Excellence in Research & Innovation

Girl peering through microscope

As one of Canada’s leading universities, with 25 active research centres and institutes and a side-ranging complement of Research Chairs, York’s researchers are working together with industry, government, community groups, not for profits and international academic partners to create new knowledge and discoveries that accelerate the development of cutting-edge solutions to today’s most pressing scientific questions and social challenges.

York has long-standing research specialization in areas ranging from space science and engineering, vision research and atmospheric chemistry to learning technologies and a wide range of critical social innovation and interdisciplinary research projects that help foster vibrant communities.

Excellence and diversity in research is central to York’s mission and is fundamental to the university’s ability to contribute to the economic, scientific, cultural and social health of our society. Our researchers work together with community organizations, government, other academic institutions and industry to ensure our research is mobilized for maximum global impact.

2015 Accolades


As reported (fall 2015) by Research Info$ource, York's external research income for 2014-2015 was $79M.

Canadian Institutes of Health Grants

Two York researchers received almost $1.4 million in operating grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Professor Emanuel Rosonina, Department of Biology for his research program on regulation of gene expression by protein sumoylation (SUMO)and Professor Thilo Womelsdorf, Department of Biology for his research program on how fast and flexible learning is achieved by the interplay of millions of brain cells that are in distinct parts of the brain and are not centrally controlled.

SSHRC Impact Awards

York Researcher Susan McGrath, School of Social Work, Faculty of LA&PS, was awarded a prestigious SSHRC Impact Award –Partnership for her innovative work in leading the Refugee Research Network (RRN) has resulted in a successful research partnership that works to improve the well-being of refugees and forced migrants and York Researcher Stephen Gaetz, Faculty of Education - Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub, was awarded a prestigious SSHRC Impact Award-Connection, for his leading work in youth homelessness.

$5M in Ontario Research Fund grants

York Researchers were awarded an Ontario Research Fund grant, valued at $1.45M and an Ontario Research Fund Research Excellence award valued at $3.6M, as one of 21 funded projects.

Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health

York launched the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health -- a catalyst for global health research that fosters social innovation. The Institute will create a platform for international dialogue and collaboration to conduct research that supports the co-creation of social innovations that address global public health focusing on the themes of global health policy, management & systems, global health promotion & disease prevention, global eHealth, global disability & human rights, global mental health and global health & the environment.  This initiative has been made possible by a transformational donation from Victor Phillip Dahdaleh, a U.K.-based Canadian business leader.

Ontario Infrastructure Fund Grants of $12M

Three York research groups were also awarded Ontario Research Fund, Infrastructure Fund grants with a combined project total of $11.8 million. Two of the projects also received matching funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. This represents a 300% increase over the last competition.

SSHRC Storytellers Award

Master of Arts in Theatre student Tanya Elchuk received the SSHRC Annual Storytellers award demonstrating how SSHRC-funded research is making a difference in the lives of Canadians in 300 words or 3 minutes. Tanya’s entry addressed ‘Cognitive neuroscience + acting: integrating methodologies’.

$3M in infrastructure funding

York Professors Michael Daly, Department of Earth and Space Science & York Research Chair in Planetary Science, Tom McElroy, Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering (ESSE) & NSERC/ABB/CSA industrial research chair in Atmospheric Remote Sounding & Regina Lee, chair of ESSE have received more than $3 million in infrastructure funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to support their research projects. Daly and his research team will use the funding to build a CAnadian Planetary Simulator (CAPS) facility and McElroy/Lee and their research team will use the funding to establish a state-of-the-art research facility for designing, building, characterizing and operating instruments and payloads for sub-orbital missions.

Royal Society of Canada Fellows

York Professors Marie-Christine Pioffet, Department of French Studies, Seth Feldman School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, Peter Victor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, and Leah Vosko, Department of Political Science were elected Fellows to the Royal Society of Canada. York Professor John Tsotsos, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, received the Sir John William Dawson Medal from the Royal Society of Canada.

An icon of a hand and money symbol

$5.6M in Discovery grants

Thirty-eight researchers awarded more than $5.6 million in Discovery grants from Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and 6 researchers received a total of $657,955 in equipment grants – a higher success rate than the national average. Five graduate students received a total of $384,000 in funding for scholarships and fellowships.

Over $10M in SSHRC Grants

In 2014-2015, York was awarded 2 Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership grants totaling $6.6M total project funding, 17 SSHRC Insight grants with total funding of $3.4M, and received 3 Partnership Development grants totaling $584,918.

Attracted $6.6M in scholarship funding

York’s KMb Unit supported research grant applications that attracted $6.6M engaged scholarship funding to York. York-led ResearchImpact grew to 12 universities with the addition of McMaster and UNB investing in institutional supports for knowledge mobilization and connected internationally to the National Alliance for Broader Impacts (US) and National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (UK) starting the genesis of an international network of networks of universities committed to maximizing the economic and social impacts of research.

Royal Society Elections

York Professors Mark Jurdjevic, Department of History, Fuyuki Kurasawa, Department of Sociology and Kristin Andrews, Department of Philosophy were elected to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Professor Sampa Bhadra, Department of Physics & Astronomy is on the Tokai to Kamioka (T2K) team that received the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for "fundamental discovery of neutrino oscillations, revealing a new frontier beyond, and possibly far beyond, the standard model of particle physics.”

CREATE Grants totaling $3.3M

York Professors James Elder, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Department of Psychology and Jimmy Huang, School of Information Technology have received a total of $3.3 million through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Grants Program. Elder will will lead a program in Data Analytics and Visualization (DAV) and Huang will lead the Advanced Disaster, Emergency and Rapid Response Simulation (ADERSIM).

Sherman Health Science Research Centre

In September 2010, York University opens the Sherman Health Sciences Research Centre, which has transformed a former hockey arena into a state-of-the-art research facility that is the class of its field in Canada. It brings scientists studying the brain and vision, biomechanics, virtual reality and robotics together under one roof.

World-Class Leaders

From Canada Research Chairs to Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, York's researchers include many pioneers and leaders in their respective fields. Their innovative and important research is helping us to better understand the world while responding to the most pressing health and medical, scientific, social and creative challenges facing Canada and the world.

Follow the link to learn more about our researchers.