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UTSC faculty earn prestigious Ontario Early Researcher Awards

Professors Michael Inzlicht (above) and George B. Arhonditsis (below)

UTSC faculty earn prestigious Ontario Early Researcher Awards

Two University of Toronto Scarborough faculty members are recipients of the Ontario Government’s Early Researcher Awards, announced by Minister of Research and Innovation, John Malloy on August 17. 

Michael Inzlicht, a professor in the department of psychology, and George B. Arhonditsis, a professor in the department of physical and environmental sciences, will each receive $140,000 to further their research. In total, 11 researchers on their respective teams will benefit from these highly sought-after awards. 

Researchers across the Province will receive a total of $11.5 million for 82 projects, with 17 selected from U of T. The program is aimed at supporting the province’s early researchers who are making important scientific breakthroughs and creating the jobs of the future. 

“This is wonderful news for these two exceptional researchers and their teams,” said Professor Malcolm Campbell, vice-principal, research at UTSC. “Their research areas are quite distinct from each other and yet, each are exploring and working towards solutions for a healthier planet. These awards are highly competitive and this speaks volumes to the promise of these young faculty members and their research. Earning this recognition is also very significant for our campus and the role of UTSC as a leader in addressing critical global issues.” 

Inzlicht’s research studies the affect of prejudice on the ability of stigmatized groups to make effective decisions. His team is examining the specific economic and health consequences for these groups, stereotyped on the basis of their ethnicity, race, gender, or religion and how chronically coping with prejudice can indirectly affect the everyday decisions people make. Dr. Inzlicht’s research has the potential to improve economic and health outcomes around the world. 

“I'm extremely excited to have been chosen for this award,” said Inzlicht. “One of the main things it will allow me to do is to expand my team of researchers, including taking on new graduate students and post-docs. This will certainly help take my research in new and exciting directions.”

Arhonditsis is developing environmental management approaches to sustaining our fresh water resources using mathematical modeling. Ontario borders four Great Lakes and has more than a quarter of a million lakes, rivers and streams and rich groundwater resources. Looking specifically at Lakes Ontario, Simcoe and Winnipeg – three of the most degraded lakes in Canada – his team will investigate how well current models simulate the dynamics of freshwater ecosystems and how rigorously we assess what these models can or cannot predict. In addition, he will use novel statistical analysis techniques to project how the systems will respond if, for example, external nutrient loading or current climatic trends persist. His findings will assist in protecting our vulnerable fresh water ecosystems. 

"I was delighted to hear about this award,” said Arhonditsis. “It is a nice recognition of our research in the Ecological Modeling Lab. I have been lucky over the past four years to work with several excellent students. Their hard work is reflected in this award." 

The Early Researcher Awards Program will support the work of 338 researchers with a goal to ensure that leading Ontario researchers have the resources they need to build their research teams. The funding will also help create jobs for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates and technicians from across Canada and abroad. 

For more visit: 

Arhonditsis’ site

Inzlicht’s site

U of T news story about complete list of recipients

Government of Ontario media release about the program

© University of Toronto Scarborough