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.

View past winners.

2019 Research Achievement Award Recipients

Peter Andrée

Department of Political Science, Faculty of Public Affairs

Project: Civil Society Engagement in Food System Co-governance

Prof. Andrée leads the Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE) partnership research project that has worked with dozens of universities and hundreds of non-profit organization partners across Canada since 2012. His project builds on CFICE connections. ‘Civil Society Engagement in Food System Co-governance’ will examine the growing role of civil society organizations in creating and guiding an integrated National Food Policy for Canada.

Onita D. Basu

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Design

Project: Investigating Novel Biofiltration Media to Improve Drinking Water Quality

Climate change had led to increasingly unpredictable high rainfall patterns in Canada which lead to an increased release of pollutants in our rivers and lakes. Research into new treatment technologies to remove these pollutant spikes is of paramount importance. Dr. Basu and her research team will develop and investigate the capacity of a novel filtration media to produce safe drinking water in a resilient, sustainable manner to mitigate and adapt to the challenges of climate change in drinking water.

Mark Boulay

Department of Physics, Faculty of Science

Project: A Global Program for Dark Matter Detection

Understanding the nature of dark matter, which accounts for most of the matter in the universe, is one of the most important topics in particle physics. DEAP-3600 has been searching for dark matter at SNOLAB since 2016 and has achieved the most sensitive search for dark matter with liquid argon. This research program, making use of a new CFI-funded noble detector laboratory at Carleton, enables the development of an ultimate dark matter detector with about 300 tonnes of argon, and with a new global argon dark matter collaboration, will extend sensitivity by over a factor of 100, enabling the potential discovery of this dominant constituent of our universe.

Sarah Phillips Casteel

Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Project: Global Itineraries of Holocaust Memory: Black Victims of Nazi Persecution in Literature and Art

Black people’s experiences of Nazi persecution remain an understudied and poorly documented dimension of wartime history. Conscious of this invisibility, African diaspora writers and visual artists have sought to fill this gap in the archive and to integrate the stories of black victims into the collective memory of the Holocaust. Prof. Phillips Casteel’s interdisciplinary book project examines this literary and artistic corpus and considers how the memorial and testimonial functions of art become more urgent in the context of a neglected victim group.

Robert J. Coplan

Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Project: The Costs and Benefits of Solitude in Childhood and Adolescence

Although the experience of solitude is a ubiquitous phenomenon across the lifespan, individuals display wide ranging differences in their motivations and responses to spending time alone. Yet, we still know relatively little about the potential costs and, in particular, the possible benefits of solitude at different developmental stages. This award will help support an ongoing program of research more closely examining the causes and consequences of spending time alone from childhood to young adulthood.

Angela M. Dionisi

Sprott School of Business

Project:  Examining the Intersection of Workplace Sexual Harassment and Parenting: Parent-Specific Consequences and Parents as Possible Points of Intervention

This research seeks to build knowledge on the parental outcomes of workplace sexual harassment, and the potential role that parents play in mitigating the occurrence of sexual harassment. A quantitative study will investigate whether this mistreatment spills over into the family domain, negatively impacting parent-specific well-being, cognitions, and behaviours. A qualitative study will explore what lessons parents are teaching their children about sexual harassment, and by extension, whether the messages being communicated to youths who will one day occupy our workplaces, are ones that could encourage or counteract this social problem.

Burak Gunay

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Design

Project: Remote Auditing of Building Energy Systems Through Inverse Modelling

Poorly maintained, degraded, and improperly controlled building equipment wastes about 30% of the energy used in commercial buildings. These operational faults are traditionally detected through labour-intensive and invasive energy audits whereby an expert conducts walk-through surveys and collects and analyzes the energy use data. The proposed research will develop a remote energy auditing framework with algorithms to continuously detect and interpret a building’s energy use anomalies. The outcomes include a suite of algorithms for remote energy auditing in buildings and demonstration of these algorithms through a case study.

Rowan Thomson

Department of Physics, Faculty of Science

Project: Advancing Brachytherapy Radiation Treatments for Cancer

Brachytherapy is a widely-used radiation treatment for cancer involving radioactive sources within or near a tumour (e.g., in the eye, prostate, breast). Evaluations of dose (energy deposited by radiation per unit mass of tissue) are critical for planning and assessing treatments; however, hospital dose calculations are inaccurate (errors up to 90%). Prof. Thomson is developing egs_brachy, a fast and accurate dose calculation code for brachytherapy: this open-source software will be further developed and implemented for clinical dose evaluations.

Matthew Daniel Webb

Department of Economics, Faculty of Public Affairs

Project: Cluster Robust Inference With Binary Outcomes

Social scientists are often interested in evaluating the effectiveness of public policies such as tax changes and subsidies. These programs often change at the regional level which makes statistical analysis difficult, largely because the observations may not be statistically independent from one another. The research proposal is to develop statistical tools to make the analysis reliable, particular when evaluating yes or no type outcomes.

Alex Wong

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science

Project: Genetic Background and the Persistence of Antimicrobial Resistance

Prof. Wong’s research program focuses on bacterial evolution, with an emphasis on the evolution of antimicrobial resistance. His team’s recent work has examined the genetic mechanisms of resistance, and the consequences that resistance mutations have for an individual’s fitness – for example, many resistant microbes suffer a fitness cost in the absence of antibiotics. He and his team will investigate the impact of genetic background on the evolution of resistance. This work will have important implications for predicting the evolution and persistence of resistance.

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