2023: A Transformative Year in Review

Research and innovation
Health and wellness
Equity, diversity and inclusion
Year 2023 in review collage.
As we wrap up 2023, we look back at some of the memorable moments, remarkable milestones, and well-deserved recognition that the University of Ottawa experienced this year.

A year of innovation and bold initiatives

In a year marked by groundbreaking initiatives, the University of Ottawa made significant strides that underscore its commitment to cutting-edge research and innovation. The Faculty of Medicine introduced a new research centre, the AMRC, which aims to address the evolving challenges of medicine today, as detailed in Meeting Medicine’s 21st Century Challenges. The University also forged strategic partnerships with IBM Canada, which selected uOttawa as home for its first university-based cybersecurity training hub, reflecting a major leap in cybersecurity education and research. Another partnership with Ericsson established a Quantum Research Hub at uOttawa, positioning the institution at the forefront of quantum technology.

The new uOttawa-IBM Cyber Range Laboratory
The new uOttawa-IBM Cyber Range Laboratory

The inauguration of the PharmD program in French reflects the University’s commitment to providing diverse educational opportunities. To further interdisciplinary research, uOttawa also unveiled a new complex dedicated to healthy active living research, which will foster collaboration across disciplines and advance research at the intersection of health and well-being.

The 2023 Web of Science Group listed 14 researchers affiliated with the University of Ottawa as academics who are most-frequently cited internationally.

Collectively, these announcements highlight the University’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of knowledge and innovation across various domains. 

Funding for Francophone research

As the world’s largest bilingual (French-English) university, uOttawa plays an important role in Francophone higher education, both in Canada and internationally.

In 2023, seven new Francophone mobility chairs were added, in keeping with the University’s commitment to nurturing diversity and scholarly research in the French language. Moreover, a historic investment of $347 million was secured to fortify and enhance French-taught programs at the University of Ottawa. The establishment of the Research Chair in Science Diplomacy—a product of a partnership between the University of Ottawa and the Embassy of France in Canada— became official with the signing of a memorandum of understanding that took effect on April 24, 2023, as part of renewed scientific collaboration between France and Canada. Built on the expertise of researchers at the University of Ottawa and in France, the program seeks to address novel challenges related to science diplomacy.

Global Recognition – In The News

A woman looking through a microscope at the Faculty of Science with a colleague working in the background.
A woman looking through a microscope at the Faculty of Science with a colleague working in the background.

The University of Ottawa reached for the stars in media coverage! The top media stories that grabbed the most attention centred on our space research. The University contributed innovative studies that garnered global attention. One notable research project, detailed in an article entitled “Space Travel Alters Gene Expression in White Blood Cells, Weakening Our Immune System”, revealed how space travel impacts gene expression in white blood cells, thereby weakening the immune system.

Another space-related breakthrough at uOttawa was described in an article entitled “Space Travel Depletes Red Blood Cells and Bone, but Bone Marrow Fat May Come to the Rescue”, which describes how red blood cells and bone are depleted during space travel. The research suggests that bone marrow fat may play a crucial role in mitigating these effects, highlighting its impact on space physiology. 

The University's cosmology research challenged established theories, as detailed in “Reinventing Cosmology: uOttawa Research Puts Age of Universe at 26.7 — Not 13.7 — Billion Years”. This study sparked debates and discussions, fundamentally reshaping our understanding of the cosmos. 

Global Rankings

The University of Ottawa has achieved outstanding recognition in global rankings. In the QS Rankings, the University secured an impressive 72nd position globally in sustainability, underscoring its commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible practices. Additionally, the University climbed an impressive 34 positions in the 2024 QS World University Rankings.

Research InfoSource listed uOttawa among Canada’s Top 50 Research Universities for 2023. For the third year in a row, uOttawa placed eighth in the category of universities with a medical school. Furthermore, in the esteemed Maclean’s Rankings, the University achieved top five status in the category of medical-doctoral universities in Canada.

These accolades confirm the University’s global standing and commitment to world-class education and academic achievement.

Memorable milestones

In a remarkable achievement, 12-year-old science student Anthaea-Grace Patricia Dennis graduated from uOttawa. This science prodigy embodies extraordinary talent and potential as a future leader in the scientific realm. This remarkable accomplishment speaks to the promising trajectory of this young graduate’s future.

Chancellor’s Installation: A Historic Moment

Chancellor Claudette Commanda at her installation.
Chancellor Claudette Commanda at her installation.

The University celebrated a historic moment with the installation of Claudette Commanda, uOttawa’s First Indigenous Chancellor. Ms. Commanda, an Algonquin Anishinaabe from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation and a graduate of the University’s law school, became the University’s 15th chancellor. During her studies at the University of Ottawa, she founded a First Nations student association to improve representation on campus and also established an Indigenous resource centre, now called the Mashkawazìwogamig Indigenous Resource Centre. Ms. Commanda is committed to building a strong, enhanced relationship between the University and Indigenous communities, especially Algonquin communities.

Our 175th Year comes to a close

The Bytown College Heritage Day ceremony in honour of the University of Ottawa and Saint Paul University’s 175th anniversary.
The Bytown College Heritage Day ceremony in honour of the University of Ottawa and Saint Paul University’s 175th anniversary.

In 2023, the University of Ottawa and St. Paul’s University turned 175. As we look back over the University’s history, ranging from its humble beginnings with fewer than 100 students to its present student population of over 47,000 hailing from 150 countries, we can be truly impressed by the institution’s achievements as a bilingual university and global leader in research.

To mark the 175th anniversary, the City of Ottawa officially declared September 26, 2023, as Bytown College Heritage Day in honour of the college that gave birth to the University of Ottawa and Saint Paul University. The flags of both universities were flown in front of City Hall to celebrate two institutions that are central to the lives of Ottawa’s citizens and their city.

The end of the year offers an opportunity not only to review and celebrate the past, but also to look ahead to the future. And there is much to look forward to at uOttawa. From construction of the Advanced Medical Research Centre to ongoing and new ventures at Kanata North, 2024 will surely see us continue to advance vital research, improve our communities, and achieve academic excellence.