The Wicked Ideas Competition is a Vice-Principal Research 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.

This competition will fund Wicked Ideas that respond to local, national and global challenges by supporting the formation of research teams that offer the expertise and perspectives needed to tackle these challenges. 

2021 Recipients

Investigator Project Title

Nir Rotenberg  (Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy)
Bhavin J. Shastri  (Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy)

Neuromorphic quantum photonics
Graeme Howe  (Department of Chemistry)
David Zechel  (Department of Chemistry)
Fixing the need for nitrogen: a new molecular language for plant - rhizobium symbioses
Bas Vriens  (Geological Science and Engineering)
Stephen Brown  ( Department of Chemistry and School of Environmental Studies)
Hidden Superbugs: Surveillance of Environmental Antimicrobial Resistance to Address an Emerging Global Crisis
Jen Kennedy  (Art History and Art Conservation) 

Susan Lord  (Film and Media)
Will Digital Art Have a Digital Future?: The Challenges of Preserving and Restoring Digital Born Cultures
Richard Oleschuk  (Chemistry)
Avena Ross  (Chemistry (Cross Appointed Department of Biomolecular Sciences))
Detecting their Slimy Secret(ion)s: Biofilms and their impact on Healthcare, Water Quality and Drug Discovery
Laurent Karim Béland  (Mechanical & Materials Engineering)
Roshni Rainbow  (Mechanical & Materials Engineering)
Computer models to help diagnose bone fragility: beyond bone mineral density
Jason Gallivan  (Biomedical & Molecular Sciences / Psychology)
Anita Tusche  (Economics / Psychology)
Charting the neurobiology of social distancing: Exploring the causal effects of social isolation on the brain and the impact of staying digitally connected 'online'
Laura Wells  (Chemical Engineering)
Susan Phillips  (School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, Public Health)
A novel cross-disciplinary approach to identify, mitigate, and correct harmful oversights in medical device design and use: what does sex have to do with it?
Christine Sypnowich  (Philosophy)
Amrita Roy  (Family Medicine)
Toppling Monuments: Colonial Trauma, Justice, Heritage, and Restorative Healing

Past Wicked Ideas Winners

View recipients