Seven researchers from across the disciplines have earned Early Researcher Awards to advance their work – a collective investment of nearly $1 million from the Province of Ontario.
The projects range from dance technologies to help treat people with Parkinson's disease to neuroscience research to understand how exercise promotes brain function and reduces the risk of dementia to research that will encourage the sustainable use of treated wastewater and wastewater biosolids in Ontario.
The awards are designed to help recently appointed researchers – those having held a full-time faculty appointment for less than five years – build their research teams of undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates, and technicians. The goal of the program is to improve Ontario's ability to attract and retain the best and brightest research talent.
Each Early Researcher Award (ERA) garners $100,000 from the provincial government, and is matched by an additional $50,000 by the university. The government also provides up to $40,000 for indirect costs.
Rob Baker, McMaster's vice-president, research, recognizes the value of the awards and their proven track record in helping researchers move their work to the next level.
"It's that initial leg-up that's so critical to the success of one's research program and these awards allow our researchers to build the requisite capacity to continue on their path and position them for future investments," he says. "The government is wise to invest in these early projects and our new ERAs deserve enormous recognition," he added, noting the rigorous peer review process which involves Canadian academic and industry experts.
Chosen on their research excellence and its strategic value to Ontario, McMaster's newest ERAs include:
Emmanuel Guindon, assistant professor, Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact
Project title: Fiscal policy and population health: the case of tobacco control
Jennifer Heisz, assistant professor, Kinesiology
Project title: Brain health in aging: Understanding how exercise promotes brain function to reduce the risk of dementia
Michelle Kho, assistant professor, School of Rehabilitation Science
Project title: Early exercise strategies in critically ill patients to accelerate recovery
Younggy Kim, assistant professor, Civil Engineering
Project title: Heavy metal removal using microbial electrochemistry
Matthew Miller, assistant professor, Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences
Project title: Understanding the generation and function of broadly-protective antibody responses against influenza A virus
Matthew Woolhouse, assistant professor, Music Cognition and Music Theory
Project title: Creating dance technologies for people with Parkinson's disease
Marisa Young, assistant professor, Sociology
Project title: Family-Friendly Community Resources for Better Balance
Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, Reza Moridi, announced the awards as part of a province-wide investment intended to sharpen Ontario's competitive edge by fostering discoveries, novel technologies, and new treatments, and to support high quality, knowledge-based jobs for Ontarians.