Lab Canada

$700,000 Killam Fellowship winners announced

Ottawa, ON – The Canada Council for the Arts this morning announced the recipients of the 2014 Killam Research Fellowships. With these fellowships, the researchers will be able to advance research in a wide range of areas including low-cost production of renewable energy, particle physics and genomics, as well as key questions in surveillance and conflicts of interest.

The Canada Council for the Arts, which administers the fellowships, says the five successful applicants are Manuella Vincter, Mario Leclerc, Stephen George Withers, Kevin Haggerty, and Lionel Smith.

The fellowships are each worth $70,000 per year over two years, which is paid directly to the recipients’ universities. The fellowships release the recipients from their teaching and administrative activities so they may pursue independent research over the two-year period. The selected projects are chosen by the national Killam Selection Committee, comprised of 15 eminent scientists and scholars representing a broad range of disciplines.

Recipient and project details:

Two years ago, researchers with the ATLAS Experiment at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) discovered a new type of matter consistent with the long sought-after Higgs boson, a particle whose existence would explain how matter acquires mass. But is it the Higgs boson as predicted by the Standard Model of Particle Physics? Carleton University’s Manuella Vincter, a participant in the 2012 discovery, will undertake a project that will further elucidate this key question in physics.

With his project, New Chemistry for Solar Energy, Mario Leclerc, Université Laval, will address one of the most crucial problems of our societies: the low-cost production of a renewable source of energy. His research group will work on a unique polymerization method to develop efficient and printable polymeric semiconductors. This fast moving and highly competitive research area is considered to be one of the most promising ways to lower the cost of the energy generated by solar cells.

Stephen George Withers, University of British Columbia, is a world leader in the emerging field of engineering carbohydrate-modifying enzymes. He proposes a creative and original approach in his project, Development and Use of Ultra-High-Throughput Screens for Directed Evolution and Metagenomics. He will go beyond the engineering of known enzymes and develop techniques that will enable the discovery of unknown enzymes for their subsequent modification. The products deriving from this project will have the potential for industrial application in disease fighting therapeutics.

For a decade, Kevin Haggerty, University of Alberta, has been studying the quickly rising culture of surveillance and the social, political and ethical concerns it raises for Western societies. His Killam Research Fellowship will allow for the synthesis of his research for his forthcoming work entitled In Sight: Making Sense of our Surveillance Society, which will bring a nuanced perspective to the public debates on this subject.

Lionel Smith, McGill University, is the director of the Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law and a leading voice in the current debates on fiduciary obligations. His project, Conflicts of Interest and Fiduciary Obligations, will advance the collective understanding of the law in this area.