Brock University is awarded new Canada Research Chair position

Brock University has gained a new Canada Research Chair (CRC), bringing the number of Brock’s CRC allocations to 14.

“This is another great illustration of Brock University’s research depth,” says Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon. “Canada Research Chairs are nationally recognized as outstanding experts in their field, building research and mentorship networks while contributing knowledge, understanding and solutions to Canadian society and beyond.”

It is not known yet what the research title for the new Chair will be. Hiring units in all Faculties have until Monday, May 3 to submit proposals for scholarly areas for this new Chair and for an existing allocation that will become available when a current Chair reaches the end of the term in the position.

Later in the year, advertisements for the two positions will be posted internally and externally.

The recruitment of Chairs is guided by the CRC program’s equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) requirements and practices, notes Associate Vice-President, Research Michelle McGinn, who co-ordinates the implementation of CRC policies and practices at Brock.

Among the requirements is an action plan. The CRC secretariat has accepted Brock University’s EDI Action Plan.

“Pursuing excellent, innovative and impactful research is a key component of Brock’s strategic plan,” says McGinn. “We are excited about recruiting scholars who contribute to Brock’s strategic priority of fostering inclusivity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization.”

The federal government’s $295 million-a-year CRC program “stands at the centre of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world’s top countries in research and development,” says the program’s website.

Some 2,285 CRC positions are found in eligible institutions across the country, fostering research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences.

Three federal government bodies — referred to as the ‘Tri-Agencies’ — fund and support the CRC program: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

In Brock’s case, CIHR is supporting the new position.

“Building CIHR-related research capacity was a priority for many researchers who contributed ideas to the 2018 Strategic Plan process,” says Kenyon. “This new CRC brings to three the number of CIHR Chairs that Brock has secured since then, largely due to an increase in the value of CIHR awards made to Brock researchers between 2017 and 2020.”

Institutions such as Brock University are awarded a number of CRC positions based on the amount of funding the institution has received from CIHR, SSHRC and NSERC grants in the previous three years.

Universities nominate candidates in one of two categories: Tier 1, a seven-year term for “outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields”; and Tier 2, a five-year term for “exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field.”

An external body of peers and experts confirms the nominations. Brock’s new CIHR Chair is in the Tier 2 category.

CRCs “improve our depth of knowledge and quality of life, strengthen Canada’s international competitiveness, and help train the next generation of highly skilled people through student supervision, teaching and the co-ordination of other researchers’ work,” says the CRC website.

At the moment, eight researchers at Brock are active CRCs:

  • Julia Baird, Assistant Professor at the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC): CRC in Human Dimensions of Water Resources and Water Resilience (Tier 2)
  • Karen Campbell, Assistant Professor of Psychology, CRC in Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging (Tier 2)
  • Vincenzo De Luca, Professor of Biological Sciences, CRC in Plant Biotechnology (Tier 1)
  • Andrea Doucet, Professor of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies, CRC in Gender, Work, Care and Community (Tier 1)
  • Val Fajardo, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, CRC in Tissue Remodelling and Plasticity throughout the Lifespan (Tier 2)
  • Michael Holmes, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, CRC in Neuromuscular Mechanics and Ergonomics (Tier 2)
  • Tomas Hudlický, Professor of Chemistry, CRC in Organic Synthesis and Biocatalysis (Tier 1)
  • Wendy Ward, Professor of Kinesiology, CRC in Bone and Muscle Development (Tier 2)

Candidates for six allocations are awaiting confirmation through the national peer review process. Those six plus the latest recruitment launched to fill the remaining two open allocations will bring the total to 14 Chairs at Brock. These Chairs are expected to be announced in the coming months and next year.

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