Media releases

  • Community event to dig into Brock agri-food research

    MEDIA RELEASE: 24 January 2023 – R0005

    Strategies to boost the Niagara and Ontario agricultural sectors will be among the Brock research highlights shared at an upcoming community event.

    Taking place virtually Wednesday, Jan. 25, Brock NCO-Agri-Food Innovation Research Day will explore the findings of three research projects and discuss strategies such as applying innovative technologies, abiding by best management practices and sharing information with stakeholders to strengthen the sector.

    “It’s about positioning Niagara and Ontario as an agriculture centre of excellence in the world,” says Charles Conteh, Director of Brock’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO), who notes the agriculture sector is “one of the flagship economic drivers” in the region.

    Those speaking at and attending the Research Day, to be held online in three sessions from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., will include researchers, farmers and representatives from industry and government. To attend the online event, contact NCO Research Co-ordinator Carol Phillips at

    The morning session consists of a research presentation and panel discussion on the NCO report “Building Competitive Agri-food Production Systems: Recommendations for Accelerating the Adoption of Automation and Robotics Technology in Ontario’s Agriculture Sector.”

    The report is a culmination of a two-year project that included a survey, interviews and focus groups to better understand the barriers and incentives for farmers to adopt automation and robotics technologies.

    The lunchtime session will be a summary and wrap-up of the Niagara Agriculture Municipal Learning Network (NAMLN), which provided resources and information for local municipal politicians and staff on how best to support and promote the region’s agricultural sector.

    The afternoon discussion will focus on barriers to knowledge mobilization — the uptake and practical application of insights and information generated through research — that prevent farmers, industry and others from adopting best management practices in Ontario’s horticultural sector.

    Although all three discussions will focus on different aspects of agricultural development, “innovation at large is the common theme across all three of those projects,” says NCO Post-doctoral Research Fellow and agriculture specialist Amy Lemay.

    “There is definitely untapped potential in the region for agricultural innovation,” says Lemay. “With this Brock NCO-Agri-Food Innovation Research Day, we’re showing the connections between the three projects and bringing people with many different perspectives together.”

    Supporting these three NCO projects is funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), a five-year, $3-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector.

    The funds are being channelled to the NCO through Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

    What: Brock NCO-Agri Innovation Research Day, an online symposium where Brock researchers will present and discuss three projects funded by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

    When: Wednesday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

    Who: The NCO research team, including NCO Director Charles Conteh, Research Fellow Amy Lemay and NCO Associate Director Jeff Boggs, will present findings and recommendations.

    Panelists for the morning session include Steve Boese, manager of Innovate Niagara’s tech incubator; Chris Mullet Koop, farmer/owner of Elmwood Farms and president of the Niagara Federation of Agriculture; Kristen Obeid, OMAFRA weed-management specialist; and Bill VandenOever, design and project management for Bold Robotic Solutions Inc.

    Knowledge broker Bunmi Okuwa will provide an overview of the activities of NAMLN during the lunchtime session. For the afternoon session, research assistants Kaitlyn Carr, Shannon Ruzgys and Paige Fournier will present the knowledge mobilization project finding.

    Where: Microsoft Teams

    To register: RSVP to Carol Phillips, A calendar invitation with an MS Teams link will be sent upon receiving the RSVP.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Doug Hunt, Communications and Media Relations Specialist, Brock University or 905-941-6209

    – 30 –

    Categories: Media releases

  • Brock experts available to talk mental health research

    EXPERT ADVISORY: 23 January 2023 – R0004

    With conversations surrounding mental health amplified as Bell Let’s Talk Day nears, Brock University researchers whose work lies in this realm are available to share their expertise.

    Associate Professor of Health Sciences Pauli Gardner studies the relationship between mindfulness and positive mental health among university students.

    Gardner has also created an intergenerational service-learning project called Through Their Eyes that matches Brock students with older adults to study features that make a community age-friendly. The relationships formed through the project have been shown to boost the mental health of both the student and senior participants.

    Research by Child and Youth Studies Professor Voula Marinos, Director of Brock’s new Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice program, focuses on young people with developmental disabilities and mental illness, and how their needs are addressed within Canada’s youth justice system.

    Marinos’ research also looks at gaps that exist within the forensic mental health system and legal verdicts that deem adults “not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder.”

    Associate Professor of Health Sciences Karen Patte leads a project, funded by a SickKids-Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Grant, examining ongoing and sustained impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic response — particularly related to school closures and different learning modes and protocols — on the mental health of Canadian adolescents over time.

    Associate Professor of Child and Youth Studies Danielle Sirianni Molnar is working to understand risk and resilience factors in health and well-being, with a focus on perfectionism in children and youth.

    As part of that work, Sirianni Molnar, Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Adjustment and Well-Being in Children and Youth, is exploring how perfectionism is related to mental and physical health in adolescents, parents and educators.

    With a part-time appointment in the Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Associate Professor of Applied Disability Studies Kendra Thomson’s research involves employees in the developmental services sector who work with people with intellectual and development disabilities.

    Thomson is studying a virtual acceptance and commitment training-based model intended to support the well-being of those direct support professionals in the sector.

    Brock University Associate Professor of Health Sciences Pauli Gardner, Child and Youth Studies Professor Voula Marinos, Associate Professor of Health Sciences Karen Patte, Associate Professor of Child and Youth Studies Danielle Sirianni Molnar and Associate Professor of Applied Disability Studies Kendra Thomson are available for media interviews about their respective work.

    For more information or for assistance arranging interviews:

    * Doug Hunt, Communications and Media Relations Specialist, Brock University or 905-941-6209

    – 30 –

    Categories: Media releases