Whole lot of research going on: Government of Canada makes funding announcement at uOttawa, including CRCs and Discovery Grants

Research and Innovation
Research and innovation
Canada Research Chairs
Faculty of Arts
Faculty of Engineering
Faculty of Social Sciences

By University of Ottawa

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

University of Ottawa STEM Complex
On June 14, 2024, at the University of Ottawa, the Government of Canada announced $693.8 million in funding across four research programs. Funding for uOttawa includes support for three new or renewed Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) and 96 Discovery grant recipients, proof of our vibrant and expansive research environment.

“This significant investment not only highlights the outstanding work being done here at uOttawa, but also will help propel us into a future filled with groundbreaking discoveries and innovations,” says Sylvain Charbonneau, who is vice-president of research and innovation at the University of Ottawa. “We are thrilled to host this announcement and grateful for this support, which will undoubtedly inspire and empower our researchers to achieve even greater success.”

Three new or renewed Canada Research Chairs

Paria Shirani

Professor Paria Shirani

Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity, Faculty of Engineering

Industroyer is a malware that attacked Ukraine's power generation and distribution systems, causing a complete blackout across the country. The attack was also capable of bringing down the country's water and gas distribution systems.

There's nothing fictional about this scenario: it's the danger that hangs over the Internet of Things (IoT), a network of connected devices that communicate with each other.

"It's easy to imagine the devastating effects of such an event in Canada, especially during the winter," says Professor Shirani. "Our research is aimed at preventing such threats (or at least reducing their impact), protecting human life and saving critical infrastructure." 

With a focus on critical infrastructure, her CRC program will focus on practical solutions to secure IoT devices by detecting software vulnerabilities, even without the original source code. The goal is to create tools and methods that protect vital systems, such as smart buildings and smart cities.

Ultimately, the program aims to identify and fix IoT device vulnerabilities, ensure these fixes work, and uncover complex security issues. It will also generate specialized knowledge about threats to the IoT and create extensive databases to support this effort.

Working with manufacturers and utility companies, Professor Shirani’s program will offer solutions to check IoT device security before and after deployment.

Professor Shirani also received funding support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund.

David Murakami Wood

Professor David Murakami Wood

Canada Research Chair in Critical Surveillance and Security Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences

You may have heard of Telosa, the sustainable city planned for the US desert, or of NEOM, a Saudi Arabian futuristic mega-city. But what do such projects mean for our future?

Professor David Murakami Wood leads a uOttawa research team that explores such questions, including the role of surveillance in the Anthropocene, an environment in which planetary urbanism, AI and global crises shape our world. Their project, called Platform Cities in an Age of Planetary Surveillance, examines how smart-city technologies and state-corporate ideologies intertwine.

They will apply diverse methods to study cases like Telosa, NEOM, and Japan's national Super City policy, which aims to integrate smart technology into all aspects of life. They will also explore the future of security, the role of national security agencies in planetary politics, and the impact of the climate crisis on surveillance. The goal of this research is to transform policy and public discourse through academic publications, policy engagement, fiction and films.

Constance Crompton

Professor Constance Crompton

Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities, Faculty of Arts

“The disappearance of humanities data from the web could lead to a digital dark age,” says uOttawa professor Constance Crompton. This data, including historical records and cultural information, is vulnerable because it often relies on non-commercial, academic, and public interest sources that may not be maintained. As older web content vanishes, valuable information risks being lost forever.

Crompton’s research focuses on ensuring the sustainability of linked data, a system connecting related information across the web. Her goals include developing tools, workflows and a national network to combat disinformation. This involves researching methods to convert humanities knowledge into usable linked data, creating systems to sustain it, and exposing historical and cultural gaps in commercial data environments.

Collaborating with organizations like Érudit and Library and Archives Canada, Professor Crompton’s work empowers others to create and maintain historically nuanced linked data, thereby protecting our digital heritage. 

Congratulations to uOttawa’s Discovery Research Grant recipients

Ninety-six researchers from across seven faculties have received funding from NSERC’s Discovery Research Grant program. From research that investigates marine mineral systems, to the application of photonics to meteorology, to a wide range of computer engineering projects, it’s a thrilling time for research and discovery on campus!