Senate Research Report - September 2020

Statement from Vice-Principal Research  

During the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the continuity of research activity has been a key priority. In its state of emergency declarations, the Government of Ontario indicated the importance of research and research organizations as essential activity. To this end, the university deployed a strategy to prioritize the resumption of critical research activity, and in some cases be mobilized to support COVID-19 research and innovations. We should all be pleased with the thoroughness and thoughtfulness with which the research community responded, and I extend my thanks to colleagues, students, and staff across the university who supported what was the first stage of re-opening for the university. What we learned helped to inform the start-up of other activities on campus.  

The central research planning activity has now shifted to prepare for contingencies that may require a scaling down of activity as the year progresses. We want to avoid a rapid, complete shutdown, and therefore are developing processes to allow us to slow activity if necessary, while maintaining research functions across the university. We also continue to closely monitor approvals related to human participant research, particularly in those instances involving vulnerable populations.   

Research and Innovation Highlights 

Over the past 6 months, the Vice-Principal Research portfolio has awarded more than $1 million in internal 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 internal funding is supporting researchers at all stages of their careers and across all disciplines – from discovering innovative solutions, to artistic production, and knowledge mobilization. 

In addition the Vice-Principal Research announced two rounds of internal funding for 20 projects supporting medical and social coronavirus-related solutions through the SARS CoV-2/COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Opportunity

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.  

  • Ning Lu (Electrical and Computer Engineering), new CRC 
  • Amber Simpson (School of Computing; Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) new CRC 
  • Gregoire Webber (Faculty of Law), renewed CRC 
  • Dylan Robinson (Faculty of Arts and Science), renewed CRC 

Four Queen’s University researchers have been elected to the Royal Society of Canada, one of the highest recognitions for Canadian academics in the arts, humanities, and the social and natural sciences.  

New Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada: 

  • Nancy van Deusen (History) 
  • Cathleen Crudden (Chemistry) 

New Members of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists 

  • Amy Latimer-Cheung (School of Kinesiology and Health Studies) 
  • Awet Weldemichael (History) 

The Canadian Cancer Trials Group, SNOLAB, and Canada’s National Design Network received more than $60 million in Major Science Initiatives (MSI) funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.   

  • Canadian Cancer Trials Group $3,825,000 
  • SNOLAB $40,890,089 
  • Canada’s National Design Network $18,310,000 

A total of seven Queen’s research projects are receiving funding from the New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF) 2019 Exploration competition, a program that fosters discovery and innovation by encouraging Canadian researchers to explore, take risks, and work with partners across disciplines and borders.  Queen’s will receive $1.7 million of the $46.3 million in funding allocated to research projects across Canada.  

The Centre for Advanced Computing is a lead partner in the Ontario Health Data Platform being established to assist researchers of COVID-19 to gain access to new data sets important in decision making related to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and Covid 19 health, economic and social strategies. 

Dr. Steven Brooks received $1.2 million in funding to build a provincial database to track COVID-19 patients. His project will develop a provincial registry of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients in emergency departments across Ontario, which will further contribute data to a national registry. The registry will support the development of clinical decision rules to improve screening procedures, diagnostic studies, therapeutics, and the selection of patients for discharge or admission.  

New programs and services, delivered under the umbrella of the WE-CAN Project at Queen’s University, are inspiring and empowering existing and aspiring women entrepreneurs by providing them with tools, resources, expert mentors, networks and community building to expand existing businesses and to launch new ventures. Among numerous other activities, WE-CAN has launched the Compass North Accelerator that helps women-led technology companies grow; launched Kwe-Wiz brand via an awareness campaign targeting Indigenous entrepreneurs in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and the City of Kingston; launched the Rural Mentorship program for rural women entrepreneurs; and completed branding and resource hiring for the Hire Yourself program aimed at newcomer women entrepreneurs to Canada.  

  Awards and Accolades  

The Vice-Principal Research portfolio supports the institutional nomination process for major national and international awards.  Since the last Board of Trustees meeting, faculty members have continued to be recognized for their accomplishments.  Such recognition contributes to their professional development can be a distinguishing feature when applying for competitive research grants.  Of particular mention are the following: