protecting the more vulnerable members of a population would enable the development of herd immunity, and a quicker return to work. (Shutterstock)

Data-informed policies

A personalized approach to clinical risk during a pandemic outbreak has multiple benefits. It could protect medical systems from being overwhelmed and communities from the economic pain of indiscriminate lock-downs. It could help build herd immunity with lower mortality — and fast. It could also allow a more targeted and fairer allocation of resources, from test kits to hospital beds. Unlike medical tests that are scarce, expensive and slow to deploy, a data-driven digital personalization approach could be applied quickly and is relatively easy to scale.

An approach based on data science and machine learning could also enable safer de-confinement at a much faster rate than current best practices. In one study, my co-authors and I used COVID-19 data from France as of early May 2020 to understand the public health policies regarding the enacting and lifting of restrictions intended to control the spread of disease.

Our simulations show that isolation entry and exit policies could be substantially faster and safer using personalized prediction models. Our simulations indicated that the complete lifting of COVID-19 restrictions could be undertaken in six months, with only 30 per cent of the population being under strict isolation for longer than three months — all without overwhelming the medical system. In contrast, using conventional methods, simulations indicated that the complete exit would take 17 months, and 40 per cent of the population would be subject to strict isolation for more than one year.

This ideal scenario may seem like a moonshot, but a simple version could be designed and rolled out fairly quickly. Governments can focus on the data and models that can be deployed for COVID-19. For example, age, body mass index and hypertension and diabetes data for each person — all of which can be assessed at a community pharmacy for everyone within weeks and applied to an individual’s health card — can be used to train models. Even with just this information, public policy can be much more targeted.

National data infrastructure

What would need to happen to implement this new model on a province- or country-wide basis? For one thing, a deep data pool. Training a machine learning model for a pandemic such as COVID-19 would require data on thousands of people who tested positive and were hospitalized for the virus. It would also require medical data for everyone else in the population, akin to the information dossiers that big tech firms such as Facebook or Netflix have on consumers.

This is why government commitment to building a robust health data infrastructure is so important. Unfortunately, in Canada as elsewhere, the state of electronic health records varies widely. Depending on the jurisdiction, records may be incomplete or difficult to access, and information may not be standardized. A commitment to address these shortcomings is paramount. Privacy protections and cybersecurity provisions would need to be developed and well communicated.

As COVID-19 shows, the upside of applying advanced analytical tools used successfully elsewhere vastly outweighs the downside of staying the course. The question is not whether countries can apply artificial intelligence at a health-system scale. It is already being used at scale for commercial purposes that hardly involve life-or-death issues. The question for policy makers is: Can we afford not to go down this path?The Conversation


Anton Ovchinnikov, Distinguished Professor of Management Analytics at Smith School of Business, Queen's University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Supporting research at Queen’s University

The Vice-Principal (Research) at Queen’s provides internal funding to help researchers accelerate their programs and engage in knowledge mobilization.

Queen’s University has awarded more than $1 million in funding to its researchers. Through unique competitions such as Wicked Ideas, Queen's Research Opportunities Fund, and national programs like the SSHRC Institutional Grant (SIG), the Vice-Principal (Research) is supporting researchers at all stages of their careers and across all disciplines – from discovering innovative solutions, to artistic production, and knowledge mobilization.

In its inaugural year, the Wicked Ideas initiative was designed to support research collaborations across disciplines tackling wicked problems, issues so multi-dimensional and complex that they require multiple perspectives to solve them. Some of the successful projects include exploring cleantech, Lyme disease, and microplastics.

Additionally, through the internal funding initiatives several grants were also awarded to Queen’s researchers who have pivoted their research to help confront COVID-19. These projects ranged from determinants of self-rated health, to understanding resilience and fragility, and the spatial implications of the Bank of Canada’s response to COVID-19.

“It is extraordinarily exciting to see the research ideas that are brewing here on campus, matched with the commitment we have to making things happen," says Kimberly Woodhouse, Vice-Principal (Research). "I truly look forward to the outcomes of these awards.”

Learn more about the 2020 recipients and the individual internal funds below. For more information on the research happening at Queen’s, as well as Queen’s researchers’ efforts to confront COVID-19, visit the Research@Queen’s website.

Wicked Ideas

The Wicked Ideas Competition is a Vice-Principal (Research) pilot initiative to fund and support research collaboration and excellence. Wicked Problems are issues so complex and dependent on so many factors that it is hard to grasp what exactly the problem is, or how to tackle it. Wicked Ideas are needed to solve these problems and demand the input of multiple disciplines with relevant practical expertise.

2020 Recipients

Investigator Project Title
David Lyon (Sociology) &
Dan Cohen (Geography and Planning)
Big Data Exposed: What Smartphone Metadata Reveals about Users
John Allingham (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) &
Chantelle Capicciotti (Chemistry)
Design and Development of Novel Classes of Actin-Targeting Toxin-Glycan-Antibody Conjugates
Susan Bartels (Emergency Medicine) &
Stéfanie von Hlatky (Political Studies)
Peace Support Operations (PSO) in Countries Affected by Political Instability, Armed Conflict, and Insecurity
Joe Bramante (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy) &
James Fraser (Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy)
Macro Coherent Quantum Transitions in Parahydrogen
Kevin Stamplecoskie (Chemistry) &
Cathy Crudden (Chemistry)
Immortal Solar Cells
Kerry Rowe (Civil Engineering) &
Fady Abdelaal (Civil Engineering)
Using Cleantech to Monitor Geosynthetic Liners in Frozen Grounds for Sustainable Development of Sub-Arctic and Arctic Mineral Resources
Graeme Howe (Chemistry) &
Philip Jessop (Chemistry)
Solving the Water-Removal Bottleneck in Sustainable Chemistry
Nora Fayed (Rehabilitation Therapy) &
Claire Davies (Mechanical and Materials Engineering)
SOCIALITE: An Emotional Augmentation System for Children with Profound Communication Disability
Laurence Yang (Chemical Engineering) &
Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering)
Reducing the Greenhouse Gas Burden of Livestock by Harnessing Carbon-Neutral Algae to Produce Milk
Robert Colautti (Biology) &
Nader Ghasemlou (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences)
The E.D.G.E. of Lyme
Mark Daymond (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) & 
Suraj Persaud (Mechanical and Materials Engineering)
Materials Performance in Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) Environments Proposed for Advanced Nuclear Systems
Heather Castleden (Geography and Planning) &
Diane Orihel (Biology)
The Spirit of the Lakes and All Their Relations: Two-Eyed Seeing in Microplastics Research

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Institutional Grant

Through its SSHRC Institutional Grant (SIG) funding opportunity, SSHRC provides annual block grants to help eligible Canadian postsecondary institutions fund, through their own merit review processes, small-scale research and research-related activities by their faculty in the social sciences and humanities.

Explore Grant

This grant supports social sciences and humanities researchers at any career stage with funds to allow for small-scale research project development or pilot work, or to allow for participation of students in research projects.

2020 Recipients

Investigator Project Title
Cynthia Levine-Rasky (Sociology) The Good Fight: Voices of Elder Activists
Theodore Christou (Education) Map Making and Indigenous History Education: Supporting Reconciliatory Education by Visualizing Canada’s Indian Day Schools
Heather McGregor (Education) History Education in the Anthropocene
Grégoire Webber (Law) Recovering the Good in the Law
Jennifer Hosek (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures) Cultures of Resilience and Fragility under COVID: Does Money Matter?
Leandre Fabrigar (Psychology) Exploring Objective and Subjective Measures of Attitude Bases
Dan Cohen (Geography and Planning) The Spatial Implications of Bank of Canada’s COVID-19 Response
Richard Ascough (Religion) Associations and Christ Groups under Roman Colonization: Assimilation and Resistance in the Western Provinces
Gabriel Menotti Miglio Pinto Gonring (Film and Media) Audiovisual-made Museums: An Archaeology of Video as an Exhibition Platform
Danielle Blouin (Emergency Medicine) Accreditation of Medical Education Programs: What are the Effective Components?
Heather Macfarlane (English Language and Literature) How to be at Home in Canada: Literary Land Claims in Indigenous and Diaspora Texts
Sergio Sismondo (Philosophy) Epistemic Corruption
Collin Grey (Law) Humanitarianism and Deportation
Martha Munezhi (Policy Studies) Determinants of Self-rated Health in the Midst of COVID-19
Ian Robinson (Film and Media) Film and Placemaking
Ruqu Wang (Economics) Modeling International Trade Disputes
Marcus Taylor (Global Development Studies) Sustainability Transformations in Eastern Ontario Agriculture
Alison Murray (Art History and Art Conservation) Teaching Science to Art Conservation Students: Threshold Concepts as a Revitalizing Tool
Amanda Ross-White (Library) Predatory, Deceptive or Imitation: What Motivates Publishers and Editors on the Margins of Scholarly Literature?

Exchange Grant

This grant supports the organization of small-scale knowledge mobilization activities in order to encourage collaboration and dissemination of research results both within and beyond the academic community, as well as allow researchers to attend or present research at scholarly conferences and other venues to advance their careers and promote the exchange of ideas.

2020 Recipients

Investigator Project Title
Elizabeth Brule (Gender Studies) Indigenous Resurgence, Decolonization and the Politics of Solidarity Work
Elizabeth Anne Kelley (Psychology) Utilitarianism: A New Strengths-Based Approach to ASD

Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds

QROF represent a strategic investment in areas of institutional research strength that provide researchers and scholars opportunities to accelerate their programs and research goals.

Catalyst Fund

This fund was created to enhance areas of research excellence that are of strategic importance to the university by giving scholars an opportunity to accelerate their research programs. Ten awards were allocated with a minimum of six awards designated for Early Career Researchers, defined as those who are within 10 years of their first academic appointment. Applicants were required to hold Tri-Council funding or have applied for Tri-Council funding within the last two years.

2020 Recipients

Investigator Project Title
Grégoire Webber (Law) Human Goods and Human Laws
Meredith Chivers (Psychology)

Racializing and Diversifying Sexual Response: The Effects of Racial Identification, Emotional Appraisal, and Racial Bias on the Physiological and Psychological Sexual Responses of Black and White Women Viewing Racially Diverse Erotic Stimuli

Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin (Geography and Planning) Started from the Bottom: Youth Social Mobility and Affective Labour in Ibadan, Nigeria
Vicki Friesen (Biology) Using Whole Genome Sequencing to help Protect the Potential of Wildlife to Adapt to Changing Arctic Ecosystems, Focusing on Species Important to Indigenous Subsistence and Culture  
Chantelle Capicciotti (Chemistry) Targeting Cancer Glycans with Imaging Probes - New Frontiers to Chemically Map Tissue Surfaces
Jennifer Day (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering)

Investigation of Sea Stack Stability in Popular Geotourism Destinations, Prediction of Their Structural Collapse, Evaluation of the Effects of Sea Stack Collapse on Public Safety, and Forecasting Risk Associated with Climate Change Evolution

Nader Ghasemlou (Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine, Biomedical & Molecular sciences) Circadian Control of Pain and Neuroinflammation
Eun-Young Lee (School of Kinesiology and Health Studies) Knowledge into Action: Development of Carbon Footprint Equivalences that Incorporate Lifestyle Behaviours for Dual Benefits of Environmental Sustainability and Human Health
Susan Bartels (Emergency Medicine) Improving Emergency Department Care Experiences for Equity-Seeking Groups in Kingston: A Mixed Methods Research Study
David Maslove (Critical Care Medicine & Medicine)

Deep Learning Applied to High-Frequency Physiologic Waveforms for the Detection of Atrial Fibrillation in Critical Illness

Arts Funds

This fund makes an institutional commitments in support of artistic production and expression that strategically align with the university’s scholarly strengths and priorities. This includes supporting artists, their contribution to the scholarly community and to advancing Queen’s University. The Arts Fund is also intended to attract outstanding artists to Queen’s University each year.

Artistic Production

This fund assists in the actual production of a work of art, such as the creation of a piece of visual art; the writing of a novel, poem, play or screen play; the composition of music; the production of a motion picture; the performance of a play, a musical composition, a piece of performance art, or the production of a master recording.

2020 Recipients

Investigator Project Title
Gabriel Menotti Miglio Pinto Gonring (Film and Media) Hollow Constructions
Matthew Rogalsky (Film and Media) Highly Directional Loudspeakers: Research and Development for Distanced Sound Performance and Installation

Visiting Artist in Residence

To enrich the cultural life of the university and to encourage exchange between artists at Queen’s University and the broader community. It is intended to provide educational and scholarly opportunities for artists by facilitating the extended presence on campus of visiting artists. Residencies are normally two to eight weeks in duration.

2020 Recipients

Investigator Project Title
Carolyn Smart (English Language and Literature) Writer-in-Residence for Queen's University: Kaie Kellough
Juliana Bevilacqua (Art History and Art Conservation) Rosana Paulino: Project North-South Dialogues
Karen Dubinsky (Global Development Studies) Cuban Roots in Canadian Soil: Canada's Cuban Musical History

Research community town hall scheduled for Aug. 27

The Vice-Principal (Research) Kimberly Woodhouse will host a Zoom town hall meeting on Thursday, Aug. 27 at 1:30 pm for members of the Queen’s research community. This forum will allow researchers to ask questions, and importantly, stay connected to the wider research community. While there will be an opportunity to actively ask questions during the town hall, for efficiency researchers are encouraged to send questions and concerns in advance to research@queensu.ca with the subject line “Town Hall Question”.

Please register in advance for this meeting no later than 12:30 pm on Thursday, Aug. 27, using your Queen’s or KHSC email address. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about how to join the meeting.

Note that the event will be recorded to confirm that appropriate follow-up can be made with participants, if necessary.


Researcher contributes to WHO maternal health guidelines

New research from Queen’s University helps inform World Health Organization guidelines related to maternal nutrition during pregnancy.

Queen’s University researcher Bahman Kashi (Economics) has contributed to new World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines related to maternal nutritionHis research into cost-effectiveness analysis of alternative supplementations during pregnancy informed the 2020 WHO antenatal care guidelines, which supports public health policy globally. 

One of the ongoing questions around nutrition during pregnancy is related to transitioning from long-standing iron and folic acid supplementation (IFAS) to multiple micronutrient supplementation (MMS) to improve maternal and neonatal health. While IFAS only contains iron and folic acid, MMS includes iron, folic acid, and several other vitamins and trace minerals. MMS was proposed as a potential way to improve the nutritional profiles of pregnant women to reduce the risks of nutritional deficiencies on maternal and neonatal health. However, due to concerns regarding MMS's potential harms to newborns the World Health Organization's 2016 prenatal care guideline did not recommend transitioning from IFAS to MMS. 

Since the release of the 2016 guideline, emerging evidence suggests that MMS may be appropriate in low and middle-income countries. However, in addition to the concerns regarding potential harms, there were uncertainties regarding the cost and ultimate cost-effectiveness of MMS. Limestone Analytics, a Queen’s spin-off company led by Dr. Kashi, and Nutrition International conducted research to close these knowledge gaps. The analysis included evaluating the effectiveness of IFAS compared to MMS, comparing the costs, and calculating the cost-effectiveness of transitioning from IFAS to MMS. The analysis relies on publicly available data on health indicators, systematic reviews, and supplement costs. The main contribution of the study is the development of a model that allows for aggregating the impact on different health outcomes into one measure of effectiveness.

“A global policy shift on the choice of nutrition during pregnancy has the potential to improve the health and lives of millions of women and children around the world at a negligible cost," says Dr. Kashi. "For such a shift to happen, it is not only enough to collect an evidence base, but there is also the need to translate it through research into clear decisions. This research primarily focused on using the existing evidence to bridge the knowledge gaps and made the policy shift a possibility.”

The analysis was a critical component in informing the WHO's 2020 antenatal guideline, where the WHO position regarding MMS shifted from "not recommended" to "recommended in the context of rigorous research." This provides a path forward regarding the use of MMS and highlights the areas for future research. 

Two Queen’s University alumni, Zuzanna Kurzawa and Caroline Godin, were also a part of the research team. Godin's participation in this research was through a Mitacs internship, highlighting the importance of industry-academic partnerships facilitated by the Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation, and initiatives such as Mitacs.


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