Five Carleton University research projects have received $578,000 in funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). The projects include new technologies for sustainable management of municipal solid waste, proactive forestry management, and research into autism and brain development, traumatic injury, and decentered governance in a digital age.

“We are proud of our dedicated researchers who tirelessly work to better our lives and communities,” said Rafik Goubran, vice-president (Research and International). “We would like to thank the Canada Foundation for Innovation for their foresight and commitment to funding projects such as these in the interests of improving lives and the world we live in.”

Amanda Clarke, a professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA), will work alongside colleagues Graeme Auld and Nathan Grasse to create the infrastructure required for research on decentred governance in the digital age. This research is important because of the diffusion of authority across government and many sectors of the economy, the dramatic increase in public participation in the policy process, and the rapid growth in public data available to examine the confluence of these forces.

“With this investment, our team will be able to draw on new analytic techniques and sources of data to uncover the otherwise invisible networks of power and influence that underpin digital-age decentred governance,” said Clarke. “This lab will be the first of its kind in Canada and it will provide a space for Canadian and international partners and students to conduct groundbreaking research into democratic governance in a time of complex and rapid societal change, and amidst growing concerns over the fragility of our democratic institutions and processes.”

The SPPA team leading this research will examine attempts to influence the policy agenda, the connections between organizations that influence decision making, the effects of technology on policy implementation and the potential implications of public participation on policy. Ultimately, this will answer research questions about who exerts influence at multiple stages of the policy process, as well as how this influence shapes public outcomes.

Mild traumatic brain injury (concussion) is a serious health concern for many Canadians. Repeated trauma is linked to a neurodegenerative disease with devastating health outcomes. While individuals at risk of suffering this injury often wear protective equipment, the prevalence of injury remains high despite contemporary equipment certification standards. Despite evidence suggesting that injury is due to deformation within the brain, we currently lack the tools to make brain deformation-based assessments of helmet performance.

Oren Petel, a professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, will use this funding to develop tools needed to modernize helmet evaluation and reflect realistic injury criteria. The infrastructure required is a bi-planar high-speed X-ray fluoroscope, itself an innovation, as it does not exist as a commercial product.

“We are excited to build these new imaging capabilities and develop our lab into a world-leading injury biomechanics research facility,” said Petel. “The funding will help build the fastest lab-based stereoscopic X-ray imaging capabilities in the world. This will improve our understanding of brain injury and working with our partners who will apply this knowledge in clinical settings.

“We will continue to expand our government, academic and industry partnerships to develop new tools that will improve helmet safety and the safety of Canadians.”

The infrastructure will deliver high-quality data required to validate injury models and enable new methods of helmet evaluation. The research has the potential to reduce the incidences of concussions and deliver economic benefits to Canada by developing tools to enhance product design.

Media Contact
Steven Reid
Media Relations Officer
Carleton University

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Wednesday, August 11, 2021 in
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