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

Research and innovation
Awards and recognition
Faculty of Arts
Faculty of Engineering
Faculty of Health Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
Faculty of Social Sciences

By University of Ottawa

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

Royal Society of Canada inductees: Dawn Stacey, Jackie Dawson, Lionel Briand, Sylvie Grosjean, Marceline Côté, Constance Crompton and Monnica Williams
Top row: Dawn Stacey, Jackie Dawson, Lionel Briand and Sylvie Grosjean. Bottom row: Marceline Côté, Constance Crompton and Monnica Williams
This year, seven University of Ottawa researchers from across five faculties are being recognized by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) for their outstanding achievements in advancing knowledge and leading the way to a better future.

“This is an impressive number of inductees for uOttawa, and we couldn’t be prouder,” says University of Ottawa Vice-President of Research and Innovation Sylvain Charbonneau. “As a research-intensive university, our mission is to push the boundaries of knowledge and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians. We wouldn’t be able to accomplish this without world-class researchers like the ones being recognized by the RSC today.”


Fellows are distinguished individuals from all branches of learning who have made remarkable contributions in the arts, the humanities and the sciences, as well as in the lives of Canadians.

Lionel Briand
Full Professor, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering and Canada Research Chair in Intelligent Software Dependability and Compliance

“I have been conducting research for 30 years in an area of computer science known as software verification, or in other words, how to ensure that software systems are reliable, safe and secure, in various domains, ranging from the automotive industry to satellites and finance. In the past five years, I have also worked in an increasingly important area, namely trustworthy AI: making sure AI is safe, secure and fair.

“Everything in society — public services, hospitals, phone apps, manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, agriculture, defence, finance, you name it — depends on software systems being dependable. This is even more critical with the rapid growth of AI, which is in fact just a particular type of software. So my research has a direct and substantial impact on the industry partners I work with, but also on society at large.”

Jackie Dawson
Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics, Faculty of Arts and Canada Research Chair in the Human and Policy Dimensions of Climate Change

“My research interests are mainly focused on climate change and its cascading implications for society. Most Canadians don’t realize that 40% of the landmass in our country is considered the Arctic. It’s one of the most vulnerable places in the world. And with the sea ice receding, shipping traffic in the Arctic has increased and will continue to increase, which will have major implications on trade routes and economic development, but also on the wildlife and Inuit populations that live in the region.

“What I love about my job is that I get to work not only with amazing Canadians and with our Canadian decision-makers, but also with people from other countries who are experiencing similar climate change issues but in completely different ways. And I think that’s where the magic is — bringing diverse people, diverse perspectives, diverse cultures and diverse science together to solve this global problem that we cannot solve alone.”

Sylvie Grosjean
Full Professor, Department of Communications, Faculty of Arts and International Francophonie Research Chair on Digital Health Technologies

“I am interested in the design and use of digital technologies in health care, particularly to try to better understand the impact they will have or how they will transform health care practices. To do so, I will develop a co-design, co-conceptual approach that brings together various stakeholders, namely patients, health-care professionals, designers and developers, to partner in designing technologies that meet their needs. For example, I am working with Francophone communities in minority language settings to reflect with them on digital health and access to online health care.

“What I really like about the co-design approach is the dialogue that results; although it may sometimes generate tension, it’s a positive tension that allows us to build something together. It’s that, in a certain way, that inspires and motivates me.”

Dawn Stacey
Distinguished Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences and University Research Chair in Knowledge Translation to Patients

“My research program is focused on supporting adults, children and health-care professionals facing difficult health-care decisions. These decisions are difficult because there is more than one option and there are often trade-offs between benefits, harms and side effects. I saw this problem firsthand as an oncology nurse working with women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. These women inspired me to conduct research focused on developing decision support tools, coaching and training, which are now used in clinical practice, education, research and health policy in Canada and elsewhere in the world.

“People living in Canada who use these resources have improved quality of decisions, fewer decision conflicts, and this results in more appropriate use of some health-care services. My research website provides access to these resources and includes an international inventory of over 300 publicly available decision aids.”


Members of the College are individuals who have begun demonstrating leading scholarly, research or artistic excellence within 15 years of having completed their post-doctoral program or its equivalent.

Marceline Côté
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine and Director, Centre for Infection, Immunity and Inflammation

“My research focuses on understanding how viruses enter our cells and cause infection and disease. We work mostly on emerging viruses, including the Ebola virus and SARS-CoV-2, for example. So, we listen to the conversation between the virus and the cell, we look at how the virus binds to the cell proteins, so we can understand the pathways that are required for infection. This will allow us to design new, effective antiviral therapies and be ready for the next pandemic.

“In the early days of my career, one of the opportunities I had was an internship in a lab at the University of Sherbrooke. It’s there that I realized that this was something I wanted to do. It didn’t feel like work. It was fun, and I really felt productive. What keeps me going is the support of my family, but also the trainees in the lab. They push me to become a better scientist, a better mentor, and a better teacher.”

Constance Crompton
Assistant Professor, Department of Communications, Faculty of Arts and Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities

“Most of my work involves getting what we know about history into linked data format. That’s a format that can be read, understood, and parsed by machines so that we can have access to it in the digital sphere. History gives us the power to make evidence-backed decisions about the future. It tells us how it is that we got here. It also shows us that it was possible to live in other ways. We’re not stuck in the current moment. The more of that history we can get into the hands of Canadians, the more they will have the evidence they need to make informed decisions about where to go from here.

“I come from a humanities background and I didn’t know that I would love computing so much. I had the good fortune, as a doctoral student, to work on a digital humanities project and I realized that I could have it all. I could have that critical thinking and that engagement with history, as well as all the fun of computing and making digital content. I now get to do that here at uOttawa with a wide group of students in my research lab.”

Monnica Williams
Full Professor, School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences and Canada Research Chair in Mental Health Disparities

“My main interest is looking at access to mental health care, particularly for marginalized and racialized communities. I also look at the effects of racialization on people of colour and their mental health. I develop measurements to assess these constructs, and I’m developing treatments to help people of colour who have suffered from racial trauma recover and heal.

“Even though Canada is a multicultural society, there are still instances of racism and discrimination, and people are still suffering from racial trauma. But there hasn’t been as much effort to measure these things and figure out how people of colour are impacted or what we can do about it.

“The inspiration for my work has always been trying to relieve human suffering. That’s why I became a psychologist. There’s a certain amount of suffering that we all need to encounter to grow as human beings, but there’s also a certain amount of suffering that’s not necessary. And I’m just very much against unnecessary suffering.”