Category Research spotlights

Dr. Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé Launches a Podcast on Security and Defense

Conseils de sécuritéDr. Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé of the Department of Politics and International Studies, together with Thomas Juneau of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, recently launched a podcast called Conseils de sécurité.

In the first episode, they discussed United Nations (UN), United-States, China and human rights with François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada. In the second episode, they received Daniel Jean, former National Security Advisor under Premier Trudeau, to talk about threats in Canada, intelligence, UN, and negotiations in North Korea and Haiti.

If this podcast is a novel way for Dr. Martin-Brûlé to disseminate her knowledge, she has always been committed on having an impact on the professional, local, and global communities, and many of her projects put knowledge into action. For example, she trained future women leaders in UN Peace Operations and women from the Sahel countries to fully participate to the current and future peace processes. Moreover, her current work will result in policy recommendations to the UN and to the Canadian Department of National Defense.

When asked why she launched this podcast and what are her expectations, Dr. Martin-Brûlé answered: This new podcast is the first in Canada to focus on security and defense issues in French. With this podcast, we aim to reach out to a wide audience notably of Francophones and Francophiles in Canada and abroad.  It is also a tool of knowledge mobilization and dissemination that we find useful to reach different types of audiences.  In this vein, we aim to invite scholars, but also practitioners from different fields:  national and international civil servants from government, international institutions and organizations, civil society, military, police. We thus want to discuss security and defense issues from a wide spectrum of approaches/angles. 

If you want to listen to the first two episodes, they are available on SoundCloud, on the CGAI Podcast Network.

Bishop’s Undergraduate Students Gaining Experience in Research Thanks to Mitacs

During Summer 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Mitacs launched the Research Training Awards, a new program providing opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to undertake a paid research training internship. In this Research Spotlight, our two BU RTA Awardees share their experience!

Catherine Moleski, Applied Psychology

Catherine Moleski

“I’m very grateful to have been given the chance to participate in a Mitacs research training internship under the supervision of Dr. Adrianna Mendrek. My project explores the relationships between self-compassion, body image, self-esteem, menstrual attitudes and eating disorder symptoms. It also asks those with lived experience of an eating disorder or disordered eating how they have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic: what have they found challenging? What has been helpful during this time?

To date, the project is going well! I’ve been through the ethics approval process, learned how to build an online survey for data collection, recruited participants, and have begun to analyze the data. Participants have been very generous and forthcoming with sharing their experience. Preliminary results show the emergence of some really interesting themes in terms of mental health and body image, both positively and negatively. I am looking forward to seeing what other themes emerge, and how they link with self-compassion and the other measures.

I have had a fantastic experience working on this project. The Mitacs internship has given me the chance to undertake from start to finish a project that has deep personal and academic meaning for me. The internship has enriched my academic experience by providing me valuable hands-on research skills, and I’ve discovered areas of interest where I might like to take my Honours thesis. It has also given me the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member, and I feel incredibly supported by everyone who has helped me on this project. Ultimately, I hope that the findings from this project can be shared with the wider scientific community in order to increase our knowledge of eating disorders, and how we might better inform approaches to recovery.”

Olivia Hewitt, Social Studies and Secondary Education

Olivia Hewitt

” This past summer I had the opportunity to work with Dr. David Webster, a history professor at Bishop’s University, uniting three areas of study, education, history, and international studies. The aim of the project was to collect, document, describe, and disseminate the archival records of the international movement in support of the independence of East Timor, covering the period of 1975-1999. I collected and scanned archival records, described them using International council of Archives standards, and shared the digitized records, and full descriptions, online, on the Timor International Solidarity Archive (TiSA), a web page based on the Access to Memory (AtoM) platform. TiSA shares digitized documents from the global solidarity movement which operated from 1975 to 1999 in diverse countries, including Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Japan, Portugal, the United States and Timor-Leste itself.

The project and research I completed this summer contributed new documentary evidence from multiple archives and make this evidence available to researchers and the general public, thereby contributing to the state of knowledge in this field, as well as making already-available documents and archival material more widely available. Overall, my involvement with the project has allowed for more documentation to be added helping the innovation of this online archive to become the leading international documentary evidence for solidarity for East Timor. My research focused on identifying and detailing files from a solidarity organization situated in Perth, Australia called the Friends of East Timor-Western Australia (FOET-WA). Additionally, I had the opportunity to select documents and write two articles on the most interesting aspects of my research. In my first article, I focused on solidarity activists and their experiences when traveling to East Timor during the mid-1970s to late 1990s. While my second article, which I am currently still writing, explores the ownership of a solidarity movement, emphasizing on the international movement in solidarity with East Timor.

Exploring this obscure but complex conflict that shook a major region in Asia has allowed me to broaden my view on international and historical global issues. As a student studying history and secondary education, with the hopes to become a high school history teacher, this project has allowed me to develop a greater understanding of the importance of research and the impact a solidarity movement can have on one small nation. I am grateful for this opportunity to have participated in this project and it has truly enriched my academic growth and experience.”

Increasing and Showcasing Knowledge Mobilization Capacity Thanks to the RESEARCH SUPPORT FUND, Research Impact Canada, and Future Skills Canada

The Research Support Fund (RSF) of the Government of Canada is a program that provides funds to cover a portion of the costs associated with managing the research funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Research Support Fund grants are based on the funding received by researchers from the three federal agencies in the three most recent years for which data are available. One major objective of the RSF is to help promote knowledge mobilization, the act of transforming knowledge into action. Bishop’s University is committed to knowledge mobilization, which is reflected in our Research Strategic Plan. Bishop’s student and faculty researchers contribute and must continue to contribute to the generation of new knowledge, to mobilizing this knowledge to relevant community partners and users of the research and, in doing so, contribute to innovation and economic development of the region, province and country.

This year, funds from the RSF are helping Bishop’s University increase the impact of our research through a membership in Research Impact Canada. Research Impact Canada (RIC) is a pan-Canadian network of universities committed to maximizing the impact of academic research for the public good in local and global communities. Committed to developing institutional capacities to support creating and assessing impacts of research, scholarship and creative activities, RIC develops and shares best practices, services and tools among their members. Bishop’s involvement with the network will connect us with experts and provide us with education materials and funding to support and grow our institution’s capacity for knowledge mobilization.

With this recent inclusion to the RIC network, Bishop’s was provided an opportunity to support knowledge mobilization among our student population more concretely. Thanks to RIC and Future Skills Canada, Bishop’s is creating a fellowship opportunity for alumni of our unique graduate certificate in knowledge mobilization. This program will offer the awardees the opportunity of working over a five-month period with one of Bishop’s University’s Canada Research Chairs to assist in the mobilization and dissemination of their research. This program will provide an intensive training opportunity for our recent graduates who are transitioning into knowledge mobilization as a profession. They will offer our awardees with an opportunity to advance their applied knowledge mobilization skill set, enhance their portfolio and increase their competitiveness as they move into the knowledge mobilization job market, while enhancing the research impact and visibility of our Canada Research Chairs.

For more information on the RIC – Future Skills – Bishop’s Knowledge Mobilization Fellowships, please visit the Internal Funding Competitions page of our website. Recent graduates of the Knowledge Mobilization Certificate have until September 30, 2020, 16:00 p.m. to apply.

If you are interested in knowledge mobilization, you can visit the website of our graduate certificate. Graduates of this certificate will be appealing to employers such as government, NGOs and healthcare organizations, to name a few, and will have the necessary skills to introduce evidence-base new practices outside of academia.

Doing Research During a Pandemic: Dr. Patrick Bergeron’s Field Work

With the virus still present and the population slowly getting used to this new normal, we are in a phase of gradual resumption of activities. Last April, the Government allowed essential ongoing research in Health, Natural Science and Engineering. Currently, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies is working closely with the Research Ethics Board and the Senate Research Committee on a policy and procedures to oversee in-person research with human participants. Even with the health (and family) constraints brought by COVID-19, academics have adapted and continued, the best they could and as safely as possible, their research and creative activities. Dr. Patrick Bergeron of the Department of Biological Sciences is a Bishop’s University example of managing those constraints, while conducting research with animals.

In May, Dr. Bergeron and his team started their annual field work near Mansonville (Québec) for their long-term population study of Eastern chipmunks. The Chipmunk Project aims to investigate and quantify the effects of both genetic and environmental factors on physiological and behavioral traits. This ongoing project, in collaboration with researchers from Université de Sherbrooke and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), started in 2004. About 1800 individuals have been monitored through these years and it was thus essential to maintain basic data collection to continue this longitudinal study and avoid losing track of reproduction and populations trends.

Each captured chipmunk is uniquely tagged, sexed, aged and measured. Docility and exploration tests are also done, and samples are taken.

In order to comply to safety procedures, special measures were put in place. This year, the field team was reduced to a minimum, and only two experienced graduate students and two researchers (Dr. Bergeron and Dr. Réale, from UQAM), working independently, were collecting data. This is an important change from a usual field season, which could reunite up to 10 students and researchers. In reducing the size of the team, they had to work especially long hours this year, showing their dedication to the project and to research as a whole. Interactions between team members were also limited in transportation to the field sites, and no material was exchanged on the field. To ensure their safety, they each had a walkie talkie to frequently report to each other.

Dr. Bergeron has varied research interests in local fauna, studying eastern chipmunks and wood frogs, but also in pre-industrial human populations! He is a member of the BU Agro-Biodiversity Team, a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional research team studying how agricultural practices influence environmental quality.

To learn more about his projects, please visit his website.

Senegal, the African Slave Trade, and the Door of No Return: Giving Witness to Gorée Island

Bishop’s University contract faculty also widely contributes to incredible research in diverse areas of expertise. Dr. Dalla Malé Fofana of the Département d’études françaises et québécoises has varied research interests in discourse analysis, oral culture, language contact and phonology as well as education. At BU, he also teaches linguistics, grammar and French as a second and foreign language. Dr. Fofana recently published an open-access article titled Senegal, the African Slave Trade, and the Door of No Return: Giving Witness to Gorée Island in a special issue of the journal Humanities on contemporary discussions of ethos. His essay conjoins historical analysis with personal narrative, a style he describes as “scholarship of the personal”.

Opposite Dakar, off the coast of Senegal, lies Gorée Island, where, from the 15th to the 19th century, Africans were held captive while waiting to be shipped into slavery. In his paper, Dr. Fofana, born and raised in Senegal, explores the history of Gorée Island and its role in the African slave trade through his story of learning and understanding this dark part of history. He also shares with the reader how the image of a door, the Door of No Return, through which captives would leave the Island, losing everything, has haunted him all his life.

Recently, the Senegalese people have learned to speak more openly of their history. But, as late as the 1980s—the years of my youth and early schooling—the wounds of colonialism were still fresh. I contend that slavery had been so powerful a blow to the Senegalese ethos that we—my family, friends, and schoolmates—did not speak about it. The collective trauma and shame of slavery was apparently so powerful that we sought to repress it, keeping it hidden from ourselves. We were surrounded by its evidence, but chose not to see it. Such was my childhood experience. As an adult, I understand that repression never heals wounds. The trauma remains as a haunting presence. But one can discover its “living presence,” should one choose to look.”

Dr. Fofana also discusses the importance of not only speaking openly, but also seeing better, in order to fully comprehend the world around us. As self-expression is healing for the individual and the collectivity, he advocates for more African visual media representation. Dr. Fofana personal and powerful essay serves as a reminder of the importance of understanding each other, of being a community, which is essential in these strenuous and challenging times.

The Bishop’s University Foundation Supports Three New Student Funding Opportunities for Research

Thanks to the Bishop’s University Foundation, Spring 2020 was rich in new internal merit-based funding competitions, both for undergraduate and graduate students. The Foundation, through those awards, creates opportunity for our students to make their Bishop’s experience the most meaningful it can be, and supports them along their journeys.

Two internal competitions this Spring focused on the growing graduate student community at BU. The Graduate Merit Awards, valued at $5000 each, aimed to support returning high-performing students wishing to pursue their graduate training at Bishop’s. The Graduate Students Committee awarded five scholarships to this year’s applicants. Congratulations to Farnaz Orooji (Computer Sciences), Javad Omidvar (Computer Sciences), Medhi Zoghinia (Computer Sciences), Simin Li (Computer Sciences) and Yan Jiang (Computer Sciences). The Graduate Entrance Scholarships also aimed to support high-performing students enrolled in a thesis-based graduate program at BU. The contribution of the Bishop’s University Foundation has allowed for the creation of this program to an amount of $10,000 per scholarship, with $7,500 from the institution and $2,500 from the thesis supervisor. The Graduate Students Committee wishes to congratulate both awardees, Samuel Gagnon-Hartman (Physics and Astronomy) and Yan Jiang (Computer Sciences). If you missed this competition, please note that another round just started, and will be ending on July 31, 2020, 16:00. See the Internal Funding Competitions web page for more information.

The Research Training Awards provided an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to undertake a 12-16 weeks paid summer research internship. Those grants were valued at $6,000 per internship, of which a $3,000 contribution from the supervisor was required. Through this program, students will gain hands-on research and training experience, while building their research skills, project management skills and knowledge. Another considerable impact of this program is to provide employment to students during the pandemic. The Senate Research Committee would like extend their congratulations to Annabelle Chamberland-Dostie (Psychology), Anne-Frédérique Naud (Politics and International Studies), Cécilia Alain (English), Evelyne Verrette (Politics and International Studies), Isaac McNeil (History and Global Studies), Isabelle Chouinard (Environment and Geography), Kassandra Johnson Desnoyers (Education) and Xinyang Wang (Computer Sciences) for their successful applications.

In addition to these awards, Bishop’s University’s dedication to providing a vibrant and diverse educational experience will be supported by a more diverse overall funding package available to our students in the coming years.

The Bishop’s University Foundation raises and manages funds to help advance the University’s goal: the education of individuals to develop their talents and realize their leadership potential.

Nomination of Miles Turnbull, VP Academic and Research, as Chair of the Alliance of Canadian Comprehensive Research Universities (ACCRU)

Dr. Miles Turnbull

Bishop’s University is proud to announce the nomination of our VP Academic and Research, Dr. Miles Turnbull, as the next Chair of the Alliance of Canadian Comprehensive Research Universities (ACCRU). Established in 2011, ACCRU brings together small- and medium-sized comprehensive universities from across Canada, spanning all ten provinces, which combined represents nearly half of all Canadian Universities. ACCRU strives to be the voice to discuss the challenges and issues that smaller universities face. To learn more about their objectives as a collaborative whole, visit their website.

Serving the Bishop’s community as VP Academic since 2014, Dr. Turnbull saw his mandate renewed in July 2019 when he became Vice-Principal Academic & Research. A well-known researcher in the field of second-language teaching and learning, Dr. Turnbull has a strong record of publication, including several books and refereed articles. Dr. Turnbull believes strongly in BU’s focus on students and teaching as the core of our mission, and in helping the university to continue developing our reputation for academic excellence and innovation.

“This role will provide me a way to learn from and to further develop relationships with other like-minded institutions across Canada. As Chair of ACCRU, I aim to increase this organization’s visibility in the Canadian landscape as a way of advocating for research and creative activity at small and mid-sized universities. Bishop’s joined ACCRU in 2017 and since, I have found its work and networking opportunities to be quite beneficial for Bishop’s.”

Dr. Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise Receive a Knowledge Synthesis: COVID-19 in Mental Health and Substance Use grant

Dr. Catherine Malboeuf-HurtubiseAs time passes and the population is experiencing the repercussions of the COVID-19, it is evident that the pandemic is a risk to our physical health, but also to our mental health. Indeed, news reports about loss of life, combined with social and physical distancing, can have negative impact on mental health for many people, which can lead to diverse coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse. To study the impacts of the virus on mental health, the Government of Canada launched the “COVID-19 and Mental Health Initiative”. This program includes competitions focusing on building and synthesizing the evidence base to address gaps in the mental health and substance use response to COVID-19, and the identification of relevant interventions.

Bishop’s University will be actively participating in this Initiative thanks to Dr. Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise of the Department of Psychology.  Dr. Malboeuf-Hurtubise, together with Dr. Chantal Camden from the École de réadaptation de la Faculté de médecine et des sciences de la santé de l’Université de Sherbrooke and researcher at the Centre de recherche du CHUS, will be leading a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary team from Bishop’s University, Université de Sherbrooke, McGill University, Université de Montréal and Université de Trois-Rivières. The Knowledge Synthesis: COVID-19 in Mental Health and Substance Use grant, awarded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), will enable knowledge syntheses and knowledge mobilization plans to support health services related to mental health, and to offer accessible evidence to decision makers at different level, in a rapid timeframe.

They will be reviewing the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of children aged 5-12 years old, with a particular emphasis on handicapped or chronically ill children, with the goal of finding promising avenues of intervention. Recent surveys indicate that children are also suffering from the lack of social interaction and changes in their routine caused by the pandemic. School-age children, especially those with handicaps or chronic illnesses, can suffer from anxiety and other mental health problems. This research will help supporting all Canadian parents and children through the pandemic and its repercussions.

Congratulations to Dr. Malboeuf-Hurtubise and this very talented team of researchers!

To help maintain your mental health during the pandemic, setting routines and picking up hobbies can be of great help. As for Dr. Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise, she focused on painting (and family and research, of course)! If you want to see her “Quarantine” art series, visit her Twitter account @Mindful_Cat

Postdoctoral Fellow in Physics Joins the Editorial Board of a High Impact Journal

Dr. Andrea GiustiDr. Andrea Giusti, postdoctoral fellow of the Department of Physics and Astronomy under the supervision of Dr. Valerio Faraoni, is joining the Editorial Board of Fractional Calculus and Applied Analysis (FCAA) as an Assistant Editor. FCAA is a specialized international journal for theory and applications of Calculus and is a well-respected journal in the field. Dr. Giusti, who defended his PhD only one and a half years ago, is also on the Editorial Board of the European Physical Journal Plus.

With his expertise in mathematical modelling, relativity and gravitational waves, Dr. Giusti’s fellowship at Bishop’s University will allow him to collaborate with the STellar Astrophysics and Relativity Interdisciplinary Group (STAR II) to research gravitational wave physics and astronomy. This Team was recently awarded one of seven Bishop’s Interdisciplinary Team Grants for their collaborative and interdisciplinary research.

Dr. Andrea Giusti is also teaching a graduate course (Advanced General Relativity, Theoretical Topics) pro bono, has helped co-supervise a graduate student, and has been an internal examiner for an MSc defense, contributing to Bishop’s students training.

Congratulations Dr. Giusti, Bishop’s is proud to have such an engaged scholar within our community!

Dr. Lorne Nelson and Dr. Russell Butler Receive the 2020 Discovery Grant

Dr. Nelson and Dr. Butler have both received funding from the Discovery Grants Program from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). This program, awarded for five years, supports ongoing research programs with long-term goals in addition to recognizing creativity and innovation.

Dr. Lorne Nelson has been a member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy since 1988. His research focuses on interacting binary star systems, stellar evolution, exoplanets, dwarf stars and supernovae. With the financial help of the NSERC Discovery Grant, Dr. Nelson will contribute to the creation of a unified picture for the formation, evolution, and final states of various types of compact stars in binaries. “Binary stars are extremely numerous and consist of two stars that orbit each other. A significant fraction of those have been in such close proximity to each other that one star has partially cannibalized its companion. Some of these stars can eventually evolve to become truly exotic binaries such as ones that orbit each other every 7 minutes! It is these binary stars that will be the primary observational targets of the next generation of gravitational wave telescopes, which itself is a whole new field of astronomy. Like many areas of science, astrophysics is flourishing!” says Dr. Nelson. Another objective of his team will be to discover and analyze stars and exoplanets using data from the Kepler, K2, and the recently launched TESS missions.

Dr. Russell Butler, of the Department of Computer Science, is an assistant professor at Bishop’s University since July 2019. His research focuses on bioinformatics, image processing, biometrics and machine learning. In addition to his NSERC Discovery Grant, Dr. Russell Butler also obtained the Discovery Launch Supplement for Early Career Researchers. This supplement is awarded to early career researchers and provides timely resources as they establish their research program. With the financial help of the NSERC Discovery Grant and the NSERC Discovery Launch Supplement, Dr. Butler will investigate the extent to which smartwatch-derived heartrate variability can predict cerebral and cardiac variability across a healthy population, demonstrating the feasibility of using smartwatches to predict more expensive measures such as magnetic resonance imaging, and eventually, give early warning signs of cerebrovascular and cardiovascular incidents.

Dr. Lorne Nelson
Dr. Lorne Nelson
Dr. Russell Butler
Dr. Russell Butler

Congratulations to both researchers for their successful NSERC Discovery Grant, and in contributing to bringing Bishop’s research reputation to new heights!