The prestigious award recognizes scholarly achievement and exceptional contributions to a field of knowledge: the number of department appointments does not generally exceed five per cent of the tenured faculty. A research chair comes with a teaching reduction of one course per year and $50,000 of funding spread over three years, enabling awardees to focus on furthering their scholarly work.
Rahim Moosa is a professor in the Department of Pure Math. He was awarded the research chair for his contributions to the field of model theory (a branch of mathematical logic). Moosa’s research focuses especially on interactions with algebra, geometry, and number theory.
“It is very gratifying to be recognised by one’s peers and colleagues this way,” he says. “At a practical level, the reduced teaching load means I will be able to focus more of my time and attention on my research programme, and the funds mean that I will be able to hire an additional postdoctoral fellow to join me in that work. The result will be a significant intensification of my research output. I am very grateful to my Department for nominating me, and to the Faculty for awarding me this honour.”
Pengfei Li is a professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. He was awarded the research chair for his contributions to the study of statistics, especially finite mixture models, asymptotic theory, empirical likelihood, inference with constraints, experimental design, and smoothing technique. The research chair funding will allow him to devote more attention to his current research interests: hypothesis testing in finite mixture models; inference with constraints such as exponential tilting and ordering constraints; construction of optimal fractional factorial designs and robust designs; and smoothing technique with application to brain imaging data analysis.
“This award gives me more time to think about some research problems I am currently working on,” Li reflects. He is also excited about how the funding allows him the opportunity to support motivated students and post-doctoral fellows, since “many of my research ideas come from discussions with them.” While Li expresses thanks to the Faculty as a whole for this recognition, he is especially grateful to his departmental chair, Dr. Changbao Wu, noting that he “is always very supportive for my research and career.”
Math Faculty Research chairs are appointed through the Math Research Office. Learn more about the award and the criteria for nominations and appointments at this link.