Early Researcher Awards given to three rising stars

Awards and recognition
Research and innovation

By University of Ottawa

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

Adina Lucian-Mayer, Erin Maloney and Jean-Michel Ménard
Three University of Ottawa researchers will receive funding to form their research teams thanks to the Ontario government’s Early Researcher Awards.

“Cultivating research excellence and innovation are more important than ever as Ontario continues to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 and lays the groundwork for robust long-term economic growth,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “These critical investments will ensure promising, early career researchers at the University of Ottawa are able to build their research teams and put Ontario at the forefront of innovation, supporting the development of homegrown ideas and products and creating jobs in local communities. Congratulations to the recipients of the Early Researcher Awards.”

“The University of Ottawa is proud of this exceptionally talented new generation, determined to expand the frontiers of knowledge in key areas for our shared future,” said Sylvain Charbonneau, vice-president, research and innovation. "Their ability to distinguish themselves so early in their careers speaks amply of their rich and diverse research contributions to come."

Adina Luican-Mayer (Faculty of Science): Quantum technologies have raised expectations of a veritable revolution in physics, computer science, medicine and many other sectors. With the emergence of two-dimensional quantum materials made up of one single layer of atoms, new breakthroughs are now within reach. Researcher Adina Luican-Mayer specializes in condensed matter. Through her work, she seeks to understand and control quantum functionalities of two-dimensional materials. The experimental research lab she heads combines scanning microscopy and nanofabrication techniques to push the boundaries of knowledge regarding quantum matter at the scale of individual atoms. With precise atomic techniques, Luican-Mayer and her team will apply themselves to designing quantum devices of high scientific and technological value.

Erin Maloney (Faculty of Social Sciences): Homework supervision is generally beneficial for youth. However, parents anxious about mathematics tend to transmit this to their children, unwittingly interfering with their learning. Working at the intersection of cognitive psychology, developmental psychology and education, researcher Erin Maloney compares parents’ different teaching approaches and behaviours when it’s homework time in terms of their math anxiety. Maloney and her team will develop means to better teach the subject and, ultimately, build children’s confidence in their abilities. At a time when the need for science, technology, engineering and math is more pressing then ever, the results of this research could encourage more youth to develop an interest in STEM careers.

Jean-Michel Ménard (Faculty of Science): Quantum systems will be central to tomorrow’s technologies. Nevertheless, we still know of few methods to master them and fully harness their potential. Researcher Jean-Michel Ménard relies on the latest photonics techniques to make advances in this area. Building on the breakthroughs already achieved in his time-resolved terahertz spectroscopy lab, his team will conduct research on manipulation of the quantum state of solids and molecular systems. His experiments on semiconductor microsamples or chemical components strongly coupled to light will pave the way for new computing and quantum communication technologies, as well as prepare interns to join the exciting Ontario R&D market for these emerging fields.