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.

2021 Research Achievement Award Recipients

Video of 2020 and 2021 Winners

Prosenjit Bose

School of Computer Science

Project: Construction of Efficient Geometric Networks

Suppose that 1000 computers need to be connected in a network. A direct connection between every pair of computers requires about half a million connections! Given a limited budget that only allows 3000 pairs to be connected, how does one place these connections to construct a network that approximates the behaviour of the one with a half million connections? This simple example highlights the essence of the problems to be studied with this award.

Sonia Chiasson

School of Computer Science

Project: Understanding and Increasing Diversity in Computer Science

Our long-term goal is to improve our Computer Science programs and we wish to take an evidence-based research approach to understand the problem and assess the impact of any changes we undertake. With this project, we will collect baseline data through observation, surveys, interviews with students, TAs, staff, and faculty to assess our programs, then we will devise and implement strategies for improving retention, equity, diversity, and inclusivity within Computer Science at Carleton.

Cynthia Cruickshank

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Project: Best Use of Coconuts: Pina Coladas or Saving Energy?

Buildings account for 28% of Canada’s total energy consumption and 22% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, two-thirds of which are attributed to space heating and cooling demands. Phase change materials (PCMs) are a novel heat energy storage technology that can significantly reduce the energy required to heat and cool buildings. This research project will examine sustainable PCMs such as coconut oil and soy oil in their suitability for reducing energy, cost, and emissions in buildings.

Laura Horak

School for Studies in Art and Culture: Film Studies

Project: Mapping Trans Mediascapes

When transgender people create audiovisual media, rather than simply being represented in it, their worldmaking helps change our collective world. Mapping Trans Mediascapes will investigate the aesthetic, political, and cultural work of trans-made films in Canada and the US from the 1990s to today. As part of that investigation, we will build a collaborative digital tool, the Transgender Media Portal (transgendermediaportal.org), that combines features of IMDb and Wikipedia.

Andrea Howard

Department of Psychology

Project: Understanding Strategic Drinking to Get Drunk in the Post-Secondary Context

In undergraduates who drink alcohol, planning to get drunk and being willing to get drunk (with no specific plans) each confer risk for alcohol-related harms. In a semester-long intensive repeated measures design, this research will test whether there are different degrees of alcohol-related risk associated with planning to get drunk versus being willing to get drunk. Intentions earlier in the day may influence students’ same-day drinking motives, self-control, and protective strategies while drinking.

Victoria McArthur

School of Journalism and Communication

Project: Of Crafts and Code: A Longitudinal, Scaffolded Approach to STEM Outreach Programs for Grade One Girls in Ontario

Early exposure to STEM increases student interest in science and technology, yet girls as young as 6 are discursively positioned as outsiders in relation to these subjects, reinforcing the gender disparity from a very early age. This project addresses the limitations of previous studies through the design and development of a mentorship-based, scaffolded study for young girls, focused on a variety of entry points to STEM, including programming, e-textiles, robotics, and game design.

Jeffrey Monaghan

Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Project: Mapping Terrorism Trials: Racialization, Pre-emption, Insecurity

Canada has limited experience with terrorism cases, the overwhelming majority against Muslim men for aspirational plans. While other forms of political violence fall outside the terrorism label, this project explores how terrorism cases communicate the kinds of imagined social threats that resonate as terrorism within the police milieu. Against calls for broader terrorism labels, this research contributes to an interpretation of counterterrorism as less about governing specific harms and more about expanding securitarian politics and practices.

Isaac Otchere

Sprott School of Business

Project: The Price of Environmental Sin

Many firms with unsustainable business practices have been excluded from the portfolios of high-profile environmentally and ethically focused public investors as a way of ‘punishing’ them for committing environmental sins. However, little is known about the effectiveness of exclusions as a strategy in changing corporate behaviours because other large investors could fill the void left by the environmentally conscious investors. This study seeks to examine the effectiveness of ‘exit’ strategies in forcing the excluded firms to become more environmentally sustainable companies.

Hongyu Sun

Department of Neuroscience

Project: Monitoring the Revolution of Sensitive Neurons in Early-Life Epilepsy

Despite greater understanding and better management, epilepsy continues to be a major problem in childhood and often results in serious long-term consequences. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify novel mechanisms and specific treatment strategies. It has become increasingly clear that neurons in the brain are very heterogeneous. Using a unique activity-dependent labeling and manipulation system, our team will precisely target and monitor the epilepsy-sensitive neurons and determine their molecular underpinnings in early-life epilepsy.

Richard Yu

School of Information Technology

Project: Securing Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) have the potential to drastically alter the way people, goods and services travel, with benefits ranging from reducing accidents to supporting pandemic response. Despite the promising vision of CAVs, significant cybersecurity challenges need to be addressed before widespread deployment. This project develops innovative strategies to make CAVs resilient to cyber attacks and enhance the overall safety and security of CAVs.

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