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Harrison McCain Foundation invests 1 25 million in UNB faculty

Author: Communications

Posted on Apr 25, 2016

Category: UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John

Scott PaveyFaculty members at UNB now have increased research and teaching support, thanks to the generosity of a leading New Brunswick foundation. 

The Harrison McCain Foundation has renewed the Harrison McCain Faculty Awards at UNB with a leadership gift of $1.25 million. The awards, initially established in 2006 with a grant of $1 million, have four different areas of focus. They provide each recipient with funds to support research projects, additional study, travel, equipment, the hiring of research assistants and other key components for research success. 

“I wish to extend my thanks to the Harrison McCain Foundation for continuing Harrison’s commitment to UNB with this exceptional gift,“ said Eddy Campbell, UNB president and vice-chancellor. “Harrison, who served as chair of the UNB Foundation, was a staunch believer in UNB’s important role in the province. I am extremely pleased that the Harrison McCain Foundation has chosen to honour him with this investment.”

The awards include:

  • The Harrison McCain Young Scholars Awards, which provide up to $25,000 to support new or recently hired faculty who have received their highest degree within the last 10 years;
  • The Harrison McCain Visitorships, which offer up to $50,000 to UNB faculty to enable them to participate in the academic life of another institution;
  • The Harrison McCain Visiting Professorships, which offer up to $50,000 to allow UNB faculty to bring colleagues from other institutions to enrich the UNB experience; and
  • The Harrison McCain Grant in Aid of Scholarly Book Publishing, which provides up to $5,000 in funding to assist faculty with the costs of publishing their research.  

Young Scholars Award recipient Dr. Scott Pavey is completing his first year as an assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in the department of biology at UNB Saint John.

“I am very grateful to the Harrison McCain Foundation,” said Dr. Pavey. “Thanks to the award, I have been able to hire a postdoctoral fellow, who has enabled me to hit the ground running with my ambitious research program.” His research uses state-of-the-art technologies to address questions about conservation, fisheries management, evolution and ecology with the aim of conserving the natural diversity of fish populations. 

Altogether, 13 faculty members received Young Scholars Awards in 2015-16, five received Visitorships and two received Visiting Professorships. The publication grant will be a new component for the 2016-17 academic year.  

“We are very grateful for the Harrison McCain Foundation’s gift of $1.25 million to renew these faculty awards,” said David Burns, vice-president (research) at UNB. “Thanks to the foundation’s generosity, our faculty members will be able to build more innovative and resilient research programs, which in turn contribute to a stronger and more prosperous province.”

Harrison McCain Young Scholars Awards 2015-16

Paul Cook (Computer Science) is an inter-disciplinary scholar whose research spans the fields of natural language processing, linguistics and lexicography. He is currently exploring the automation of dictionary construction for better natural language processing. The award will contribute to the travel, equipment and salary expenses of a graduate researcher.

Amirkianoosh Kiani (Mechanical Engineering) is working on micro- and nano-texturing of biocompatible materials and ceramics induced by laser pulses for bone and tissue transplant fabrication, research that has significant commercialization potential. Students trained on this project are expected to become highly skilled workers in the field of biomedical engineering.
Howard Kislowicz (Law) will bring together scholarship in law, psychology and history to question some of law’s assumptions and critically examine law’s relationship with religion. His project will argue that some legal practices are not supported by empirical evidence and will challenge legal scholars and practitioners to offer better justifications for law’s authority to render decisions regarding religious practices.
J.P. Lewis (History and Politics) will examine core political executives in Atlantic Canada and their decision-making processes to better understand the recent trends of centralization of power in Canadian governments. The award will provide funding for student research assistant salaries and Access to Information processing fees vital to the work.
Heather Major (Biology) is exploring differences in how closely related seabird species (alcids) acquire information through the senses of sight, hearing and smell and how this information influences their choices of breeding sites. The award will contribute to covering costs for student assistants to conduct field research in Adak, Alaska.
Erin Morton (History) specializes in 19th, 20th and 21st-century Canadian art history. Her new project, “Unsettling Canadian Art History”, will examine the formation of Canadian national identity in the visual arts by foregrounding the history of settler colonialism contained and concealed within regional and folk art practices.
Susanne O’Donnell (Nursing) conducts research focused on understanding, preventing and addressing the problem of workplace bullying and violence. Her project will identify conditions that influence successful management and resolution of workplace bullying. The award will contribute to the costs of a student assistant, publication and conference travel.
Scott Pavey (Biology) is a Tier II Canada Research Council Chair in Aquatic Molecular Ecology and Ecological Genomics and uses genomic and transcriptomic tools to address questions in ecology, evolution and conservation of fishes. The award will contribute to hiring a postdoctoral fellow to lead a striped bass population genomics project that encompasses the area from the southern east coast of the United States to the St. Lawrence River.
Saleh Saleh (Electrical and Computer Engineering) specializes in power systems, renewable energy systems, electric machines and power electronics. The award will support the development of digital interconnection protection for distributed generation systems, which will complement research activities aiming to develop effective, stable and functional utilization of different types of renewable energy sources.
Matthew Sears (Classics and Ancient History) conducts research on ancient Greece and his publications appeal to a wide audience both within and outside of the academy. This funding will allow him to continue his fieldwork in Greece and to collaborate with scholars from other disciplines (such as Geodesy and Geomatics Engineering) to further explore the topography of ancient battlefields.
Natalia Stakhanova (Computer Science) conducts cutting-edge research in network security that has earned her international recognition and the New Brunswick Chair in Cyber Security. Her project will explore the theory and practice behind malware author attribution (digital fingerprints). The award will contribute to graduate research assistant salary, travel and equipment.
Lisa Todd (History) specializes in the fields of modern Germany, European history, gender and sexuality, and war and society. She is currently working on a book project investigating the role of racial anthropologists in the study, persecution and murder of ‘mixed race’ peoples from German Southwest Africa to Nazi-occupied Europe, 1880 - 1945. The award will support her field work in Berlin and Washington, DC.
Krista Wilkins (Nursing) focuses her research on building capacity among cancer survivors and primary health care providers to promote wellness during survivorship. Her current project is intended to identify and test best practices for strengthening the roles of nurse practitioners in delivering primary health care to cancer survivors.

Harrison McCain Visitorships 2015-16

Juan Carretero (Mechanical Engineering), a specialist in robot kinematics, will be visiting the Sophia-Antipolis branch of INRIA (Institut national de recherche en informatique et en automatique) in France. He will be working with Jean-Pierre Merlet, one of the world’s top researchers in parallel manipulator kinematics, to explore practical aspects of working with cable-driven parallel manipulators. 

Aurora Nedelcu (Biology) will be working as visiting professor and research collaborator at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. There, she will pursue her research into the application of evolutionary theory to understanding cancer progression and the development of new therapeutic approaches. She will also be developing a new course in evolutionary medicine.

Wei Song (Computer Science) will be visiting the University of Houston in Texas. Her research involves developing innovative networking techniques for reducing energy consumption of wireless networks without sacrificing service capacity. She will also have access to state-of-the-art computer science curricula which she will use to update the courses she teaches at UNB.

Janice Thompson (Nursing) will be visiting Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) in Northern Ireland. She will be participating in a colloquium exploring health advocacy, social justice and democratic professionalism in nursing; laying the groundwork for establishing an ongoing partnership between the nursing programs at UNB and QUB; and collaborating with colleagues at QUB on course development and writing opportunities. 

Maria Costanza Torri (Sociology) will be visiting the Institute of Sociology at the Academia Sinica, Taiwan. She will be analyzing the cultural values and perceived therapeutic relevance of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) vs. biomedicine for reproductive health among women of different ages and socio-economic backgrounds to compare them with the uses and perceptions of TCM for reproductive health among Atlantic Canadian women. 

Harrison McCain Visiting Professorships 2015-16

Carmen Poulin and Lynne Gouliquer (Psychology) will be hosting Chen-Fen Chen from the Department of Social Welfare at Chinese Culture University in Taiwan. Chen is a recognized expert in Taiwan on the study of ageing and variations between generations, ethnicities and genders. She will be sharing her knowledge and collaborating to compare the ageing experience in Taiwan with that in Canada.

Ian Smith (Forestry and Environmental Management) will be hosting Roberto Tomasi from the University of Trento in Italy. Tomasi’s research focuses on the replacing of ‘dirty technology’ postindustrial-era construction materials like reinforced concrete with clean and sustainable alternatives like cross-laminated-timber (CLT). His visit will include exploration of design approaches for modelling multi-storey timber buildings.

Media contact: David Stonehouse