Four York U faculty receive Early Researcher Awards
York University Professors Ian Garrett, Theodore Noseworthy, Sapna Sharma and Graham Wakefield have each received $140,000 in funds through the Ontario government’s Early Researcher Awards program.
“York is delighted to have these four individuals receive the Early Researcher Award,” said Vice-President Research & Innovation Robert Haché. “The funding provided by Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation will help to provide these researchers with the resources to continue to build their innovative programs.”
Ian Garrett, professor in the Department of Theatre in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD), will explore the development of hybrid technologies that use GPS, orientation sensors, and cameras embedded in mobile devices to create site-specific event installation “ghosts”. These technologies impose recorded events over their original location, creating a time-shifted interactive historical marker. Garrett will study the creation of performance artworks that may be replayed and which are viewable as originally intended in the landscape utilizing augmented and mixed reality. This offers an immersive experience of environmental change caused by development or climate change, and intrinsically ties events to their place.
There is growing concern over what is popularly referred to as “dressed-up junk food” (fortified snacks positioned as healthy alternatives). Theordore Noseworthy, professor of marketing at the Schulich School of Business and Canada Research Chair in Entrepreneurial Innovation and the Public Good, will explore how dressed-up junk food can lead to over consumption by confusing category membership and thus hindering peoples’ ability to self-regulate consumption. The results will inform researchers and public policy makers in Ontario, as well as raise public awareness. Primarily, the findings of Noseworthy’s research will extend the discussion around food consumption beyond sedentary lifestyles, caloric deficits and the lack of nutritional options, to the psychological consequences of what we refer to as market-driven food ambiguity.
Lakes are sensitive indicators of climate change. They are experiencing higher water temperatures and reduced periods of ice cover. However, the implications of reduced ice cover and higher water temperatures for water quality remain unclear. Sapna Sharma, a professor of biology in the Faculty of Science is studying how climate change may influence the duration of ice cover on inland and Great Lakes; whether reduced ice cover leads to warmer lakes; and which lakes are at highest risk of poor water quality under climate change. She will analyze long-term ecological datasets from Ontario lakes and relate them to lakes across the Northern Hemisphere.
Virtual Reality (VR) is poised to revolutionize creative industries, yet lacks refined VR-native authoring tools. Graham Wakefield, a professor of computational arts in AMPD and Canada Research Chair in Interactive Information Visualization, will research and develop novel interaction concepts and software tools that exploit the medium’s unique affordances for artists of all kinds to create worlds while fully immersed within them. Wakefield’s project will augment continuous hand gestures with simulated physics for intuitive free-form modeling with rich, fluid complexity, and develop new paradigms of programming VR live utilizing directly manipulable and spatially meaningful representations for collaborative multi-user productivity.
“Ontario’s current and future prosperity and quality of life depend on how well we innovate, which is why our government partners with institutions across the province to support leading researchers,” said the Reza Moridi, minister of research, innovation and science. “Through the Early Researcher Awards program, new researchers will be able to develop their teams and conduct world-class research that will draw investment, boost our economic strength and ensure Ontario remains at the forefront of the global knowledge-based economy.”
The province’s Early Researcher Awards program will support 77 projects across 17 leading institutions. These awards will help sharpen Ontario’s competitive edge by fostering discoveries, including new technologies, treatments and cures for illnesses while supporting high quality, knowledge-based jobs for people across the province. It will also drive Ontario’s ability to attract and retain the best and brightest research talent.