York researchers receive funding from the provincial government

Four York University professors have been awarded funding from the Ontario government’s Early Researcher Award program.

The recipients – Professors John Eastwood, Kerry Kawakami, Scott Kelly and Leah Vosko – will each receive up to $100,000 from the Ontario government under the newly-created program. The announcement was made Friday by Premier and Minister of Research & Innovation Dalton McGuinty.

“The Ontario government’s investments into university research, through programs such as the Early Researcher Award are crucial to sustaining York’s globally competitive research programs and to attracting and the retaining the world’s brightest young researchers,” said Stan Shapson, York’s vice-president research & innovation.

“These awards recognize the excellence of our researchers and provide them with the resources necessary at an early stage in their careers to be able to contribute significantly to scientific discoveries, public policy development, and national and international dialogue,” said Shapson.

Under the Early Researcher Award program, the government is investing $30 million over three years. In this round of awards, $6.4 million will support 64 researchers working at 13 universities in 10 communities across the province. Recipients receive up to $100,000 from the Ontario government and $50,000 from their institutions.

In his research project, Professor John Eastwood, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, will investigate why people pay attention to emotionally expressive faces and how negative faces attract and hold attention more than positive faces.

Professor Kerry Kawakami, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, will focus on automatic social biases, such as prejudice and stereotyping. Through her research, Kawakami seeks to show that specific strategies, such as “association training”, can reduce the use of stereotypes in judging group members.

Professor Scott Kelly, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science & Engineering, will research how environmental stress affects the appetite of fish. This research is relevant to fresh-water fish farming, a growing industry in Canada.

Professor Leah Vosko, School of Social Sciences, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, will analyze the relationship between gender, nationality and forms of employment characterized by limited social benefits and statutory entitlements, low wages, job insecurity and high risks of ill health. This research is relevant in the development of Canadian social and economic policy.