World class scholars honoured as 2023 Killam Prize Laureates
Ottawa, March 15, 2023 – The National Killam Program is pleased to announce the 2023 Killam Prize and Dorothy Killam Fellowship winners, recognizing the inclusive collaborators, research leaders and barrier breakers who are driving the future of Canada.
“We are pleased to welcome the 2023 Killam Prize and Dorothy Killam Fellowship winners into the history of the Killam program,” said Bernard F. Miller, KC, Managing Trustee, Killam Trusts.“ The future-focused nature of their research is aligned with the vision set out in Dorothy Killam’s will. Their research encourages innovation across multiple sectors and seeks to transform the way we live.”
“The achievements and aspirations of the 2023 Killam Laureates have a significant impact on our society,” said Maydianne Andrade, Chair, National Killam Selection Committee. “It was an honour to chair this decision process. The accomplishments of the Prize winners shape Canada’s place in the world. The research projects of the Fellowship recipients will inspire the next generation of research leaders.”
“The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is proud to administer the National Killam Program,” said Iain Stewart, President, NRC. “Killam Laureates have achieved excellence in their fields and are committed to mobilizing their research for the benefit of future generations.”
The Killam Prizes are awarded to active Canadian scholars who have distinguished themselves through sustained research excellence, making a significant impact in their respective fields of engineering, health sciences, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. A prize of $100,000 is awarded to each Killam Prize winner.
The National Killam Program is privately funded through the generous contribution of Dorothy J. Killam to build Canada’s future by encouraging advanced study. Since its inception, the Killam Trusts have provided more than $1 billion for higher education in Canada. There are more than 8,000 Killam laureates worldwide.
Revealing the 2023 Killam Prize winners:
Engineering – Praveen Jain, Queen’s University
Praveen Jain is currently a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Director of the Centre for Energy and Power Electronics Research at Queen’s University. He is a trailblazer in the field of power electronics and one of the most prolific inventors in the art of processing electrical energy through electronics for the efficient generation, transmission, and utilization of electric power. Over the last 43 years, he has made sustained contributions to the theory and practice of power electronics. He is the named inventor of more than 100 patents and the founder of two successful companies. Dr. Jain is also an exceptional teacher who has mentored over 100 research trainees. His contributions towards undergraduate education have been recognized by Queen’s University with the Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor of the Year Award (2017) and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Teaching Award (2014-2015).
Health Sciences – Pieter Cullis, The University of British Columbia
Pieter R. Cullis, OC is a Director of the Nanomedicines Research Group, and Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Cullis and co-workers have been responsible for fundamental advances in the development of nanomedicines employing lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology for cancer therapies, gene therapies and vaccines. This work contributed to five drugs that received regulatory approval by the FDA, the European EMA and Health Canada. One of the recently approved drugs enabled by the LNP delivery systems is Comirnaty, the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech that received regulatory approval in many jurisdictions including Canada, the USA, the UK and Europe. Comirnaty is playing a major role in containing the global Covid-19 pandemic with approximately 6B doses administered worldwide in 2021 and 2022. Dr. Cullis has also co-founded eleven biotechnology companies that now employ over 400 people, has published over 350 scientific articles and is an inventor on over 100 patents.
Humanities – Ajay Heble, University of Guelph
Dr. Ajay Heble is an internationally renowned scholar, a visionary arts leader, and an innovative community builder. Instrumental in establishing the academic field of Critical Studies in Improvisation, he has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of musical and other forms of improvisation as vital models for social change. Particularly noteworthy is the way in which this new field has addressed pressing issues of social and cultural transformation: human rights, transculturalism, pedagogy, the civic participation of aggrieved populations – issues central to the challenges of diversity and social cooperation in Canada. In his current role as the founding Director of the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) at the University of Guelph, Dr. Heble has overseen a dynamic team of researchers who have taken the field in exciting new directions. As a result of this work, the field now has its own peer-reviewed journal, numerous international conferences, a book series, a new innovative graduate program, and a state-of-the-art research and performance facility.
Natural Sciences – Sarah Otto, The University of British Columbia
Sarah (Sally) Otto is a Killam Professor and CRC Tier 1 Chair at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Otto is recognized globally for her many contributions to evolutionary biology. She has developed the mathematical foundation for the leading theory on the evolution of sexual reproduction in nature. Dr. Otto’s work has changed our understanding of the evolution of sexual reproduction and genome evolution. Dr. Otto is the world authority on a wide range of theoretical topics in evolution and has written the standard textbook on mathematical methods for ecology and evolutionary biology. Dr. Otto launched and directs the Liber Ero program, a Canadian-wide post-doctoral program supporting and developing leaders in conservation. During the pandemic, she has been a co-leader of the BC COVID-19 modelling group and CoVaRR-Net’s ‘computational biology and modelling’ pillar. Dr. Otto’s research has resulted in 200 publications and a book, with ~25,000 citations.
Social Sciences – Charles M. Morin, Université Laval
Charles M. Morin is Professor of Psychology at Université Laval. Holder of the Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Sleep Medicine, Professor Morin is a world-renowned sleep expert who has made original and sustained contributions to the development and dissemination of psychological and behavioural therapies for insomnia, a health problem traditionally treated with medications. Through his landmark studies, he was the first to demonstrate that psychological (cognitive-behavioural) therapy for insomnia is as effective as medication in the short term and, more importantly, produces more durable sleep benefits. His work has changed how insomnia is managed in clinical practice and has contributed to improving the quality of life of millions of individuals afflicted with chronic sleep problems. Professor Morin has been engaged in knowledge transfer both within and beyond the academic community. In addition to numerous publications, he has led over 100 training workshops for healthcare providers and presented 300+ lectures for the general public. He is also a dedicated mentor who has directed 60 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and mentored many other young investigators from Canada, and abroad.
The Dorothy Killam Fellowships
The Dorothy Killam Fellowships (formerly the Killam Research Fellowships) provide support to scholars of exceptional ability by granting them time to pursue research projects of broad significance and widespread interest within the disciplines of the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, engineering or studies linking any of these disciplines. A Dorothy Killam Fellow is a leading researcher whose superior, ground-breaking, best-in-class research stands to have significant impact on a national or global scale. Dorothy Killam Fellowships are valued at $80,000 CAD per year for a total of 2 years.
Revealing the 2023 Dorothy Killam Fellowships:
Claire Davies, Queen’s University; Project: Participation requires communication: Developing guidelines for accessible communication devices
Naila Keleta-Mae, University of Waterloo; Project: Black and Free: What it means to be Black and Free in the 21st century
Max Liboiron, Memorial University of Newfoundland; Project: The Akihtam Project: Enhancing research by using Indigenous methodologies in quantitative methods
Paul McNicholas, McMaster University; Project: Modelling developmental trajectories in autistic children
Temitope Oriola, University of Alberta; Project: Beyond victimization: BIPOC officials in the Canadian criminal justice system
Adam Shuhendler, University of Ottawa ; Project: Unravelling the paradox of oppositional enzyme hijacking towards new therapeutic approaches preventing the spread of cancer
Kisha Supernant, University of Alberta; Project: Recognizing Indigenous data sovereignty and Indigenous rights in heritage management
Kimberly Tait, Royal Ontario Museum; Project: Describing planetary processes from Mars atom by atom
About the National Killam Program
The National Killam Program is privately funded through the generous contribution of Dorothy J. Killam to build Canada’s future by encouraging advanced study.
The National Killam Program consists of the Killam Prizes and the Dorothy Killam Fellowships. The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) assumed administration and delivery of the National Killam Program in 2022 after more than 50 years of program delivery by the Canada Council for the Arts. With input from the Killam Trusts, the National Killam Program Advisory Board, and hundreds of stakeholders, the National Killam Program honours the vision set out by Dorothy Killam through an updated and inclusive approach to program delivery.
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