Category Research spotlights

Bishop’s University to Host First Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship: Dr. Simplice Ayangma Bonoho

Dr. Ayangma Bonoho

Bishop’s University is delighted to be welcoming its first recipient of the prestigious Banting postdoctoral Fellowship. The announcement was made yesterday on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry by Ali Ehsassi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, together with Canada’s federal granting agencies, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Dr. Simplice Ayangma Bonoho was featured at the announcement of the 70 Banting fellowships.

Dr. Ayangma Bonoho’s research will focus on Canada’s contribution to supporting the health development of francophone countries in Africa. His project « Le Canada et les politiques internationales de développement sanitaire en Afrique francophone » promises to correct the relative neglect of Africa in health history. It builds on his doctoral research at the University of Geneva (Switzerland) on the history of the World Health Organization. The project will be a valuable addition to the history of Canadian development aid, a main research focus of his supervisor, Dr. David Webster, Professor of History and Global Studies at Bishop’s University.

Bishop’s University is extremely proud of the recognition of our research programs by the Banting Fellowship program. The University as a whole will benefit from the presence of Dr. Ayangma Bonoho through his research expertise and the innovative ideas that a brilliant young mind brings to a research group.

Dr. Miles Turnbull, Vice-Principal Academic and Research

Of his project, Dr. Ayangma Bonoho affirms: “The proposed research will tap documents that have never before been examined from Library and Archives Canada. With its focus on francophone Africa, the proposed research has the potential to bridge the gulf that too often exists between Canadian historiography written in English and French.”

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program provides funding to the very best postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who will positively contribute to the country’s economic, social, and research-based growth.  Social justice is one of the strengths of several of our research groups at Bishop’s University, as demonstrated by the research themes of several of our Interdisciplinary Teams.  Dr. Ayangma Bonoho’s demonstrated expertise in the analysis of the interplay between public health and social issues are validated and recognized through this prestigious fellowship and will consolidate Bishop’s reputation of research excellence in this field.

The history of health the way in which disease and health care interventions cross borders have rarely been more relevant than today. It is a great honour to be welcoming a cutting-edge scholar whose work promises to bring lessons from the past to knowledge today. Dr Ayangma Bonoho’s research will be welcome to the growing work on the history of Canada’s overseas development work.

Dr. David Webster, Associate Professor, History and Global Studies

There is significant alignment between the emerging directions of the university and Dr. Ayangma Bonoho’s research program. Not only will he contribute to Bishop’s research priorities, we are convinced he will grow through the interdisciplinary collaborations with his colleagues at the university. We look forward to welcoming him to Bishop’s.

New Publication by Courtney Plante: Transported to Another World

Dr. Courtney PlanteDr. Courtney Plante of the Department of Psychology has co-authored a new monograph entitled Transported to Another World: The Psychology of Anime Fans in April 2021.

Anime/manga (Japanese animation and comics) have been increasing in popularity worldwide for decades. But despite being a global phenomenon, there’s been surprisingly little psychological research formally studying its devoted fanbase. In Transported to Another World, the researchers aim to do just that with an overview of nearly a decade of research by fan psychologists. Otaku and cosplayers, genre preferences, hentai, parasocial connections, motivation, personality, fanship and fandom, stigma, and well-being – this book looks at all of these topics through a psychological lens. Many of these findings are being presented for the first time, without the jargon and messy statistical analyses, but in plain language so it’s accessible to all readers – fans and curious observers alike!

Dr. Plante’s new book is available online.

Book cover of Transported to Another World: The Psychology of Anime Fans

Results of the NSERC Discovery Grants Program 2021

NSERC Discovery Grants program (NSERC-DG) supports ongoing programs of research in natural sciences and engineering disciplines with long-term goals rather than a single short-term project or collection of projects. These grants recognize the creativity and innovation that are at the heart of all research advances. On June 15, 2021, the results of the 2021 competition were made available to the research community. Out of four applications, our researchers had two successful grants.

Dr. John Ruan of the Department of Physics and Astronomy received a Discovery Grant (Individual) for the project The Next Breakthrough Multi-Messenger Gravitational-Wave Discoveries.

Dr. John Ruan

Dr. Matthew Peros of the Department of Environment and Geography received a Discovery Grant (Individual) for the project North Atlantic Storminess During the Holocene.

Dr. Matthew Peros

To help our researchers with their applications, the Grants Officer offered a webinar in collaboration with Dr. Valerio Faraoni of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Faraoni previously served on a NSERC Discovery Grant Evaluation Group for Astrophysics and could thus offer his unique expertise on the review procedure of Discovery Grants applications. During the webinar the Grants Officer and Dr. Faraoni shared all their tips and tricks on how to prepare a successful application. The Grants Officer also offered recommendations on how to tackle Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) issues in the application, and how to integrate EDI in their research projects. The Grants Officer also thoroughly reviewed and revised the applications and made recommendations and suggestions on how to improve those.

For the 2022 NSERC Discovery Grants competition, the Grants Officer will offer two webinars; Tips and Best Strategies for the NSERC-DG application and How to integrate EDI in the NSERC-DG application. For the first webinar, the Grants Officer will once again be joined by Dr. Valerio Faraoni. Please see the Office of Research and Graduate Studies Newsletter for more information on those webinars.

We wish to congratulate both successful applicants and hope to continue this success for many years to come!

Bishop’s University hosted the Atlantic General Relativity Meeting 2021

As part of an effort to strengthen collaborations with researchers in the Atlantic Provinces, Bishop’s University virtually hosted the Atlantic General Relativity Meeting during May 25-29. The Atlantic General Relativity series of meetings has been an annual feature of the Atlantic general relativity community for nearly three decades and, relatively recently, it has developed to include more international participation. This series of meetings focusses on recent developments in all aspects of classical, quantum, and mathematical gravity and its goals include the dissemination of recent results, the circulation of ideas and methods, as well as the training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Originally planned as an in-person event in 2020, the meeting was postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic. Naturally, going online has significantly increased the size of the conference. There were 131 participants from 22 countries and 77 organizations. Several Bishop’s students, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, had the chance to attend the conference. Even with the virtual format, the traditional friendly atmosphere of the conference, where senior professors mingle with young researchers and students, was preserved.

The first two days of the 2021 meeting featured three advanced mini-courses by renowned speakers on tests of relativity with black hole imaging, gravitational waves, and multi-messenger astrophysics (Daryl Haggard), early universe cosmology (Matthew Johnson) and loop quantum cosmology (Edward Wilson-Ewing, a Bishop’s alumnus). The remaining three days consisted of talks, with a small poster session in parallel. There were plenty of talks by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and the organizers created a space for informal discussions, which would normally happen at question period, during coffee breaks, or after the regular sessions took place. Two competitions for the best graduate student and postdoctoral talks also took place during the conference.

When asked to comment on this conference, Dr. Valerio Faraoni of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, one of the organizers of the conference, had this to say: Hosting the 2021 Atlantic General Relativity Meeting at Bishop’s University helps strengthen our research, while gaining exposure, on the national and international level. We look forward to offering more special opportunities such as this one to our graduate and undergraduate students and postdocs. Bishop’s will soon be joining a collaboration between the Centre des Recherches Mathématique and the Atlantic Association for Research in the Mathematical Sciences. Among others, this partnership will allow our students to attend conferences, workshops, and courses. Two Bishop’s undergraduates have already attended a four-week graduate summer school in Prince Edward Island.

New Publication by Linda Morra: On the Other Side(s) of 150

Dr. Linda MorraDr. Linda Morra of the Department of English has co-edited a new monograph entitled On the Other Side(s) of 150: Untold Stories and Critical Approaches to History, Literature, and Identity in Canada, published by Wilfrid Laurier Press in April 2021. This book was developed following the Canada 150 conference Untold Stories of the Past 150 Years supported by a SSHRC Connection Grant (2017).

On the Other Side(s) of 150 explores the different literary, historical, and cultural legacies of Canada and asks vital questions about the ways that histories and stories have been suppressed. This monograph tackles issues of violence and systemic racism against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities.

Dr. Morra’s books have been recognized by several distinctions. On May 31, 2021, she was awarded the 2020 Gabrielle Roy Prize (English section) by the Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures for her book Moving Archives. Each year, this prize honours the best work of Canadian literary criticism published in English.

More information about this new monograph is available on Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Book cover of On the Other Side(s) of 150

FRQ 2021 Applications: Bishop’s Highest Success Rate!

The Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) support and promote excellence in research, and the training of the next generation of researchers. At the beginning of May, the results of their 2021-2022 competitions were made available to the research community. Bishop’s researchers had an incredibly high success rate. Out of eleven applications, our researchers had five successful grants. Of note, ten out of eleven were recommended for funding, but the availability of funds made it impossible to fund all of those.

Dr. Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise of the Department of Psychology received a Research Scholars Junior grant for the project Le programme Inspiration: Évaluation et comparaison d’interventions basées sur la présence attentive, la philosophie pour enfants et l’art-thérapie sur la santé mentale des enfants du primaire au temps de la COVID-19 et en contexte scolaire primaire régulier. This is a great step as it marks the second FRQS grant in Bishop’s history.

Dr. Patrick Bergeron of the Department of Biology received a Team Research Project grant for the project Les secrets de la reproduction en environnement fluctuant.

Dr. John Ruan of the Department of Physics and Astronomy received a Research Support for New Academics grant for the project Un nouveau test des flux d’accrétion analogues de trous noirs en quiescence.

Dr. Jessica Prioletta of the School of Education received a Research Support for New Academics grant for the project L’enseignement de la sexualité à l’éducation préscolaire : une étude de la mise en œuvre du programme contenus en éducation à la sexualité au Québec.

Dr. Rafael Tedesqui of the Department of Sport Studies received a Research Support for New Academics grant for the project Sélection, rétention et développement des talents sportifs : Le rôle de la personnalité des athlètes.

We also want to congratulate Dr. Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé of the Department of Politics and International Studies, co-applicant on a successful Team Research Project grant for the project La politique mondiale contemporaine des conflits civils:  élargissement de reseaux, échanges contestés.

But how can we explain this year’s success? There is more than one factor at play here. In addition to the high level of excellent research programs we have here at BU, a major difference was that, this year, all FRQ applications were carefully reviewed and revised by the Grants Officer, who made recommendations and suggestions on how to improve the applications. When it comes to funding applications, to ensure the submission of a high-quality application, collaboration between the researchers and the Grants Officer is key, as the Grants Officer knows the tips and tricks on how to put an application on track for success. Moreover, last summer, almost all applicants attended the webinars How to be successful with the FRQ? offered by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. During those activities, the Grants Officer shared all their tips and tricks on how to be strategic with the FRQ and how to prepare a successful application. For the FRQ competitions, especially for the Team Research Project program and the Research Scholars program, networking and building strategic and fruitful research connections in the Eastern Townships and the province of Quebec is crucial. The Office of Research and Graduate Studies was also able to recommend connections and help support their development.

We wish to congratulate all the successful applicants, and hope to continue this success for many years to come!

Dr. Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise

Dr. Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise

Dr. Patrick Bergeron

Dr. Patrick Bergeron

Dr. John Ruan

Dr. John Ruan

Dr. Jessica Prioletta

Dr. Jessica Prioletta

Dr. Rafael Tedesqui

Dr. Rafael Tedesqui

Dr. Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé

Dr. Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé

Research Week 2021: Winners of the Research Communication Competition

At Bishop’s University, one way to showcase research is through the annual Research Week. Traditionally, this week has allowed our students to present their accomplishments and brought our community together for a celebration. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we were forced to cancel our activities last year. In 2021, we decided to find an innovative way to virtually celebrate our Research Week, from March 22 to March 26. To highlight our talented student researchers, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies organized a Research Communication Competition instead of our traditional poster competition.

Inspired by “3-Minute Thesis”, a global competition founded by the University of Queensland, the Research Communication Competition was geared to cultivate academic, presentation and research communication skills, and was open to Bishop’s undergraduate and graduate students. Participants were invited to submit a three-minute video to present a research project for which they made an active and significant contribution. We are proud to announce that the virtual competition incited quite a bit of interest, bringing in more viewers than we usually have at our in-person poster competitions.

Three prizes were awarded by the jury, and one prize by the Bishop’s Community. Submissions were evaluated based on the participants’ presentation and scientific communication skills, as well as the structure and content of their presentation.

In the category Undergraduate Students – Natural Sciences, the winner was Gemma Camara of the Department of Psychology for the project Specific Olfactory Deficits Associated with Cognitive Decline in Seniors. Gemma also won the People’s Choice Award. Her project examined the relationship between cognitive scores and detection of specific odors in the elderly, under the supervision of Dr. Jonathan Carriere of the Department of Psychology and Dr. Rona Graham (FMSS, Université de Sherbrooke).

In the category Undergraduate Students – Social Sciences, Education and Business, the winner was Evelyne Verrette of the Department of Economics for the project Buying Local Initiatives in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: An analysis of their effectiveness. Under the supervision of Dr. Marianne Vigneault of the Department of Economics, Evelyne analyzed the economic and social effectiveness of “buying local” initiatives by governments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the category Graduate Students, the winner was Darrin Wilson of the School of Education for the project The role of Cialdini’s principle of scarcity and the Zeigarnik effect in increasing and sustaining motivation in students. Supervised by Dr. Sunny Lau of the School of Education, Darrin explored how teachers might be able to structure lessons, lectures, and course content to improve the retention of information by students.

Gemma Camara
Gemma Camara

Evelyne Verrette
Evelyne Verrette

Darrin Wilson
Darrin Wilson

Research is a fundamental part of Bishop’s University’s mandate. Our 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 research users and, in doing so, contribute to innovation and economic development of the region, province and country. Congratulations to our winners, and to all the participants. Thank you for showcasing the amazing research taking place at Bishop’s. If you have not had the chance to watch the submissions of our participants, they are still available on the BU website – Vote for the People’s Choice Award page.

Undergraduate Students Publish Their Research

Three Bishop’s students of the Department of Politics and the Department of Economics published their research in the Undergraduate Journal of Politics, Policy and Society (UJPPS), in an issue themed around Politics in the Pandemic. UJPPS publishes peer-reviewed work of undergraduate students in social sciences and humanities, and provides a platform for aspiring academics to gain experience in publishing, research, and critical thinking while contributing to current debates and discussions in their disciplines.

Evelyne Verrette is a second-year student majoring in International Political Economy with an Honours in Economics. Last summer, thanks to the BU Foundation, she was awarded one of the Bishop’s Research Training Award for her research project Buying Local Initiatives in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: An analysis of Their Effectiveness. This project, under the supervision of Dr. Marianne Vigneault of the Department of Economics, analyzed the economic and social effectiveness of buying local initiatives by governments during the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea for this project sparked because, for the first in a long period, with the pandemic context, countries had no choice but to look inward to provide their population with the goods (e.g., masks) they needed. It was also a good match with Evelyne’s interests for economic development and public policy, and with her knowledge of international trade and business theories. About her project, Evelyne says: It was my first research project ever, and I am glad to have done it, as I have been considering it for few years!  I love solving problems, especially social problems. I also love reporting and writing on observable phenomena. I value the importance of knowledge creation in building societies that are innovative and resilient. My project embodied this reality, having decided to tackle the topic of buying local policies as an economic recovery strategy in a crisis that had just begun. Through the publication of her research, Evelyne gained first-hand experience into the process of editing and presenting a research paper.

Matthew Rainsford (Double Major in Political Studies and International Relations) and John-James Blanchette (Honours in Political Studies, minor in Economics and International Studies) published their independent research Elections and leadership: The impact of Coronavirus on the Democratic Process. This project examined how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected elections and the electability of political candidates. Getting their work published was a multi-step progress that took a few months from start to production. We spent a couple weeks writing and organizing the paper, before we submitted it. Eventually, we received news that the journal was interested in publishing our paper, which moved us onto the reviewing process. The editors would provide feedback on the substance of the paper (flawed arguments, run on sentences, clarity) which we would use to ensure that the paper meets the standards of the journal. The paper went through two review stages before moving onto copyediting. In the copyediting stage, our editor would pass through the entire paper and make small edits herself to things like spacing, capitalization, indentation and less so the substance of the paper. This was the fastest of the publishing stages, taking only about a day. Once the copyediting stage was complete, the journal accepted the final draft of our paper, and we waited a couple more months until it was eventually published in February 2021, Matthew and John-James had to say on the publishing process. Publishing pushed their academic abilities and has been a growth experience for them, especially regarding their academic writing skills. It was a challenging experience for us, but it was absolutely worth it.

Evelyne Verrette
Evelyne Verrette

Matthew Rainsford
Matthew Rainsford

John-James Blanchette
John-James Blanchette

All students wished to thank their supervisors and peers for their support.

You can read their papers online:

Evelyne Verrette: Buying Local Initiatives in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic – An Analysis of Their Effectiveness.

Matthew Rainsford and John-James Blanchette: Elections and leadership – The impact of Coronavirus on the Democratic Process

Department of Politics: Students’ Knowledge Mobilization Activities during Winter 2021

During Winter 2021, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, four Bishop’s students of the Department of Politics were involved in the coordination of two important events, under the supervision of Dr. Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé: the Annual Conference of the Network for Strategic Analysis and the Quebec Undergraduate Security Conference.

The mission of the Network for Strategic Analysis, part of the Department of National Defense’s Mobilizing Insights in Defense and Security (MINDS) program, is to mobilize research expertise to inform main strategic challenges for Canada. The Annual Conference of the second Axis of the Network for Strategic Analysis, held on January 22, 2021 under the thematic of (Re)thinking Canada’s role in Peacekeeping, was the occasion for BU students Corinne R. Dory (Honours in International Studies) and Junru Bian (BU Alumni 2019, Master’s Candidate McGill) to dive heads on in event coordination. Undergraduate students are rarely involved in the organization of these types of high-profile events, and this was a great opportunity for them to learn about research and diplomatic relationships.

On top of the event coordination, Corinne had the chance to preside one of the panels, which focused on Canada in peacekeeping operation. This experience gave me the privilege to expand my network of specialists and experts in the field of peace and security and increase my level of understanding of peacekeeping operations. Moreover, it helped me narrow down my research interests to better choose my topic for the future of my academic career and it motivated me to apply for a thesis-based Master’s, says Corinne.

The Quebec Undergraduate Security Conference (QUSC), an annual event initiated in 2018 by Dr. Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé, was held on February 6, 2021. The conference is organized as part of the International Security in the Globalization Era project, which unites researchers from three Quebec Universities (Bishop’s, McGill, Université de Montréal) to examine the effects of globalization on international security and the security functions of the nation-state in different regions of the world. The conference gives the opportunity for undergraduate students to present their work and research on international security issues, receive feedback from experts in the field and to network with peers, practitioners, and professors. Since the conception of this conference, Bishop’s students have been continuously involved in the organization of this annual even. This year, three BU students were involved its coordination: Junru Bian, Lili Schricker (Honours in Political and International Studies) and Matthew Rainsford (Political and International Studies).

For Lili and Matthew, the training to interview the Honourable Ambassador Bob Rae was a key moment in their Bishop’s experience. In Lili’s words, it allowed [her] to acquire insight into the practical world of diplomacy and the path to realizing [her] career ambitions. By interacting with the Honourable Bob Rae, [she] also had the privilege of observing first-hand the valuable public speaking skills used by a renowned politician, which [she] aspire to apply when participating in the National Model United Nations Simulation later this semester.

Now a graduate student, Junru highlighted how he learned by being able to support participants to the conference in writing an abstract, preparing a presentation and debuting their first public speaking experience. At the end of the day, the undergraduate students always left the conference looking much more confident, certain and positive about their future than when they first arrived. This is why the QUSC is a significant initiative – it encapsulates a liberal, 21st century undergraduate pedagogy that invites students to step outside of their classroom and learn through practical, hands-on experiences.

Through those events, Bishop’s students gained valuable skills, like networking abilities, knowledge mobilization, organization, adaptation, resilience, strategic marketing, and formal writing and oral communication skills, that clearly complimented their Bishop’s degree, in both professional and academic ways. They were also able to confirm their career choice for the future. My involvement in the conference as a presenter is what inspired my future academic interests in international security, a field I had never considered beforehand. Prior to this experience, I had not yet begun to even contemplate continuing my studies at the graduate level. The process of preparing my work and presenting it to an expert in their field was a testing experience which was instrumental in me being able to live up to my ambition, says Matthew.

Corinne, Junru, Lili and Matthew wish to thank Dr. Sarah-Myriam Martin-Brûlé for the enriching experience and for her passion. Their involvement in those events would not have been possible without her dedication to highlighting undergraduate potential.

Corinne R. Dory

Corinne R. Dory (Honours in International Studies)

Junru Bian

Junru Bian (BU Alumni 2019, Master’s Candidate McGill)

Lili Schricker

Lili Schricker (Honours in Political and International Studies)

Matthew Rainsford

Matthew Rainsford (Political and International Studies)

Postdoctoral Fellow in Biology Receives a Liber Ero Fellowship to Study Bumblebee Conservation

Dr. Mathilde TissierDr. Mathilde Tissier, postdoctoral fellow of the Department of Biological Sciences at Bishop’s was recently awarded a Liber Ero fellowship. This fellowship seeks to support outstanding early-career scientists to conduct and communicate research that informs conservation and management issue relevant to Canada. Dr. Tissier is the first francophone woman and first person to receive this fellowship in Québec. She will be co-supervised by Dr. Patrick Bergeron and Dr. Valérie Fournier (Université Laval), with whom she has already worked during her previous studies.

During her fellowship, she will be studying bumblebee conservation and agricultural practices, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations and researchers from four Universities *, as well as with farmers from Québec and Ontario. “Agricultural biodiversity is declining worldwide, leading to a reduction in ecosystem services and threatening food security and human health. Namely, many pollinators are threatened in North America. In Canada, more than $1 billion worth of fruits and vegetables depend on wild bees for pollination. Their role in pollinating wild plants, and thus maintaining the integrity and functionality of many ecosystems, is also major. Because they are active at low temperatures, bumblebees are key pollinators in our latitudes. Yet, seven species are already threatened with extinction in Canada. The main threats are habitat loss, parasitic infections, malnutrition and pesticide exposure, associated with intensive agriculture”, explains Dr. Tissier.

Her project will seek to identify concrete solutions to improve the resistance and resilience of bumblebees to those threats. “If we want to be efficient in improving bumblebee conservation status in Canada, all stakeholders must work together to co-construct a project that will integrate both the ecological and physiological needs of bumblebees together with the economic and social reality of farmers”.

Dr. Tissier’s knowledge, ranging from evolutionary ecology to conservation physiology and behavior, will be a great addition to the Bishop’s Community and to our expertise in environmental and agricultural sustainability, creating synergy with Bishop’s Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems programs.

* The team involves conservation practitioners (Sarah MacKell from Wildlife Preservation Canada and Dr. Carolyn Callaghan from the Canadian Wildlife Federation) and researchers from Bishop’s University (Dr. Patrick Bergeron and Dr. Jane Morrison), Université Laval (Dr. Valérie Fournier), UMass Amherst (Dr. Lynn Adler, USA) and York University (Dr. Sheila Colla).