Brock University is committed to fostering excellence in transdisciplinary research. This type of research occurs by bridging disciplines to come together to solve complex problems. They integrate methods and theoretical approaches to better tackle pressing contemporary issues and generate knowledge breakthroughs for our increasingly complex 21st century reality.
We take fresh, dynamic, creative approaches to identifying – and addressing – challenges in the world around us. Our transdisciplinary work reflects the reality that, for any complex problems, the total truly is greater than the sum of its parts!
Brock’s first major venture into transdisciplinary research was the formation of the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), which examines all aspects of the wine industry, from vine to table.
Since then, we have established five transdisciplinary research hubs that advance society in the areas of bio manufacturing, health and well-being, the environment, development across the lifespan, and social justice. Many of our other researchers have also formed institutes and research centres that use transdisciplinary approaches in their investigations.
Below is a list of research hubs, institutes and research centres that have been approved by Brock University’s Senate.
Advanced Biomanufacturing Centre
This pairs the cutting edge work of Brock’s plant biologists and chemists with biotechnology companies that develop this research into innovative products and services. Many of Niagara’s agricultural businesses will need to innovate to compete on the global stage in these challenging times. As Brock has research strengths in plant biology and natural product chemistry, new partnerships are expected to create jobs and economic growth in Niagara and beyond.
BIER is a transdisciplinary research group, based in the Lifespan Centre, formed in 2002 to highlight and foster Brock University’s niche expertise in electrophysiological research. Members are from various departments across four Faculties who have active programs of research using electrophysiological techniques to understand the nervous system in both human and animal species. The goals of BIER are to maximize opportunities for collaborative research and innovation, assemble state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, and provide techniques workshops and specialized training for students and highly-qualified personnel.
This advances scholarship at Brock University through enabling research utilizing high performance computing (HPC). BISC works to promote multi-disciplinary and collaborative research that uses high-performance computers to generate and/or analyse scientific and research data. At present its members are drawn from a wide range of disciplines within the faculties of Mathematics and Science, Social Science, and Applied Health Sciences. The principal executive of BISC, past and present, include researchers actively engaged in HPC as a necessary tool of their research. Brock HPC users are also at the cutting-edge of computational-based research in their fields.
This is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people across the lifespan, including older adults. As well, the Centre focusses on individuals with an array of health conditions, chronic diseases and risk factors such as obesity and type II diabetes. The centre co-ordinates programs, links researchers to groups in Niagara and partners with local, provincial and national organizations to set up networks of excellence. Researchers come from a variety of disciplines to address the biological, psychological and social determinants of health. The centre’s mission is to promote health, prevent disease and work to help rehabilitate/reintegrate people.
This brings together researchers from the Departments of Physical Education and Kinesiology and Community Health Sciences. They work with colleagues from other institutions to develop a greater understanding of the functioning and adaptability of muscle tissue. They also work to better understand how this tissue contributes to health and disease. In the past two decades, the role of muscle in overall health maintenance has proven to be significant.
Operated by Brock University’s Goodman School of Business, the Centre for Business Analytics (CBA) brings together faculty from various disciplines across the University, as well as alumni and industry partners, to support an interdisciplinary team of data analytics researchers, act as a source of expertise for both public and private sectors, and foster a training hub for the next generation of data scientists. The research hub strengthens interdisciplinary research collaboration on data analytics across the University.
This is dedicated to research and teaching that uses digital technologies for the examination, creation, transmission and preservation of human culture. Digital Humanities engages disciplines such as literature, language, history and the arts. Digital tools are used to support the development of innovative forms of analysis and new conventions of representation, narration and documentation.
This is a hub through which people, information, and action flow to integrate research capacity, evidence-based best practices, policy development, and implementation strategies related to key issues in sport and physical activity. The broad based membership provides a diverse environment of expertise and global perspectives for national and international development. The co-directors are James Mandigo and Philip Sullivan.
This focuses on community-based research in mental health and biological, social, and psychological adjustment across the lifespan. Staff develops research partnerships with the local community and shares with the community knowledge that comes from the research. Plans are underway to offer a new post-Masters certificate program in Clinical Psychology and Counselling, involving community-based internships. The increased contact between the community and Brock University due to the certificate program and new partnerships will assist faculty research and improve the area’s access to good mental health care.
Reimagining Literacy Futures
Situated in a picturesque part of the Niagara escarpment, the Centre for Research in Multiliteracies explores ways of expanding practices and understandings of literacy in the 21st century. With CFI-funded laboratories, the Centre investigates reading, writing, communicating, videogaming, studio learning, maker spaces, and, more broadly, expanding notions of literacy in digital and multimodal times.
This draws on the collaboration of faculty, students, colleagues from other institutions, and experts from the sport community. It acts in research and granting collaboration, community outreach, and international engagement to examine how individuals within organizations can build and utilize ‘capacity’ for the overall improvement of Canadian sport. As both a research and development centre, the CSC is the nucleus through which people, research, information, funding, and policy development flow to create and deliver ongoing skills-based training for large numbers sport volunteers with key administrative functions.
Centre for Vector-Borne Diseases
The Centre for Vector-Borne Diseases studies diseases that pose a threat to the health of Canadians and to domestic and wild animals and that are vectored by arthropods (mosquitoes, ticks, biting midges).
Certified General Accountants of Ontario Research Excellence Center (CGA)
This was developed in partnership with the Grape Growers of Ontario and the Wine Council of Ontario. Established in 1996, CCOVI is a successful, internationally recognized institute for the grape and wine industry. It focuses on research priorities of the Canadian grape and wine industry and the continuing educational needs of that community.
This brings together faculty from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities to research how society can best move forward in a time where the earth’s natural, social, and economic resources are being threatened. The basic challenge of “sustainability” is to map out ways in which people and societies can live within the limits of our physical and natural world to safeguard our planet’s life support system. Partners from across Brock University and beyond collaboratively examine issues of: water and environmental resources; meanings and measurements of sustainability; climate change, adaptation and transformation; science and public policy; and, social justice, development and health. The Centre embraces Brock’s privileged location in a Biosphere Reserve and draws upon the UNESCO framework for understanding, innovating, and measuring all aspects of sustainability through education, science and culture.
This encourages the development of research programs and initiatives in the Faculty of Humanities. It also generates greater public awareness of our scholarly expertise, as well as the breadth of our research and creative productivity.
This engages in research both on its own initiative and by working with other organizations. Its major research focuses on the Niagara area, but with reference to how the Niagara area is situated in the provincial, national, binational, and international spheres. The observatory produces non-partisan, evidence-based research. It fosters the sharing of research by diverse elements of the community who might be working on the same issues from different perspectives.
This seeks to investigate the status and limits of the “human” in an era in which multiple crises – global warming, superintelligent computers, genetic engineering, and massive species extinction, to name but a few – mark the precariousness of exclusively human-centred practice and thought. Our transdisciplinary research unit, in collaboration with other likeminded centres, institutes, and scholars across the globe, is committed to the idea that humanity’s perseverance in the coming centuries will require collaboration with agents (animal, vegetable, fungal, viral, mineral, and digital) besides those formerly classified as “human.”
The Centre collaborates with Aboriginal graduate and undergraduate students and university educators in research teams and educational programming that are grounded in Aboriginal epistemologies. The Centre serves as the conduit to link educational communities and provide the cultural leadership in education and research-related programs.