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The Carleton University Research Achievement Awards are administered by the Office of the Vice-President (Research and International). The purpose of these awards is to recognize outstanding research achievements. The awards were established in 1989 to enhance the quality of research and to recognize research excellence. The recipients’ terms run from May to April.

Research Achievement Awards 2016


Ian Beausoleil-Morrison

Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Design

Project:  Full Scale investigation of hybrid passive-active solar collection

During the past several years, Ian Beausoleil-Morrison has been exploring an untested concept to increase the capture and utilization of passive solar gains through windows by converting the house into an active solar collector. All the components necessary to test this concept have been, or are currently being, installed in the Urbandale CHEeR house: a highly glazed south facade, hydronic flooring, water heat pump, thermal stores, a flexible and controllable hydronic network, and highly accurate flow and thermal instrumentation. This simulation and laboratory-based research indicates that this hybrid passive-active solar collection concept could lead to substantial energy savings. The RAA will be used to conduct full-scale and long-term experiments to test these findings and to validate and improve models.

William Cross

Professor, Department of Political Science, Faculty of Public Affairs

Project:  Who is the Political Party?

William Cross is a professor and the Bell Chair in Canadian Parliamentary Democracy in the Department of Political Science. His research focuses on questions relating to democratic institutions and political party organizations both in Canada and other western democracies. Among his current projects is a study entitled ‘who is the political party in Canada?’ This project examines the individuals who make up the party at different levels, including grassroots members, mid-level activists, candidates and MPs, and campaign professionals.

Audrey Girouard

Assistant Professor, School of Information Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Design

Project:  Exploring the usability of bend gestures for the visually impaired

Audrey Girouard’s research in human-computer interaction currently focuses on deformable user interfaces. Flexible devices offer the ability to physically manipulate the device to interact with a system. In this project, she will design and evaluate the use of bend gestures for visually impaired users, through the fabrication of her own flexible prototypes. She will compare bend to touch to interact with a screen reader application with visually impaired users. She hypothesizes that this will provide visually impaired users a novel and effective tool for interacting with mobile devices.

Susanne Klausen

Associate Professor, Department of History, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Project:  Forbidden Desire: Interracial Intimacy in South Africa during Apartheid, 1948-1990

In South Africa during the apartheid era (1948-1990), sexual relationships between whites and people belonging to the other official racial categories were criminalized with the passage in 1950 of the Immorality (Amendment) Act. Susanne Klausen’s research project examines the state’s attempt to stigmatize and police interracial sexual relationships, one aspect of the apartheid regime’s relentless efforts to safeguard white supremacy. Understanding the policing of interracial sex during apartheid will bring new insights to the study of the ways sexuality was profoundly implicated in maintaining white supremacist rule.

Peter Xiaoping Liu

Professor, Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Design 

Project:  Human Factors and System Control for Haptic Systems

Peter Xiaoping Liu’s interests are haptics and surgery simulation. With this award, he proposes to develop some principles, algorithms and tools that are essential to realize highly realistic haptic interaction with virtual environments. He will focus his efforts on problems, such as human factors and system control. The work targets the application of medical simulation and the anticipated results will be integrated and verified by the development of a surgical simulation prototype.

Paul Mkandawire

Assistant Professor, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Project:  Adaptation to Climate change among orphaned children

This study investigates the synergism between two global processes, HIV/AIDS and climate change, and its implications for children. Climate change affects all children but disasters that pose little or no threat to ordinary children could have shattering effects for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Using Malawi as a case study, the study examines personal, family and contextual situations that arise when children lose parents to HIV/AIDS, and how these circumstances shape exposure and recovery from the impacts of extreme weather.

John Oommen

Chancellor’s Professor, School of Computer Science, Faculty of Science

Project:  Research, Implement and Write a Monograph on “Anti-Bayesian” Pattern Recognition

A Pattern Recognition (PR) system classifies objects into a number of classes based on prior statistical information extracted from them. A pattern can be a handwritten word, a fingerprint, a DNA sequence or a vocal utterance. John Oommen works in the general area of PR. This project involves recognizing patterns based on the information contained in non-typical samples of each class. This approach, also known as an Anti-Bayesian paradigm, has been pioneered at Carleton.

Ken Storey

Professor and Canada Research Chair, Department of Biology and Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science

Project:  Biochemistry of torpor in ancient mammal

Some small mammals use torpor or hibernation to survive in seasonally hostile environments. Although not part of the human experience, an ability to induce torpor could have multiple treatment applications in biomedical science. Building from my studies of the biochemical adaptations supporting torpor in hibernating squirrels and bats, the proposed research reaches out to discover the molecular “roots” of the phenomenon with novel molecular studies of an ancient and primitive South American marsupial.

Sujit Sur

Associate Professor, Sprott School of Business

Project: In the Image of its Maker: Does Corporate Ownership define Sustainability Outcomes?

This project aims to undertake a comprehensive investigation of the ownership phenomenon to enhance the theoretical understanding the relationship between a firm’s ownership structure and sustainability related performance. This three-year project will consist of developing an ownership typology that provides a rationale for ownership’s impact on governance and performance, followed by development of a validated and longitudinally stable measure for ownership, and will conclude with an investigation of ownership’s relationship with key environmental and societal outcomes.

William Willmore

Associate Professor, Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science

Project:  Development of a BiosSensor for the detection of metastasized and circulating breast cancer cells

The Willmore lab has received the 2016 Research Achievement Award (RAA) from Carleton University for a project entitled “Development of a BioSensor for the detection of metastasized and circulating breast cancer cells.” The RAA will be part of an ongoing project developing a medical device to measure circulating tumor cells in the blood or lymph of cancer patients. The RAA will be utilized for the research assistantship of a graduate student involved in this project.

View Past Research Award Winners Here 

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