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U of T Scarborough reaps rewards in research grants

RESEARCH GRANTS: Faculty members at UTSC garnered $3.6 million in awards from the country's major granting agencies.

Great showing in federal grant funding across all disciplines

by Mary Ann Gratton

Faculty members at U of T Scarborough have received more than $3.6 million in research grants awarded by the federal government recently.

A total of 34 researchers on our campus received funds in the grant rounds announced this past spring by both the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

“We’re delighted that our researchers have done so well in this highly competitive environment,” said Professor Mark Schmuckler, interim vice-principal (research). “Universities across the country submit applications to the granting agencies in high volumes, and so we’re very pleased with our research results this year. I’m particularly satisfied to see that our researchers excelled in the competition for NSERC Discovery Grants, which support and sustain pure research – the inquiries and pursuits at the very heart of curiosity and discovery.”

The NSERC grants support research in natural sciences and engineering, and these grants fall into two categories: Discovery Grants, which support ongoing programs of research (with long-term goals) through five-year grants; and Research Tools & Instruments (RTI) grants, which fund equipment and installations, through one-year grants.

Researchers from UTSC garnered $2.7 million in NSERC Discovery Grants, enjoying a stellar 79 per cent success rate in that category, up over last year’s result of 69 per cent. An additional $133,577 in equipment grants was awarded by NSERC to our researchers through  the RTI program.

The SSHRC grants are Standard Research Grants, which support research in social sciences and humanities, through three-year grants. Scholars in these fields at UTSC collected $765,000 in Standard Research Grants from SSHRC, with a success rate of 43 per cent on this campus, (up from 39 per cent last year) and significantly higher than the national average of 33 per cent.

“These grants are crucial to our research,” said Professor Mark Fitzpatrick of the department of biological sciences. “They provide vital resources to faculty members, allowing us to pursue scientific and scholarly work. Speaking for myself and others who have received funding in this round, we feel grateful and fortunate for the funds, which will help us to answer important questions, make new discoveries, and provide valuable research training to UTSC students.”

The number of successful applications increased this year, up from 25 last year. In total, we received $3,633,577 following the submission of applications last fall. Here is a list of the 2009-2010 grant recipients and their research topics. Award recipients are listed alphabetically under NSERC or SSHRC.


Jamie Donaldson – Physical and Environmental Sciences: Atmospheric and interfacial reaction dynamics

Kevin Dunbar – Psychology: An investigation of the network of brain based and cognitive mechanisms involved in analogy, creativity, and categorization

Suzanne Erb – Psychology: Interactive influences of catecholamines and corticotropin-releasing factor in anxiety responses and the reinstatement of cocaine seeking in rats: Role of withdrawal duration

Mark Fitzpatrick – Biological Sciences: Genetic analyses of allelic variation in cGMP-dependent protein kinase and troponin-1 and their effects on behaviour

Michael Goldstein – Computer and Mathematical Sciences: Anderson localization for dynamically generated and random potentials and applications

Rene Harrison – Biological Sciences: Trafficking of procollagen in osteoblasts

Graeme Hirst – Computer and Mathematical Sciences: Nuances of meaning, paraphrase, and argument identification in applications of natural language processing

Steve Joordens – Psychology: Memory: Familiarity, recollection, emotion and suspense

Kagan Kerman – Physical and Environmental Sciences: Biosensors for the programmed cell death (Apoptosis)

Herbert Kronzucker – Biological Sciences: Physiology and toxicology of cellular ion fluxes in plant roots

Julian Lowman – Physical and Environmental Sciences: Mantle convection in the Earth and terrestrial planets

Michael Molloy – Computer and Mathematical Sciences: Probabilistic graph theory and theoretical computer science

Matthias Niemeier – Psychology: The role of visual features in object processing for perception and action

Gabor Pete – Computer and Mathematical Sciences: Critical random systems. Quasi-randomness and quasi-periodicity

André Simpson – Physical and Environmental Sciences: Development of hyphenated NMR approaches to study ultra-complex environmental mixtures

Thomas Tidwell – Physical and Environmental Sciences: Synthetic and mechanistic studies of formation of novel beta-lactams

Greg Vanlerberghe – Biological Sciences: Alternative oxidase of plant mitochondria

Balint Virag – Computer and Mathematical Sciences: Random matrices and processes

Rongmin Zhao – Biological Sciences: Investigation of the molecular chaperone HSP90 in Arabidopsis: Its function in plant development, organelle physiology and biogenesis


Nathan Lovejoy – Biological Sciences: Microscopy and digital imaging tools for biodiversity research

Roberta Fulthorpe – Physical and Environmental Sciences: Biological safety cabinet

Frank Wania – Physical and Environmental Sciences: A gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer for environmental organic trace analysis


Sandra Bamford – Social Sciences: Legislating care: Kinship, fosterage and the state in North America

Daniel Bender – Humanities: Domestic exotic: Zoos and the American empire

Susannah Bunce – Social Sciences: Planning for urban community land trusts

Genevieve Dewar – Social Sciences: Adaptations to marginal environments in the Middle Stone Age

Elizabeth Dhuey – Management: The effect of finance reform on special education

Marc Fournier – Psychology: Extraversion, hierarchy formation, and social attention-holding power

Russell Kazal – Humanities: The regional and immigrant roots of American multiculturalism, 1890 - 1970

Michael Lambek – Social Sciences: Heterodoxy and the ethical imagination in the Western Indian Ocean, Switzerland, and Israel

Katherine Larson – Humanities: “Blest pair of Sirens…Voice, and Verse”: The rhetoric of song in early modern England

Samantha Montes – Management: Psychological contract breach and unmet expectations: An integrated model

Chandan Narayan – Humanities: Contrast maintenance and enhancement in the cross-linguistic corpus of infant-directed speech

Jason Wei – Management: Option trading and dynamics of option liquidity

© University of Toronto Scarborough