“The University of Waterloo has an international reputation for attracting top research talent. We congratulate these scholars on this significant award and welcome them to the University community as Banting fellows.  We look forward to engaging with them in transformative and impactful research” said Jeffrey Casello, Associate Provost, Graduate Studies at Waterloo.

Rita Orji portrait

Rita Orji, of the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, will focus on designing individualized purposeful and persuasive games to engage people with the purpose of promoting desirable changes in behaviour, such as exercising, making healthy food choices, saving energy, or dealing with depression.

“Rita Orji’s project addresses a priority research area from the University’s strategic research plan with its focus on health-related research, involving young people who are high-risk and vulnerable,” said Professor Chrysanne DiMarco, one of Orji’s supervisors at Waterloo.

She was a postdoctoral researcher at McGill University, a visiting senior lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Nigeria, and a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. She receives her fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Portrait of Olivier Roy BaillargeonOlivier Roy-Baillargeon, of the School of Planning, will focus on helping Canadian planners and policymakers counter urban sprawl in rapidly growing metropolitan areas by developing compact, multifunctional, pedestrian-friendly and transit-oriented living environments.

“His work will help planners develop strategies, and design and redesign our communities for the next 20 years, shaping the built form, taking into account our mode of transportation – including autonomous vehicles, and foremost addressing individuals’ lifestyles — aiming to promote healthier and more sustainable communities for Canadians,” said Professor Pierre Filion, of Faculty of Environment’s School of Planning and Roy-Baillargeon’s supervisor at Waterloo.

Roy-Baillargeon earned his PhD in planning from the Université de Montréal in 2015.  Prior to that, he received an MA in regional development and a BA in social sciences from the Université du Québec en Outaouais. He receives his fellowship from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Gordon Pennycook, a researcher who will soon receive his PhD in psychology from Waterloo, was ranked first among SSHRC Banting postdoctoral fellows. He is now at Yale University.

The two-year Banting fellowships are valued at $70,000 per year. The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program provides funding to top postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who will make positive contributions to Canada’s economic, social and research-based growth.

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