From digital storytelling to net-zero energy buildings: 9 Concordia research units receive renewals
Nine of Concordia’s 22 research units and infrastructure platforms have been given renewed mandates by the university, allowing them to continue with their cutting-edge, interdisciplinary work. The centres were each renewed for an additional six years by the Senate Research Committee, as part of the university’s standard review process.
“Research centres are an important way for us to double our research,” said Christophe Guy, Concordia’s vice-president of Research and Graduate Studies.
“Not only are research collaborations in university-supported units fruitful in the sense that they produce effective results, but they offer unique training opportunities and support to graduate students as well.”
To be officially recognized by the university, a research unit or infrastructure platform must have a focus on developing clear, integrated research programs that build on strong, interdisciplinary expertise.
Centre for Biological Applications of Mass Spectrometry
Since its inception in 2003, the Centre for Biological Applications of Mass Spectrometry (CBAMS) has offered facilities and services for academic and industrial collaborations. The centre — currently directed by Dajana Vuckovic, Concordia University Research Chair in Clinical Metabolomics, Biomarkers and Preventive Health — also provides hands-on training to students in different areas of mass spectrometry, an analytical technique.
Research conducted at the centre is being used, for instance, to help speed up medical diagnosis and treatment. With a specific focus in the "omics" sciences, CBAMS members contribute to the large-scale study of the unique chemical fingerprints that specific cellular processes leave behind (metabolomics), as well as to our understanding of the pathways and networks of lipids (lipidomics) and proteins (proteomics) in the human body, among many other areas of study including pharmacology and toxicology.
Centre for Microscopy and Cellular Imaging
The Centre for Microscopy and Cellular Imaging (CMCI) was first granted official status in 2014. It has been fast-tracked from an emerging to an established research infrastructure platform. Rather than organizing researchers under an overarching group, it offers space for an integrated pool of resources.
The centre is directed by biology professors Christopher Brett and Alisa Piekny. Researchers at CMCI are exploring fundamental processes within plant and animal cells. Studies conducted at the centre have discovered mechanisms that allow plants to grow in harsh conditions, allowing for improvements in agriculture. Others have examined the cellular processes involved in aging and cancer, as well as diseases of the liver, muscle and bone.
Centre for NanoScience Research
The Centre for NanoScience Research fosters interdisciplinary collaborations in nanoscale materials science. Investigations by centre members have applications in everyday life, ranging from drug delivery and medical imaging to the creation of smart materials for food packaging and the improvement of LED screens.
Founded in 2006, the centre, which is currently directed by professors Christine DeWolf and John Capobianco, has 12 regular members from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the Department of Physics in the Faculty of Arts and Science. The number of trainees — graduate students and postdoctoral fellows — in the centre at any given time has grown consistently, from approximately 35 in 2012 to nearly 50 in 2017.
Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling
The Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS) was founded in 2006 in the Department of History. With the recent appointment of co-directors Cynthia Hammond, an art history professor, Kathleen Vaughan, an art educator and the Concordia University Research Chair in Socially Engaged Art and Public Pedagogies, the centre has diversified towards promoting cross-disciplinary storytelling.
COHDS currently has more than 200 affiliate members, including academic and community-based researchers, artists and cultural agencies, all dedicated to the study and documentation of oral history.
The centre is also undergoing a major renovation to add a performing listening lab to its audio and video recording facilities. This is being done with the help of Luis Carlos Sotelo Castro — Canada Research Chair in Oral History Performance and an associate professor of theatre — and a Canada Foundation for Innovation grant.
Centre for Research in Human Development
Established in 1981, the Centre for Research in Human Development / Centre de recherche en développement humain (CRDH) focuses on the study of human development across the life span, increasing knowledge on key issues and transitions that occur from infancy to old age.
Researchers study common themes such as prosocial behaviour, cognitive development in early childhood, bilingualism, internalizing behaviours, and motor and cognitive changes during the aging process.
Currently, CRDH, directed by Mark Ellenbogen, has 21 regular members and one associate member — all from departments in Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Science — in addition to nine external members.
The scope of projects conducted affords graduate students and post-doctoral fellows the opportunity to develop an understanding of various human development concepts and newly developed techniques in collaboration with community partners, school boards and educators, hospital-based health-care experts and policy makers through various research activities.
Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance
The Centre for the Study of Learning and Performance (CSLP) is focused on interdisciplinary research in cognitive science, instructional design and educational technologies. Its members research and work in the field of pedagogy, informing educators and policy makers interested in evidence-based practice.
Research conducted at the centre has helped educators develop cognitive skills in people of all ages. Research at the CSLP focuses on two main areas: developing and testing software tools for learning, and analyzing basic learning processes.
In 2017, the centre was awarded a UNESCO literacy prize. The CSLP is currently directed by professor Vivek Venkatesh, who was recently named as a UNESCO co-Chair in Prevention of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism
Centre for Zero Energy Building Studies
The team at the Centre for Zero Energy Building Studies (CZEBS) is dedicated to conducting cutting-edge research into clean technologies, such as thermal and wind power. Their mission is to support the research and development of zero-energy buildings, which produce as much energy as they consume.
The centre also conducts solar energy research. It is home to the Solar Simulator and Environmental Chamber, which helps prepare clean tech for industry use, and which was integral to the design, testing and integration of special photovoltaic/thermal modules, such as those used in the John Molson School of Business (MB) Building’s solar powered system.
The nine core and associate members of CZEBS have expertise in energy efficiency, building envelope performance, file safety and solar energy, as well as in HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems.
CZEBS is currently directed by Andreas Athienitis, professor in the Department of Building, Civil & Environmental Engineering professor, Concordia University Research Chair in Integration of Solar Energy Systems into Buildings and NSERC/Hydro-Québec Industrial Research Chair in Optimized Operation and Energy Efficiency: towards High Performance Buildings.
Hexagram-Concordia is a centre for research creation in media arts and technology. The centre is directed by Christopher Salter, a design and computation arts professor, and the Concordia University Research Chair in New Media, Technology and the Senses.
Hexagram-Concordia started in 2002 as a local program for fine arts, and has developed into the head node of a network of five universities (Concordia, UQAM, McGill, Université de Montréal and Université du Québec à Chicoutimi) funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture.
Hexagram-Concordia also contributes researchers to four Milieux clusters: Textiles and Materiality, Post Image, Speculative Life, and LePARC (Performing Arts Research Cluster). There are currently more than 100 researchers and a number of local, provincial and international partners that contribute to the Hexagram network.
This September, Hexagram-Concordia will host the Ars Electronica Campus Exhibition, the first large-scale collective exhibition bringing together the works of the Hexagram network.
Concordia Centre for Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG)
The Concordia Centre for Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) is dedicated to interdisciplinary research collaboration in digital game studies and design — examining the role of technology in everyday life.
TAG is directed by design and computations arts professor Rilla Khaled. The centre’s mandate is to develop and expand methods, models and concepts for the analysis, critique and creation of digital games, gameplay and game cultures.
TAG also contributes to broader social, political, technical and aesthetic conversations about the shape and direction of contemporary digital culture.
Concordia’s university-recognized research units are supported in part by the Government of Canada’s Research Support Fund, which provides funds for a portion of the administrative and maintenance costs associated with managing research units and infrastructure platforms.
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