Category Research spotlights

New Graduate Certificate at Bishop’s: Teaching and Learning in Uncertain Times

Starting this Fall 2021, the School of Education will be offering a new 15-credit graduate certificate in Teaching and Learning in Uncertain Times. This certificate is both timely and unique in Canada, focused specifically on preparing educators for this era of uncertainty, complexity, and multiple crises (the climate emergency, crises of social inequality, civic engagement, human and ecological well-being, and technological revolutions). It is designed to enhance the work of educators in formal and informal settings, curriculum specialists, program developers, and school leaders. It will support those who wish to continue on to a Masters of Education (M.Ed.).

Schools have had to respond to the multiple crises of this pandemic, says Dr. Lisa Taylor of the School of Education. But as educators we’re preparing a generation facing some of the greatest challenges in our human history. In many ways, the generations in schools now need an entirely different education to face these.

Teachers, educators and ministries of education are adapting practice to the technological, mental health, and equity concerns that the pandemic has highlighted and intensified, and adapting practice in the context of long-term crisis. The Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE) has pointed out that the pandemic has been deeply disruptive in multiple and inequitable ways. The Deans have also reminded us that educators are frontline workers who play a key role in recovery and planning for an uncertain future in equitable, sustainable ways.

We hope that in supporting educators in understanding how issues such as climate change, the pandemic, youth movements, and misinformation emerge from specific ways of knowing, being, and doing, they will be able to think differently and creatively about teaching and learning and capable of bringing about change both locally and globally, explains Dr. Dawn Wiseman of the School of Education.

During the certificate, students will get an overview of current educational challenges and models of leadership and curriculum design in courses focused on your practice. The cohort model will support students to apply, experiment, and develop practice as part of a diverse professional learning community. They will join colleagues from across Quebec, Canada and internationally from a diverse range of educational contexts.

For more information on the program, and to consult course offerings, visit the Teaching and Learning in Uncertain Times web page.

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies at Bishop’s continues to grow, thanks to the RESEARCH SUPPORT FUND

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 support the costs for management and administration of the institution’s research enterprise, which includes a portion of the costs associated with salary expenses for staff members who provide administrative support to the Office of Research and Graduate Studies (ORGS).

Thanks to the RSF, the ORGS recently confirmed Dr. Samia Mihoub and Ms. Raphaëlle Mercier Gauthier in tenured positions dedicated to research administration at Bishop’s University. Dr. Mihoub holds a M.A and a Ph.D. in Communications and a M.A in Administration. In her role as the Grants Officer at Bishop’s, she provides pre- and post-award revision and administrative support to professors who have research funding and ensures compliance with the University’s and funding agencies’ financial administration policies and procedures. Ms. Mercier Gauthier holds a M.Sc. in Biological Sciences. In her role as the Research Officer at Bishop’s, she provides pre- and post-award revision and administrative support for students through scholarship opportunities, coordinates Bishop’s ethics committees and is responsible for knowledge transfer and events organization. Both have actively contributed to increasing knowledge about the best practices and strategies in getting research funding in the past year and spreading news about our research activities, contributing to a very successful funding year for Bishop’s. It seems like everyone is talking about research at BU these days!

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies can also thank the RSF for its growth, with two new positions soon to be posted. A Graduate Studies Coordinator will be responsible for the coordination of the recruitment, admissions and conversion practices of graduate students, as well as the accompaniment of these students with scholarship opportunities. An administration assistant will also be added to the team, to help provide general administrative, operational, coordination and technical support for the conduct of research programs and the ORGS.

If you have any questions for the ORGS, do not hesitate to contact us, or swing by our new offices (McGreer 224-225)!

Dr. Samia Mihoub
Dr. Samia Mihoub

Ms. Raphaëlle Mercier Gauthier
Ms. Raphaëlle Mercier Gauthier

Dr. John Ruan is Appointed Canada Research Chair in Multi-Messenger Astrophysics

Dr. John RuanOn Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021, 10:00 a.m., Bishop’s University will officially announce the appointment of Dr. John Ruan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, as a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Multi-Messenger Astrophysics. This event, which will be attended by The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, will be broadcast live and will be available on the Bishop’s Facebook page. Before the announcement, Dr. Ruan will offer a presentation and an art activity on some of the most iconic images in astrophysics for kids attending Bishop’s Day Camp. This activity will be recorded and made available for free to interested schoolteachers on Dr. Ruan’s website.

The most common elements in the Universe, such as Hydrogen and Oxygen, are well-understood to be created either shortly after the Big Bang or forged inside of stars such as the Sun. However, the cosmic origin of the heaviest elements, such as Gold and Uranium, remains much more mysterious. The process of creating these heavy elements require extreme astrophysical environments not found on Earth, where atoms are able to capture neutrons and turn into heavier elements. This mystery recently witnessed a breakthrough with the 2017 discovery of the first neutron star merger, which proved for the first time that the merger of two neutron stars (the leftover cores of dead stars) will result in conditions that produce the heaviest elements near the bottom of the Periodic Table.

At that time, Dr. John Ruan led key telescope observations of the first neutron star merger, which confirmed that these violent events are responsible for producing at least some heavy elements. However, it is still unclear whether neutron star mergers are responsible for producing all of the heaviest elements in the Universe, or if some alternate process is needed. Dr. Ruan’s research program, funded in part by the award of a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Multi-Messenger Astrophysics, is now centered around this fundamental question in astrophysics. Thanks to additional funding support for infrastructure from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Québec Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, Dr. Ruan is establishing the Gravitational Accretion and Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (GAMMA) Lab at Bishop’s, with the long-term goal of better understanding both the complex astrophysics of neutron star mergers and the cosmic origin of heavy elements.

Over the next few years, Dr. Ruan will lead a large Canada-wide group of researchers aiming to discover the next neutron star merger. To this end, Dr. Ruan and his team use world-class telescopes from across the globe, as well as in space. But how do they know where to look for those neutron star mergers? We use a combination of data from both ‘cosmic messengers’ of gravitational waves (ripples in space-time detected by laser interferometers) and electromagnetic emission (light detected by telescopes). This ‘multi-messenger’ approach was made possible by the first detection of gravitational waves in 2015, leading to the award of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, explained Dr. Ruan. Once the team finds a new neutron star merger, the challenge is far from over, as the researchers will compare the data to advanced computer simulations to understand the exact amounts of each heavy element produced in the merger. To overcome the severe computational challenges in this difficult task, Dr. Ruan is currently pioneering new algorithms at the intersection of statistic and machine learning, which he hopes will help enable new insights into the astrophysics of neutron star mergers.

Please visit Dr. John Ruan Canada Research Chair web page for more information on his research.

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

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.