NSERC awards more than $3.3 million to York-led research partnerships

Two industry-academic partnerships led by York University have received a total of $3,300,000 through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada‘s (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Grants Program.

Lassonde and Health prof James Elder
James Elder

James Elder, professor in the Lassonde School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Faculty of Health’s Department of Psychology, and a member of York’s Centre for Vision Research, has received $1,650,000 over six years to lead a program in Data Analytics and Visualization (DAV).

This innovative program will provide interdisciplinary training in both computational analytics and perceptual design methodologies for deriving value from big data for a broad range of industrial applications. DAV addresses the wealth of diverse forms of data produced by a myriad of instruments and systems, including: physical infrastructures like sensor networks, power grids, wireless communication systems and transportation networks; social and economic networks; and health-care systems like immunization and epidemiology networks, and molecular and gene regulatory networks.

The program is a multi-institution, multi-sector collaboration between York University (the lead institution), OCAD University, Concordia University and the University of Toronto, together with a number of leading Canadian high-tech companies in Toronto and Montreal, focused on applications in cloud computing, digital cultures, health technology and smart cities. Graduates of the program will go on to take permanent positions in industry, universities and government, and will be Canadian leaders in the field of DAV in a broad range of application areas.

The DAV team includes 10 researchers at four Canadian universities, as well as 10 other academic collaborators and 14 non-academic partner organizations. The program will contribute to the training of 56 students and postdoctoral fellows over six years.

LAPS Professor Jimmy Huang
Jimmy Huang

Jimmy Huang, professor and director of York’s School of Information Technology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, has received $1, 650,000 over six years to lead the Advanced Disaster, Emergency and Rapid Response Simulation (ADERSIM). The ADERSIM CREATE industry stream program will enhance Canada’s capacities in public safety and emergency management through innovative training, research and development of professionals in state-of-the-art simulations and emergency management information systems.

The ADERSIM program will train 78 postdoctoral fellows and graduate students with strong theoretical and professional skills in information searching, data mining, knowledge management, modelling and simulations to meet Canada’s current and future demands in emergency management and public safety industry.

Research and development activities will involve developing state-of-the-art technologies, computational approaches and tools for simulating disaster risks and disaster planning and operations.

The program team includes 11 researchers at York University, Ryerson University, University of Calgary, McMaster University, University of Montréal and Western University, as well as 24 other academic collaborators and 13 industrial partners. The program will offer graduate courses in information technology, emergency management, computer science, mathematics, environmental study, business, geometric engineering and civil engineering from 10 graduate programs of six participating universities.

“The NSERC CREATE program supports industry-academic collaborations and helps strengthen the mentoring and training environment for students and postdoctoral trainees,” said York’s Vice-President Research & Innovation, Robert Haché. “We are thrilled about the opportunity to provide a world-class training environment in the fields of data visualization and analytics, as well as emergency and disaster management and response planning, through these programs.”

The Minister of State (Science and Technology), Ed Holder, joined by Mark Adler, MP for York Centre, announced an investment of $28 million on Wednesday, May 20, in job-related training for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, through the NSERC CREATE initiative. The program is designed to add professional skills training to the qualifications and technical skills of Canadian researchers to better prepare them for careers in industry, government or academia. A total of 17 research teams with members at 28 universities were funded during this round.