York invests more than $3.5M to support interdisciplinary research clusters

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York University is funding new and groundbreaking research through the Catalyzing Interdisciplinary Research Clusters (CIRC) program. Seven proposals will receive $150,000 per year over three years. An additional six other proposals will receive $75,000 for one year.

York University is funding new and groundbreaking research through the Catalyzing Interdisciplinary Research Clusters (CIRC) program, which was created to accelerate interdisciplinary research with a focus on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) around key institutional strategic initiatives, such as the Markham Campus and the proposed Vaughan Healthcare Centre Precinct. The program also supports areas of strategic importance, including Disaster and Risk Governance, Artificial Intelligence and Society, Digital Cultures, and Financial Technologies.

All proposals received were subjected to expert external peer review, with final decisions informed by an internal multidisciplinary review committee comprised of senior researchers and representatives from the Office of the Vice-President Research and Innovation (VPRI).

The following proposals are the inaugural recipients of the CIRC grant, valued at $150,000 per year over three years:

Robert Allison, Lassonde School of Engineering – Collaborative Technology for Healthy Living.

Giuseppina D’Agostino, Osgoode Hall Law School – AI Systems: Engineering, Governance & Society, with co-applicants James Elder, Lassonde School of Engineering, and Marin Litoiu, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS).

Patricio Dávila, School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD) – Digital Justice, with co-applicant Ganaele Langlois, (LA&PS).

Joann Jasiak, LA&PS – Digital Currencies, with co-applicant Henry Kim, Schulich School of Business.

Deborah McGregor, Osgoode Hall Law School and Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC) – Indigenous Climate Leadership and Self-Determined Futures, with co-applicant Angele Alook, LA&PS.

Kate Tilleczek, Faculty of Education – Partnership for Youth & Planetary Well-being, with co-applicants Deborah McGregor, Osgoode Hall Law School and EUC, James Orbinski, Faculty of Health, and James Stinson, Faculty of Education.

Jianhong Wu, Faculty of Science – Disaster and Health Emergency Urban Systemic Risk Transformation Cluster, with co-applicant Afshin Rezaei-Zare, Lassonde School of Engineering.

In addition, six other proposals that were highly ranked by external reviewers will each be awarded interim one-year funding of $75,000. These proposals include:

Sylvia Bawa and Mohamed Sesay, LA&PS, with Oghenowede Eyawok, Faculty of Health – Overcoming Epidemics: Transnational Black Communities Response, Recovery and Resilience.

Satinder Brar and Pouya Reza, Lassonde School of Engineering – York-Water Urban Sustainable Ecosystem Interdisciplinary Research Cluster.

Annie Bunting, LA&PS – Youth, Gender Violence, Health and Gender Justice.

Caitlin Fisher, AMPD, and Steven Hoffman, Faculty of Health and Osgoode Hall Law School – Catalyzing Collective Action at the Intersection of Global Health and the Arts.

Luann Good Gingrich, LA&PS, and Heidi Matthews, Osgoode Hall Law School – From Colonial Genocide to Just Relationships: Building Interdisciplinary Research Excellence for Indigenous Futurities.

Jonathan Weiss, Faculty of Health – New Pathways for Youth Thriving in Intersecting Contexts of Marginalization.

“York is a dynamic, research-intensive University that is committed to enhancing the well-being of the communities we serve. We work to address society’s most urgent demands by supporting research excellence, interdisciplinary knowledge translation, and collaborative partnerships that expand the influence of scientific discovery,” says President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton. “The inaugural recipients of the Catalyzing Interdisciplinary Research Cluster grants are producing groundbreaking discoveries in a wide variety of fields, making impactful contributions towards York’s Strategic Research Plan and University Academic Plan, as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and driving positive change in our local and global communities.”

“York is pleased to invest in interdisciplinary research clusters that will continue to facilitate our leadership in research that aims to have a transformative impact on society,” says Amir Asif, VPRI. “The CIRC funding is bringing together talented researchers from across disciplines to address questions of global importance, such as health and the environment, enhancing the diverse socioeconomic impacts of our research.

“We are grateful to the members of the internal multidisciplinary review committee: Professors Harvey Skinner, Walter P. Tholen and Susan Lee McGrath who supported the Office of the VPRI in the adjudication process,” adds Asif.

More about the Catalyzing Interdisciplinary Research Clusters Program

The pilot for the Catalyzing Interdisciplinary Research Clusters (CIRC) program was announced in December 2020 after receiving budget approval from the University Budget Advisory Committee (now the University Fund Committee).  

The initiative will help fund research excellence for interdisciplinary projects, crossing the mandates of at least two of the three federal granting councils, with the core team of five researchers for each project including members from at least two faculties and at least one early career researcher.

Modelled to replicate the success of interdisciplinary research clusters, the initiative empowers clusters to achieve research excellence and secure large-scale funding through highly competitive national programs, such as the Canada Excellence Research Chair, the Canada First Research Excellence Fund and the New Frontiers in Research Fund – Transformation stream. The CIRC program will scale the development of research teams and clusters to position the University as a key node in national and international networks in strategic areas of interest, while enabling impactful contributions towards the University’s Strategic Research Plan, the University Academic Plan and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.