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Innovation through research

Concordia names six new research chairs
February 13, 2013
By Tom Peacock

Concordia’s Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies, and Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs, recently named six new Concordia University Research Chairs (CURCs), and renewed the terms of five others. In addition, three endowed chairs have been renewed. The six new CURCs were selected from 69 letters of intent submitted to the Faculties in response to a call for proposals last year.

The university currently provides funding for 49 CURCs, which were created to encourage, support and retain the university’s top researchers.

Andreas Athienitis was renewed as the Concordia University Research Chair (Tier 1) in Integration of Solar Energy Systems into Buildings.

“The CURC program is a vital component of our research strategy,” says Graham Carr, vice-president, Research and Graduate Studies. “It helps to build research capacity by providing top researchers with time release (a reduction in classroom teaching to spend more time on research), as well as funds to support graduate training and undertake projects that will position them to secure external funding.”

The chairs are held for a period of five years (Tier 2), or seven years (Tier 1), after which they are renewable for a second term.

Masha Salazkina, assistant professor in the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, is Concordia’s new Chair (Tier 2) in Transnational Media Art and Culture. “It’s a great honour for me to join the ranks of other research chairs. They are scholars who I have a lot of respect and admiration for,” says Salazkina, whose research focuses on transnational approaches to film theory and cultural history.

“I examine the question of how an understanding of social and political cinema travels from different places,” she says. “The book that I’m writing right now looks at how Soviet ideas of the political function of cinema travelled to Italy in the 1920s and 30s, where it had an impact on the Italian understanding of what the political, or specifically state, function of cinema may be. And then how that travelled on to Latin America.”

Another research project Salazkina is working on involves identifying, translating and disseminating unknown texts from the history of cinema from around the world. “Within the North American academy, our sense of how the rest of the world understands cinema is quite limited,” she says. “So the idea is to broaden our specific conception of how people in other areas of the world have thought about cinema and written about it.” Salazkina is currently in her third year at Concordia.

Associate Professor Chadi Assi from the Concordia Institute for Information Systems Engineering (CIISE) has been awarded the Concordia University Research Chair (Tier 2) in Broadband Wireless Networks. “I work on improving the access to this shared medium,” says Assi, who came to Concordia as an assistant professor in 2003.

Much of Assi’s research is focused on cross-layer design for improving network efficiency. As he explains, wireless networks should be engineered using a similar layered approach in which layers (physical, access, network and transport) interact with each other and pass information relevant to the operation of one another.

Concordia University Research Chairs were created to encourage, support and retain the university’s top researchers. | Photo by Concordia University

“Cross-layer design lets the layers interact with each other, so that you can do better scheduling, and then you can better manage the interference, and hence better exploit all the capacity that exists at the physical layer,” Assi says.

Vehicular networks is another area that Assi and his research team are currently researching. “Basically, we study the communication between the vehicle and an access point that is employed by a network operator on the road,” he says, adding that the user’s high-speed mobility within these networks presents a whole new set of problems.

“How do you route messages from these vehicles, and ultimately deliver them to the roadside units? What type of spectrum do you assign to this roadside unit. Is it independent from the spectrum assigned to the cellular operator?”

Assi says that being awarded one of Concordia’s research chairs is a privilege. “It’s something that many people are competing for in the Faculty and in my department, and I feel blessed to have received it."

Concordia’s four other new CURCs are:
•    Kathleen Boies: Concordia University Research Chair (Tier 2) in Leadership Development.
•    Alexandre Champagne: Concordia University Research Chair (Tier 2) in Nanophysics.
•    Damon Matthews: Concordia University Research Chair (Tier 2) in Climate Science and Sustainability.
•    Kim Sawchuk: Concordia University Research Chair (Tier 1) in Mobile Media Studies.

Concordia’s five recently renewed CURCs are:
•    Andreas Athienitis: Concordia University Research Chair (Tier 1) in Integration of Solar Energy Systems into Buildings.
•    Mourad Debbabi: Concordia University Research Chair (Tier 1) in Information Systems Security.
•    Brigitte Jaumard: Concordia University Research Chair (Tier 1) on the Optimization of Communication Networks.
•    Khashayar Khorasani: Concordia University Research Chair (Tier 1) on Control of Autonomous Networks of Unmanned Systems.
•    Lawrence Kryzanowski Concordia University Research Chair (Tier 1) in Finance.

Concordia’s three recently renewed Endowed Research Chairs are:
•    Michel Laroche: Royal Bank Distinguished Professor in Marketing.
•    Michel Magnan: Lawrence Bloomberg Endowed Chair in Accountancy.
•    Paul Shrivastava: David O’Brien Distinguished Professor in Sustainable Enterprise.

Related links:
•    Research chairs at Concordia University
•    Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies 
•    Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs 

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