Carleton University has received more than $11 million in funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) in the form of Discovery Grants, scholarships and fellowships to support leading researchers in diverse areas, including public safety and cybersecurity, cognition, biology, physics and income inequality.

“The faculty at Carleton continues to conduct cutting-edge research as they further develop leadership in their fields,” said Rafik Goubran, vice-president (Research and International). “NSERC’s generous funding enables Carleton researchers to pursue work that will have a significant global impact.”

  • Carleton’s renowned physics team received more than $2.5 million from NSERC. Prof. Heather Logan’s project, Higgs Sector Extensions and Their Constraints, received a Subatomic Physics (SAP) Discovery Grant. The project will examine exotic extensions of the Higgs sector, the set of particles responsible for the generation of mass. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN first discovered the physical manifestation of a Higgs boson in 2012.
  • Roslyn Dakin, a professor in Carleton’s Department of Biology, is focused on the study of sensory, motor and decision-making rules that guide dynamic animal behaviour like flight, which is physiologically challenging and critical for survival. Animals can achieve agility during flight that surpasses what can be achieved by science using current technology.

“Our research can inform bio-inspired autonomous technology and inform wildlife conservation for many declining birds, bats and insects,” said Dakin. “We use automated 3D tracking to monitor dynamic flight behaviours, and we develop new approaches to analyze data. This has resulted in internationally recognized discoveries of the visual and biomechanical mechanisms of avian flight.”

  • Carleton has long been a recognized leader in the area of public safety and cybersecurity and NSERC has recognized this by supporting Carleton researchers in related areas, including:

Abass Braimah, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, for his research on designing elements of civilian infrastructure that are resistant to terrorist attacks and explosions;

Jason Jaskolka, professor in the Department of Systems and Computer Engineering, for his research developing evaluation and assurance methods, techniques and tools for understanding and mitigating security threats; and

Xiaoyu Wang, professor in the Department of Electronics, for his project involving smart grids and incorporating distributed energy resource (DER) systems. This research aims to optimize and strengthen the electricity grid.

  • NSERC also invested in Carleton researchers leading the way in cognition research. Deepthi Kamawar, professor in the Institute of Cognitive Science and the Department of Psychology, received a Discovery Grant to continue her investigation into the ability of preschoolers to consider their future needs and wants, including the ability to save and put aside limited resources for future use.

“We see evidence for the value of these skills across a lifespan, beginning in childhood, as people regularly experience situations in which not thinking about their future leads to disappointment or distress,” said Kamawar. “Later in life, the impact of failing to think ahead is often much more significant, such as when sufficient funds are not saved for retirement.”

“Many people are concerned that income inequality is worsening. This research will enable us to have confidence in our ability to test for change in income inequality over time,” said Christopher Worswick, associate dean (Research and International) in FPA. “This grant also demonstrates the Faculty of Public Affairs’ leadership in the areas of statistics, economics and public policy more generally.”

Khalaf’s research will develop concrete statistical tools that will provide evidence-based inequality analysis, building on the fact that inequality measures are multi-dimensional.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019 in
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