Five York professors earn prestigious CFI research awards

Five York University professors are among a cohort of researchers across Canada to receive funding through the Canadian Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) to pursue ground-breaking research.

The federal government has invested more than $52 million in 220 new infrastructure projects across Canada, said Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan during the Aug. 15. announcement.

At York, Professors Jennifer Korosi, Magdalena Krol, Amy Muise, Jinjun Shan and Leah Vosko will receive funding totalling $698,063 for their projects.

“York is delighted to see that five professors – Jennifer Korosi, Magdalena Krol, Amy Muise, Jinjun Shan and Leah Vosko – have received awards from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund,” said York University’s Vice-President Research & Innovation, Robert Haché. “This fund provides researchers with the resources to acquire foundational infrastructure required to build their research. These awards help to ensure that York remains at the cutting edge of research infrastructure supporting our research programs.”

The JELF plays an important research support role for Canadian universities, helping them to attract and retain top talent – particularly early-career researchers – with the state-of-the-art equipment they need to excel in their field.

“Our scientists need the best tools and equipment for ground-breaking research and discovery and we are committed to ensuring they have them,” said Duncan. “Their successes will lead to an improved economy and will fuel an active research community here in Canada and internationally.”

The funded projects at York include:

Magdalena Krol (Lassonde) – Establishment of the Innovative Water Technology and Energy Research Laboratory, $150,000 from CFI

In Canada, the clean technology industry is currently valued at more than $10 billion and is set to double over the next five years, demonstrating Canada’s commitment to reducing fossil fuel consumption and shifting towards “greener” energy sources. These are sizeable development costs and offer an opportunity for research into water and energy sectors. This proposal outlines the infrastructure required to establish a unique laboratory at York University that will focus on developing a water-energy nexus where innovative technologies in the areas of renewable energies and smart water technologies are developed. The requested infrastructure will help Professors Magdalene Krol and  Ahmed Eldyasti establish the innovative Water Technologies for Energy Research (iWaTER) laboratory. The overall vision is for iWaTER to become Canada’s leader in research into water and energy technologies spanning different subdisciplines including wastewater, drinking water, groundwater, and surface water research. The iWATER laboratory will be a pioneer facility in energy and water technologies with immediate impact to regulators, landowners, and vendors, and long-term benefit for all Canadians.


Jinjun Shan (Lassonde) – York Research Facility for Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles, $171,968 from CFI

Autonomous unmanned vehicles (AUVs) have a number of potential applications in civilian, military and security areas. Compared to single agent systems, multi-agent systems are more effective in many complicated team tasks due to its inherent advantages. However, cooperative control of multi-agent systems also poses many significant challenges to engineers and designers. The requested infrastructure, York Research Facility for Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles (YU-AUV), will build a unique facility in the Canadian University environment capable of serving as a critical platform for emerging research on cooperative control of multi-agent systems. It will also provide a unique opportunity for training highly qualified personnel (HQP). These personnel, equipped with such advanced knowledge and unique research abilities, will be much sought after by the Canadian research community and companies. It is anticipated the facilities will have an operational life of at least 15 years and will provide a continued resource for the research and development in the related areas. It will also provide an experimental platform for collaboration between academia and industry. New technologies developed will be transferred to industry for new products and services. This will in turn bring more revenues to Canadian industry and therefore more job opportunities for Canadians.


Jennifer Korosi (LA&PS) – A facility for the interdisciplinary study of freshwater ecosystems and environmental change, $150,000 from CFI

This proposal requests laboratory and field equipment needed to establish a new facility, the Environmental Change Research Lab at York University, which will examine paleo-environmental change over hundreds to thousands of years to provide an appropriate temporal context for understanding, predicting, and mitigating human impacts on the environment. In particular, the infrastructure would enable a detailed investigation into the links between climate warming and accelerated permafrost thaw in northern Canada, and resulting implications for terrain stability and water quality. The research enabled by the requested infrastructure has direct implications for engineering practices and maintenance of critical northern infrastructure in sensitive permafrost landscapes, including the soon-to-be-completed Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway. The facility will also provide new knowledge on the impacts of climate warming on mercury and carbon cycling in Arctic freshwaters. Northern Canadian landscapes are experiencing a period of rapid environmental change as critical thresholds are crossed in response to recent warming. Consequently, research into the long-term trajectories, underlying mechanisms, and implications of permafrost thaw is both timely and beneficial for communities, industries, and regulators as they develop mitigation strategies.


Amy Muise (Health) – Sexual Health and Relationships Lab, $94,302 from CFI

Professor Amy Muise’s cutting edge, multi-method research examines the psychological and interpersonal factors that are associated with the maintenance of sexual desire and relationship satisfaction over time in couples’ relationships. Satisfying romantic relationships are vital for overall health and well-being, and sexuality is key factor that shapes the quality of romantic relationships; despite this, maintaining a fulfilling sex life and a high quality romantic relationship over the course of time is challenging. Muise’s research fills important gaps in our knowledge about how couples can enhance their sexual and romantic connection and more successfully navigate differences in sexual interest that couples inevitably face in long-term relationships. With CFI funding, Muise will acquire state-of-the-art equipment for the Sexual Health and Relationships (SHaRe) lab at York University. Her research plan is to: investigate the interpersonal factors that are associated with the maintenance of desire and satisfaction over time and during the transition to parenthood; assess the behavioural, emotional and physiological factors that are linked to the more successful resolution of a sexual conflict conversation; and, examine novel questions about the motivations and activities that are associated with desire and satisfaction in the context of couples’ daily lives. Muise’s research has far-reaching implications for the overall health of couples, families and communities.


Leah Vosko (LA&PS) – Canada Labour Code Data Analysis Infrastructure (CLC-DAI), $131,793 from CFI

The Canada Labour Code Data Analysis Infrastructure (CLC-DAI) is an initiative of academics in conjunction with the Government of Canada’s Labour Program. It will enable researchers to transform a large-scale administrative database that the Labour Program maintains into a research tool that can yield new insights into labour standards compliance across Canada. Charged with enforcement of the Canada Labour Code (CLC), the Labour Program collects administrative data on its enforcement activities in a database known as the Labour Application 2000 (LA2K). The LA2K contains a near-complete census of complaints submitted under Part III of the CLC, which sets standards in areas such as minimum wages, hours of work and vacations for employees in the federal jurisdiction. Because the LA2K was originally designed for administrative rather than research purposes, the data it contains are not readily amenable to advanced statistical analysis. The CLC-DAI will be unique in Canada, and will provide the technical interface necessary to allow researchers to analyze administrative data to identify common patterns of labour standards (non)compliance, establish models to predict the most likely offenders and violation types, and to evaluate the impact of regulatory efforts. With the active support of the Labour Program, the CLC-DAI is poised to yield research that improves working conditions for employees in the federal jurisdiction across Canada.

For more information visit www.innovation.ca/about/press-release/ensuring-canadian-universities-and-researchers-achieve-science-excellence#YorkU.

Courtesy of YFile.