The University of Waterloo and the University of Strathclyde Transatlantic Funding Call Participants and Projects

Monday, April 11, 2022

The University of Strathclyde and University of Waterloo signed their first Research Agreement in 2017. Since that development, our partnership has been highly collaborative, with a joint colloquium in 2020 and now the Strathclyde/Waterloo Joint Transatlantic Funding Call. Waterloo International has been thrilled to steward the Fund with our colleagues at Strathclyde.

The five funded teams were selected from 35 completed applications, submitted by both researchers and professional services staff, bringing together over 100 colleagues in the process. All of the projects can be tied to the universities’ strategic objectives. Please find brief summaries for each team and their project included below. 

A diverse panel carefully weighed the applications based on a framework that considers the following for each application:

  • Demonstrated existing or recent collaboration between the two universities related to the key project themes;
  • Key elements of the project;
  • Primary outputs envisaged from the project;
  • How the project will create impact; and
  • How it will be sustainable.

Ten awards of up to CAD $20,000/£12,000 have been awarded in pairs, with Strathclyde and Waterloo each providing their side of the joint collaborative teams an award.

Waterloo International encourages continued collaborative activities with the University of Strathclyde. Other programs that are available to assist collaborative research relationships include the International Research Partnerships Grants (IRPG) – which lists Strathclyde as a Strategic Partner – offered through Waterloo’s Office of Research, or Strathclyde’s Global Engagements Funding.

If you are interested in building a relationship with your colleagues at Strathclyde, please connect with Eric Jardin, International Relations Manager (Europe) at for Waterloo, and Tom Foot, International Strategic Partnerships Coordinator at for Strathclyde, either would be happy to assist you.

Graeme WestJohn Zelek

Principal investigators: 

Graeme West, Reader, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Strathclyde

John Zelek, Associate Professor, Systems Design Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Co-Director of Vision Image Processing (VIP) Lab, University of Waterloo

Project title:

Explainable AI for Nuclear Core Component Inspection

Project summary:

Current safety inspection of equipment in the nuclear industry chiefly relies on human manual analysis. The application of automated techniques based on Artificial Intelligence is attractive in terms of speeding up analysis, removing potential error which is common in mundane inspection tasks and potentially improving the performance over what is currently achievable. The unsolved challenge of applying such methods to the nuclear industry is providing explainability, confidence and robustness as demanded by current regulatory standards. The project will simultaneously explore a knowledge-based AI approach that relies on captured human expertise as well as a data-driven learning approach that is able to learn patterns of relevant inspection data and robustly generalize to varying environments.   

John QuigleyEric CroisetJennifer RobertsAndrew SherlockPeter Douglas

Principal investigators: 

John Quigley, Professor, Strathclyde Business School, Management Science Department, University of Strathclyde

Eric Croiset, Professor, Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo

Additional project members: 

Andrew Sherlock, Professor of Practice, National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, University of Strathclyde

Jennifer Roberts, Senior Lecturer, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Strathclyde

Peter Douglas, Professor, Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo

Project title:

The Role of Hydrogen in Decarbonising the Steel Industry: Upstream and Downstream Opportunities in Scotland and Ontario

Project summary:  

Decarbonisation is a worldwide priority and hydrogen is attracting more attention as a means of decarbonising industries that have relied on fossil fuels. A key advantage of such a solution is the possibility of re-purposing infrastructure rather than condemning it to obsoletion in a zero-emissions world. The main objective of this project is to advance knowledge in evaluating the role of hydrogen in sustainably decarbonising the steel industry, both upstream (steel production) and downstream (e.g., forgings industry). More specifically, our research team, composed of three professors from Strathclyde and two from Waterloo, is concerned with identifying barriers (technological, economical, etc.) and proposes a course of action to remove them, in the context of both Scotland and Ontario.  

Laura PiacentiniSarah Turnbull
Principal investigators:

Laura Piacentini, Professor, School of Social Work & Social Policy, University of Strathclyde

Sarah Turnbull, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Legal Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Waterloo

Project title:

COVID-19 Justice as Penal Justice: Examining the Impacts of the Pandemic on Prisons in Canada and Scotland

Project summary:

This ambitious project seeks to understand and improve the outcomes for people who are incarcerated by examining how the COVID-19 global emergency has impacted penal environments. We aim: (1) to build on existing research to understand the new and ongoing substantial challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on prisoners, staff, and health agencies and practitioners, and in relation to systemic inequalities; (2) to develop comparative insights between Canada and Scotland on the impact of COVID-19 on inequalities prior to, during, and after a period of incarceration; and (3) to offer recommendations in the areas of professional practice and the wide range of community networks operating in and around prisons.

Duncan GrahamJuewen Liu

Principal investigators:

Duncan Graham, Professor, Associate Principal and Executive Dean of Science, Faculty of Science, University of Strathclyde

Juewen Liu, Professor, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Waterloo

Project title:

New Aptamer and Surface-enhanced Raman Scattering Based Biosensors for Detecting Antibiotics in Water

Project summary:

The abuse of antibiotics has caused many drug-resistance problems due to the development of resistance in bacteria. Monitoring the concentration of antibiotics in water is important for managing the problem of drug-resistant bacteria. This project aims to develop highly sensitive and selective biosensors for the detection of the main antibiotics currently prescribed. The Liu lab will isolate DNA oligonucleotides (aptamers) that can selectively bind to antibiotics, and the Graham lab will design surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) based biosensors for highly sensitive and portable detection. 


Marilyn LennonMark DunlopRoma MaguirePlinio Morita

Principal investigators:

Marilyn Lennon, Reader, Computer and Information Science, University of Strathclyde

Mark Dunlop, Senior Lecturer, Computer and Information Science, University of Strathclyde

Roma Maguire, Professor, Computer and Information Science, University of Strathclyde

Plinio Morita, Associate Professor, School of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, and cross appointment with Systems Design Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo

Project title:

Applications of AI in the Development of Public Health Solutions

Project summary:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has proven its ability for extracting important learnings and meaning from big data. Applying AI tools such as Machine Learning and Deep Learning in public health settings can help complete essential tasks and address significant challenges caused by global threats while maintaining a good quality of life. This project will research two areas of AI and Digital Health that are of shared interest between Waterloo and Strathclyde: smart device monitoring and analysis of complex medical data - both focusing on our shared interest of supporting older adults, exploiting large-scale sensor data and living lab co-design methodologies. Our programme includes a workshop at Strathclyde on Supporting Older Adults’ Health and Wellbeing with Usable Smart Home Technologies, a Complex Health Data Analysis and Visualisation Hackathon hosted at Waterloo and several small preparatory and follow up visits.