York University announces Black Research Seed Grant winners

Colored confetti flying on blue background

Six York researchers in five Faculties are the latest recipients of York University’s Black Research Seed Grants, totalling more than $150,000 in combined funding.  

Created by the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation and the Office of the Vice-President Equity, People & Culture in 2022, the grants support Black scholars at York, particularly emerging and early-career researchers, including postdoctoral fellows.

The newly funded projects range from an investigation into the accessibility and inclusiveness of ride-hailing services for visually impaired, Black passengers to studying a mining conflict in Jamaica to examining the biopsychosocial differences of back pain in low-, middle- and high-income countries, among others.

“Knowledge generated by Black scholars is integral to York University’s research excellence and continuing to grow our inclusive and equitable research environments,” said Amir Asif, vice-president research and innovation. “These seed grants support Black researchers as they pursue innovative work in a variety of fields, strengthening their capacity to create positive change and thrive within York’s research community.”

The funding is part of York’s Action Plan on Black Inclusion and Framework on Black Inclusion, which are intended to help address systemic anti-Black racism and white supremacy within academia.

“York University is committed to taking concrete action on dismantling systemic barriers for Black scholars, allocating funds and resources to support their success,” said Laina Bay-Cheng, interim vice-president equity, people and culture. “This seed grant is just one of many important initiatives that allow York to demonstrate our commitments to equity, to an inclusive and diverse intellectual community, and to recognizing the expertise and contributions of Black scholars at York.”

The six recipients are:

Alvine Boaye Belle, assistant professor, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Lassonde School of Engineering
Building human trust in ML-enabled autonomous driving systems

Stephanie Fearon, assistant professor, Faculty of Education
My Sister’s Keeper: Black Girls as Resistance Leaders

Mahtot Gebresselassie, assistant professor, Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change
Race, Disability, and Uber and Lyft Usage

Michael Kalu, assistant professor, School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health
Exploring Challenges in Identifying Homebound Black Older Adults and Understanding What Strategies Work: A Comprehensive Scoping Review and Descriptive Qualitative Study in the Greater Toronto Area

Aliyu Lawan, postdoctoral fellow, School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health
Biopsychosocial Identity and Back Pain Disability, Access to Care and Return to Work: A longitudinal Analysis of Low-,Middle-, and High-Income Countries

Tameka Samuels-Jones, assistant professor, School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Raising Afro-Voices: Black Indigeneity, Bauxite Mining and Community Empowerment in Jamaica

Find out more about the Black Research Seed Grants and their creation.