Research and innovation at uOttawa: A look at some of the highlights of 2023

Research and Innovation
Research and innovation
Core facilities
Awards and recognition
Research centres and institutes
Health sciences
Equity, diversity and inclusion
Knowledge mobilization

By University of Ottawa

Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation, OVPRI

he number 2023 overlayed on pictures of the uOttawa research community.
This year brought many important advances in the life sciences and cybersecurity sectors, both for the University of Ottawa and the National Capital Region. The launch of the Health Sciences building, the Brain-Heart Interconnectome (BHI), the Canadian Pandemic Preparedness Hub (CP2H) and the uOttawa-IBM Cyber Range all give reason for a positive, hopeful future for Canadians in 2024.

We’re so proud of the accomplishments of our research community, and we can’t wait to work together to tackle new challenges in the year to come. In the meantime, here’s a look at some of the research and innovation highlights of 2023.

Ottawa and McMaster University join forces to prepare Canada for future pandemics

Co-launched in partnership with McMaster University and the Ottawa Hospital in March 2023, the Canadian Pandemic Preparedness Hub (CP2H) will allow researchers from across the country to collaborate with a large network of strategic partners on innovative new vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostic technologies. This new research hub will help give the country’s biomanufacturing and life sciences sectors that competitive edge and, ultimately, ensure that Canada is prepared for future pandemics.

For me, the Francophonie is…

Francophone researchers at uOttawa. Top row: Stéphanie Gaudet, Janaína Nazzari Gomes, François Larocque. Bottom row: André Lecous, Mwali Muray and Lucie Hotte
Francophone researchers at uOttawa. Top row: Stéphanie Gaudet, Janaína Nazzari Gomes, François Larocque. Bottom row: André Lecous, Mwali Muray and Lucie Hotte

To celebrate the Mois de la Francophonie last March, six uOttawa researchers discussed what it means to them to be francophone, what has been their experience conducting research, sharing knowledge and building a career in French, and what francophone research looks like at our university.

uOttawa’s Michael Organ receives 2023 Governor General’s Innovation Award for reactor crucial to COVID-19 tests

Professor Organ’s team invented a flow reactor that can sustainably mass-produce a key molecule used to prepare PCR test kits for diagnosing COVID-19. Since then, billions of test kits have been distributed around the world, allowing for widespread testing of essential workers and freeing the world from lockdown.

uOttawa core facility helps researchers see how algae and plants respond to climate change

Can polar algae, responsible for capturing almost half of the planet’s carbon dioxide, survive in warming waters? Are farmers at risk of producing lower yields in unstable spring weather? At the Core Molecular Biology and Genomics Lab, a research team seeks to answer these questions by studying how plants and algae respond to changing environments. Its critical research could help us design strategies to improve plant growth and productivity, especially in the face of climate change.

uOttawa research seeks answers on brain-heart health link

Although they’re closely linked, brain and heart diseases are currently diagnosed and treated separately. This leads to worse outcomes for patients and more pressure on Canada’s overwhelmed health-care system.

Supported by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, uOttawa launched the Brain-Heart Interconnectome, an interdisciplinary research program aimed at accelerating the prevention and treatment of brain-heart interconnected disorders.

Facilitating exchanges between scholars and communities

The University proudly presented its first EDI in Research Award to Professor Smita Pakhalé, along with two Knowledge Mobilization Excellence Awards to Professors Aimée Craft and Anna Zumbansen, for their outstanding contributions to their research and to community building and outreach.

uOttawa secures $4M in research infrastructure grants to propel health and sustainability innovation

The Canada Foundation for Innovation awarded nearly $4 million for 12 pioneering research initiatives at uOttawa aimed at improving the mental and physical health of Canadians. This investment in research infrastructure supports the sustainable development of these innovative projects spanning four faculties and 10 different research fields.

Impressive cohort of uOttawa researchers elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2023

Royal Society of Canada inductees: Dawn Stacey, Jackie Dawson, Lionel Briand, Sylvie Grosjean, Marceline Côté, Constance Crompton and Monnica Williams
Royal Society of Canada inductees: Dawn Stacey, Jackie Dawson, Lionel Briand, Sylvie Grosjean, Marceline Côté, Constance Crompton and Monnica Williams

Seven uOttawa researchers from five faculties were recognized by the Royal Society of Canada for their outstanding achievements in advancing knowledge and leading the way to a better future.

Whether studying computer science and AI, climate change and public policy, or health care for marginalized and racialized communities, these interdisciplinary researchers support our university’s mission to push the boundaries of knowledge and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.

uOttawa new research institute positioned to become a global leader in data literacy

Insufficient data literacy skills can impact misinformation and decision-making, having widespread health and social implications, and even undermine our democratic processes.

uOttawa's new Data Literacy Research Institute (DLRI) seeks to tackle the complex challenges of data literacy by bringing together interdisciplinary experts from across faculties to conduct cutting-edge research and develop training programs that strengthen and promote data literacy skills.

More than a sleepy bureaucratic town, Ottawa is shaping up to be a vibrant life sciences research hub

The University is strongly committed to advancing research and innovation in the life sciences in the National Capital Region, said Sylvain Charbonneau, vice-president, research and innovation, in an op-ed for the Hill Times. The new Faculty of Health Sciences building and the Advanced Medical Research Centre are just two examples of how we’re breaking down the silos that permeate today’s health-care culture.

New uOttawa-IBM Cyber Range to offer cyberattack training simulations and research

The uOttawa – IBM Cyber Range Lab
The uOttawa – IBM Cyber Range offers immersive and highly realistic cyber response training to help businesses and government organizations across Canada better prepare for real-world cyber threats.

Building on a multi-year partnership, the uOttawa-IBM Cyber Range officially opened in October. This cybersecurity training and research hub is the third of its kind in the world and the first to be hosted on a Canadian university campus.

The Cyber Range will use immersive, realistic and highly sophisticated training simulations to teach students, governments and businesses how to protect, prevent and become more resilient to cybersecurity threats.

Do not rule out universities to drive innovation

In an op-ed for the Hill Times, Guy Levesque, associate vice-president, innovation, partnerships and entrepreneurship, said that universities lay the groundwork for private sector innovation, because of their ability to absorb high-risk investments.

That’s why the University of Ottawa works hard to nurture an entrepreneurial culture, one that’s designed to generate innovation, forge strategic partnerships and turn ideas and discoveries into life-changing products, services and disruptive new ways of thinking, learning and doing.