Ontario government awards $2.3 million for early career researchers and infrastructure

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Twenty-one researchers at the University of Waterloo will receive $2.3 million from the provincial government to build Ontario’s knowledge-based economy in Waterloo Region.

Kathryn McGarry, MPP for Cambridge, and Daiene Vernile, MPP for Kitchener Centre, made the announcement of 11 Early Researcher Awards (ERA) and 10 Ontario Research Fund-Research Infrastructure (ORF-RI) awards today as part of an investment in Waterloo region worth $3.6 million.

“This announcement will support infrastructure and help early-career researchers build exceptional teams to continue to lead the advancement of transformational research,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of Waterloo. “This commitment and investment in research at Waterloo contributes to new knowledge and opportunities, and supports a competitive economy for Ontario.”

The Ontario government awarded funds to the following Waterloo researchers and projects:

Early Researcher Awards

The Early Researcher Awards program recognizes provides new researchers with $140,000 each to build a research team.

Applied Health Sciences

  • Bryan Grimwood (Recreation and Leisure Studies): Tourism and indigenous livelihoods in Ontario’s near north
  • Joon Lee (School of Public Health and Health Systems): Personalized data-driven intensive care based on electronic medical data, patient similarity metrics and high-performance computing


  • Vijay Ganesh (Electrical and Computer Engineering): Solvers for security via a combination of machine learning and deduction
  • Mark Hancock (Management Sciences): Game and interaction science: using principles from games to design novel interfaces that compel and motivate
  • Hyung-Sool Lee (Civil and Environmental Engineering): Leveraging advanced microbial electrochemical cell technologies for sustainable wastewater treatment
  • Stephen L. Smith (Electrical and Computer Engineering): Flexible and adaptive motion planning for multi-robot teams


  • John McLevey (Sociology and Legal Studies): Information and idea diffusion in an open source collaboration network: The case of Linux kernel developers
  • Derek T. Robinson (Geography and Environmental Management): Integrating drones and simulation to estimate the impacts of climate, technology and policy on Ontario farming


  • Luke Jamison Postle (Combinatorics and Optimization): Maximum average degree, chromatic number and the 4-flow conjecture


  • Brian Kendall (Earth and Environmental Sciences): Economic and environmental implications of ancient ocean chemistry in sedimentary basins containing Ontario's major reservoirs of shale gas
  • Graham Murphy (Chemistry): Development of new fluorination strategies with applications in medicinal chemistry

Ontario Research Fund – Research Infrastructure (ORF-RI) awards

The ORF-RI fund helps support infrastructure needs such as equipment and modern facilities.

Applied Health Sciences

  • Steven Fischer (Kinesiology): Biomechanical determinants of occupational performance ($100,000)


  • Amir Khandani (Electrical and Computer Engineering): Infrastructure for 5G wireless cellular networks and Internet of Things ($75,000)
  • Michael Pope (Chemical Engineering): Facility for in situ characterization of next-generation electrochemical devices ($50,000)
  • Aiping Yu (Chemical Engineering): Development of advanced nanostructured graphene materials for clean energy storage ($50,000)
  • Lan Wei (Electrical and Computer Engineering): A versatile multi-physics device and circuit characterization and testing platform ($125,000)


  • Sarah Burch (Geography and Environmental Management): Sustainability Policy Research on Urban Transformations (SPROUT) lab ($40,000)


  • Tamer Özsu (David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science): Scaling the cluster computing infrastructure for scalable big data management and analysis ($132,025)


  • Paul Craig (Biology): Integrative responses of fish to environmental stressors ($120,000)
  • Praveen Nekkar Rao (School of Pharmacy): Pharmaceutical therapies for Alzheimer's disease ($26,800)
  • Benjamin Thompson (School of Optometry and Vision Science): Non-invasive stimulation of the human visual cortex ($100,000)

About the University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo is Canada’s top innovation university. With more than 36,000 students we are home to the world's largest co-operative education system of its kind. Our unmatched entrepreneurial culture, combined with an intensive focus on research, powers one of the top innovation hubs in the world. Find out more at uwaterloo.ca


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Pamela Smyth
University of Waterloo

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