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Two UTSC faculty receive award for innovative research

Bianca Schroeder, assistant professor of computer science, and Marc Cadotte, assistant professor of biological sciences, both recently received Early Researcher Awards from the Ministry of Research and Innovation. (Photos by Ken Jones)

Two University of Toronto Scarborough faculty have received awards to continue their unique research that will help benefit the Ontario economy and environment.

Bianca Schroeder, assistant professor of computer science, and Marc Cadotte, assistant professor of biological sciences, both recently received Early Researcher Awards from the Ministry of Research and Innovation.

“This award is a testament to the unique and innovative work being done by these two tremendous researchers,” says Professor Malcolm Campbell, vice principal, research at UTSC. “Not only will this award help in exploring two very important areas of research, it will also help these two prepare the next generation of researchers in their field.” 

The Early Researcher Awards program provides funding to new researchers working at Ontario colleges and universities as well as research hospitals and institutes. The award criteria includes excellence of the researcher, quality of the proposal, development of talent and how the research will benefit Ontario overall. 

Schroeder already has more than 3,000 citations to her research and has received numerous prestigious awards including five best paper awards at elite international conferences, a Sloan Research Fellowship an NSERC Discovery Accelerator Supplement and the Outstanding Young Computer Science Research Award from the Canadian Association of Computer Science. Her research focuses on creating more cost-efficient, greener data centres by addressing their reliability and energy use. Data centres house vast amounts of critical data from health records to business inventories, while large facilities can consume as much electricity as a small town.

“Creating more efficient data centres has become a very difficult problem because they keep growing in size and complexity, comprising millions of components,” says Schroeder.  “I’m really excited to continue exploring different aspects of my research, especially with the excellent team of graduate students here at UTSC.”

Cadotte’s research focuses on the role different species play in maintaining ecosystem function, particularly in urban environments. He looks specifically at how some species complement each other more than others and can contribute more to the overall functioning of an ecosystem. Cadotte’s project is unique in that it will look at applying the research to an actual ecosystem by testing how dog-strangling affects an urban green space. Dog-strangling vine is an invasive species that is causing a negative impact on the environment and economy in Ontario.

“Municipalities are managing green spaces often without knowing much about the overall environmental benefits,” says Cadotte. “A lot of money is also being spent on trying to control invasive species, so it’s important to understand and value the impact of these species to see if money is being spent wisely.” 

Cadotte says the research can also help inform policy-makers about how green spaces contribute to the overall health of an urban ecosystem, specifically through nutrient cycling, water flow during storms, pest outbreaks, the health of pollinators and overall ascetics.




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