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Five Queen's professors renewed as Canada Research Chairs

Canada Research Chairs program advances the nation’s position as a leader in discovery and innovation.

One of the country’s highest research honours, the Canada Research Chairs program advances the nation’s position as a leader in discovery and innovation and, recently, five Queen’s faculty members were renewed at both Tier 1 and Tier 2 levels. Tier 1 Chairs are recognized by their peers as world leaders in their respective fields, while Tier 2 Chairs are recognized as emerging leaders in their research areas. Queen’s is home to over 40 Canada Research Chairs.

“The Canada Research Chairs Program continues to enlist and retain our country’s best and brightest researchers,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “Here at Queen’s we are very proud to have five of our most accomplished researchers renewed as chairs, as it speaks to our institution’s pursuit of excellence and leadership across a variety of disciplines.”

Developed in 2000, each year the CRC program invests up to $300 million to attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and promising minds. Queen’s will receive $200,000 per year over seven years for each Tier 1 Chair and $100,000 per year over five years for each Tier 2 Chair.

Queen’s renewed CRCs are:

Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering) has been renewed as a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Bioresource Engineering. A number of Canadian policies have increased incentives for renewable energy generation, bioproduct recovery, and environmentally sustainable approaches to manage water, waste and renewable resources. Dr. Champagne’s research aims to enhance our fundamental understanding of how to lessen environmental impacts of technologies associated with this effort, as well as to use ‘green chemistry’ to establish a future supply of sustainable bio-based energy, fuel material and chemical products.

Will Kymlicka (Philosophy) has been renewed as a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Political Philosophy. Citizenship is often described as tracking social membership but, according to Dr. Kymlicka, many members of society are denied full citizenship based on their linguistic or cognitive capacities. His research will explore new concepts of inclusive citizenship that seek to enable the voices and participation of all members.

Warren Mabee (Geography and Planning) has been renewed as a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Renewable Energy Development and Implementation. Dr. Mabee evaluates new renewable energy technologies in terms of their economic, social, and environmental performance, and seeks to create tools to link national and regional energy modeling with local initiatives. Ultimately, his research supports increased renewable energy use across Canada.

Morten Nielsen (Economics) has been renewed as a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Time Series Econometrics. Dr. Nielsen’s research develops new and improved statistical methods for analyzing time-series data. Such methods are widely used in applied macro-economics, financial economics,
and many other fields.

R. Kerry Rowe (Civil Engineering) has been renewed as a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. The prevention of groundwater contamination at landfill and mining sites is a critical environmental issue. Dr. Rowe’s research will combine modeling and experimental data to investigate long-term performance of various landfill liner systems, and provide new guidelines for the design of anti-contamination systems for future landfills and mining operations.

For more information on Queen’s CRC holders and the program, visit the website.

Global entrepreneurship network expands to Shanghai

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre’s Global Network program helps budding entrepreneurs find their feet in the economic capitals of the world.

Greg Bavington, Executive Director of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, presents in Shanghai. (Supplied Photo)

Freshly minted Queen’s entrepreneurs looking to get their start in Asia now have some additional support.

The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC)’s Global Network, a group of alumni and senior business leaders around the world, has added a network node in Shanghai. The node marks the fifth link in the Global Network, and the first in Asia.

“A node in Shanghai is the next logical step for us, and will be a boost to our ability to support entrepreneurship and innovation activities at Queen’s and beyond,” says Greg Bavington (Sc’85), Executive Director of the DDQIC. “Our growing network will help entrepreneurs emerging from our program solidify their manufacturing strategy and tap into one of the world’s largest markets.”

Joining Queen’s in Shanghai for the announcement of the node was Iris Technologies, a startup launched by Colin Harding (Com’17) and Conor Ross (Sc’16). The company is focused on solving the problem those with a concussion, migraine, or eyestrain often have when using computers. The company is in the midst of implementing a manufacturing strategy for the region.

“As a technology company looking to grow sales and expand its manufacturing capabilities, doing business in Asia is almost a necessity,” says Mr. Ross. “It is my hope that this Global Network node will help hardware startups tackle their biggest challenge – bringing a high-quality product to market – and to achieve this faster and with better products. We are grateful for the support of the DDQIC team and their efforts to support entrepreneurs like us.”

The Queen’s China Liaison Office, located in Shanghai, and the department of Alumni Relations are supporting the recruitment of the first volunteer members of this new node. The China Liaison office was founded in 2007 and its existence underscores the importance of the country to Queen’s global ambitions, says Associate Vice-Principal (International) Kathy O’Brien.

“Building relationships in China is a priority for Queen’s,” says Ms. O’Brien. “The university sent 47 students on exchanges to China in 2016-2017, and has almost 300 identified alumni in mainland China. The Shanghai node of the Global Network is an exciting opportunity to engage our strong and committed Queen’s alumni community in building Queen’s-China connections, and to leverage and recognize their talents by making them an integral partner to what we are doing.”

The DDQIC, Alumni Relations, and Office of the Associate Vice-Principal (International) are seeking Shanghai-based alumni, business leaders, and other supporters who are willing to volunteer their time advising and assisting Queen’s student entrepreneurs. In addition to supporting alumni entrepreneurs as they seek to build connections globally, the network also helps review the pitches of student entrepreneurs who are a part of the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative program.

Those interested in participating in the Global Network program or learning more about it should visit the DDQIC’s website.

Seeking to make an impact

The Social Impact Summit provides unique opportunities for Queen's students and the broader community to learn from leading academics and practitioners.

Across the globe people are keenly aware of how social and environmental factors are critical to the health and prosperity of our communities. As efforts to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are pursued by business, governments, and communities worldwide, students from the Smith School of Business are seeking to make their impact.

Social Impact Summit Speakers
Among the list of speakers for the 13th annual Social Impact Summit are, clockwise from top left: Valérie Courtois, Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative; Zita Cobb, co-founder and CEO of the Shorefast Foundation and Innkeeper of the Fogo Island Inn; Geoff Green, founder and President of Students on Ice Foundation; and Chef Michael Smith and Chastity Smith, proprietors of The Inn at Bay Fortune.

Hosted by Smith’s Centre for Social Impact, the 13th annual Social Impact Summit provides unique opportunities for Queen’s students and our broader community to learn from today’s trailblazers who are scaling solutions to today’s toughest challenges.

The summit, being held on Queen’s campus on Friday, Nov. 10 and Saturday, Nov. 11, brings together leading academics and practitioners to foster discussion on a wide variety of issues and topics that will empower them to move forward and make a social impact. This year’s theme is ‘Fierce and Furious.’

“The Social Impact Summit, along with the Social Innovation Bootcamp that was held Oct. 13-14, are  opportunities for students to engage with leading professionals in the area of social finance, social entrepreneurship, social innovation,” says Joanna Reynolds, Associate Director, Centre for Social Impact. “The summit allows students to reflect upon their values and to understand from seasoned professionals how values apply to business and community life.”

As always, the summit offers an excellent lineup of speakers, including an opening keynote address on Friday by Zita Cobb, co-founder and CEO of the Shorefast Foundation and Innkeeper of the Fogo Island Inn.

A full day of learning and networking activities follows on Saturday, including morning keynote sessions featuring speakers Geoff Green, founder and President of Students on Ice Foundation, Chef Michael Smith and Chastity Smith, proprietors of The Inn at Bay Fortune, and Valérie Courtois, Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative. The afternoon has a full schedule of panel sessions and workshops.

The Social Impact Summit is open to the Queen’s and the Kingston communities, but registration is required.

Delegates expected to attend the Social Impact Summit include Queen’s students in the Commerce programs as well as the MBA and Master of International Business programs.  Many of whom are enrolled in the Certificate in Social Impact Program.

The Centre for Social Impact wishes to thank the OLG for their continued support of the Social Impact Summit. Visit the Centre for Social Impact’s website for the complete agenda.

The Centre for Social Impact at Smith School of Business was established in 2004 with a mission to educate students and foster education, research, and advocacy on issues impacting our local and global communities. Every year, the Centre presents and supports a wide range of programming for students, staff, faculty, and members of the Queen’s community to learn about the processes and practices that drive social impact – including the practice of values-based leadership and, social innovation, which refers to an innovative product, process or program that profoundly and positively changes a social system and is widely recognized a key driver of solutions to such complex issues. For more information please contact the Centre at csi@queensu.ca.

Keeping up The Conversation

It’s a simple, but powerful, formula. Take one part leading academic research, add a dash of journalistic flair, and mix in a robust digital presence. It is this winning recipe that has earned The Conversation, an academic journalism website, the participation of thousands of researchers worldwide, and captured the attention of millions of citizens interested in news with a healthy dose of academic rigour.

The Conversation
Queen's is a founding member of the Canadian national affiliate of The Conversation and, since its launch earlier this year, 33 articles by Queen's experts have been published.   

After a successful soft launch this summer, the Canadian national affiliate of The Conversation is running at full steam, having published hundreds of researchers’ articles, including a number from Queen’s. The university is a founding member of the national news platform.

“Our participation in The Conversation relays the importance and impact of disseminating and promoting the leading-edge research and scholarship happening at Queen’s University,” says Michael Fraser, Vice-Principal (University Relations). “The Conversation is a powerful tool for community engagement and is already bolstering the efforts of our researchers to share their expertise and build profile.”

Over the course of the summer, over two dozen Queen’s academics contributed to The Conversation, sparking dialogue about the business of marijuana, how to improve the skills of tomorrow’s doctors, , recruiting more women to join the military, how to prevent irregular heartbeats, the meaning of The Tragically Hip’s lyrics, and more. These faculty and graduate students suggested topics, wrote columns, and submitted them to The Conversation. From there, professional journalists helped edit the articles to ensure consistency and clarity.

The Conversation’s unique model puts the researchers in the driver’s seat when sharing their expertise,” says Benoit-Antoine Bacon, Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “It is increasingly important that we convey the impact of our research and ideas beyond the academy, and we believe tools such as The Conversation are filling that gap in a powerful way.”

THE STATS

The 33 articles published to date by Queen’s experts have garnered a combined 167,000 reads and 166 comments on The Conversation’s website. One of the most popular, and possibly most controversial, pieces was an article by David Maslove, Clinician Scientist with the Department of Medicine and Critical Care Program, about the need to regulate journalism in the same way his profession is regulated.

“Working with The Conversation’s editorial team was great, with turnaround times between drafts that were much faster than what I’m used to in traditional academic publishing,” says Dr. Maslove. “It was really gratifying to see the piece we created reach a wider audience and stimulate debate.”

Another notable Queen’s submission included Sarita Srivastava’s (Sociology) “I wanna be white!’ Can we change race? – a piece analyzing a recent controversy on transracialism. Dr. Srivastava’s piece led to an invitation for her to speak during a symposium on the matter held at the University of Alberta.

Sarita Srivastava
Sarita Srivastava

“Writing for The Conversation has been a wonderful opportunity to reach a wider audience and to comment on current events as they are happening,” says Dr. Srivastava. “Their editor was extremely skilled in working with me to write in a more journalistic style, while maintaining scholarly content. Within days of my article’s publication, I was invited to speak at an upcoming symposium on the same topic.”

Once the articles are posted to The Conversation’s website, they are shared with a large network of Canadian and international media organizations through a “Republish” feature and posting via The Canadian Press Wire service. The work of Queen’s academics has gone on to be featured in major North American newspapers such as The Washington Post, CNN, CBS News and The National Post, magazines like Scientific American, and national dailies as far away as Australia, where The Conversation was originally founded.

“In our first three months of publication, content from The Conversation Canada has been viewed almost two million times. Combining academic expertise with journalistic storytelling means we are reaching a wide audience across Canada and around the world at a time when the public is thirsting for reliable, fact-based information,” says Scott White, editor-in-chief of The Conversation Canada. “We're very pleased that Queen's has been with us from the very beginning, including a Day One story, as well as important articles on the country's health care system and the beauty of song lyrics, to name just a few.”

The Conversation is regularly seeking new academic contributors. Researchers wishing to write articles should contact Melinda Knox, Associate Director, Research Profile and Initiatives, at knoxm@queensu.ca

Investing in research

QROF supports cancer research 
Last year, 20 Queen’s faculty members received QROF grants, including Parvin Mousavi (School of Computing) whose project is advancing multi-parametric imaging for augmenting the diagnosis and management of prostate cancer. A recipient of the International Fund, Dr. Mousavi is working within the Advanced Multimodal Image-guided Operating (AMIGO) suite at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Harvard Medical School.
According to the American and Canadian Cancer Societies, 262,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed annually and these numbers are expected to double by 2025 when the baby boomer generation reaches the age of peak prevalence. Dr. Mousavi’s research will contribute to better diagnoses and risk stratification of prostate cancer, and help decrease its mortality and morbidity.

Letters of intent are being requested for two funding competitions open to researchers and scholars at Queen’s University – the 2017-2018 Queen’s Research Opportunities Funds (QROF) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Institutional Grant (SIG) competitions.

The QROF provides researchers and scholars financial support to accelerate their programs and research goals, and offers opportunities to leverage external funding to build on areas of institutional research strength. Through a federal government block grant provided to Queen’s by SSHRC, the recently-redesigned SIG competition supports social sciences and humanities researchers with funding for research project development, pilot study work, or to attend or run knowledge-mobilization activities like workshops, seminars or scholarly conferences.

“Championing research and scholarly excellence is a cornerstone of our mission at Queen’s University,” says John Fisher, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “The QROF competition allows us to make our largest internal investment in research, scholarship and innovation by supporting researchers striving to take their work to the next level. With SSHRC's recent redesign of the allotment of funding from the SIG, we are poised to reinvigorate research in the social sciences and humanities, further strengthening scholarship in the SSHRC disciplines."

The QROF competition consists of four funds:

  • The Research Leaders’ Fund – for strategic institutional commitments to aspirational research in support of the university’s research strengths and priorities
  • The International Fund – to assist in augmenting the university’s international reputation through increased global engagement
  • The Arts Fund – designed to support artists and their contributions to the scholarly community and to advancing Queen’s University
  • The Post-Doctoral Fund – to both attract outstanding post-doctoral fellows to Queen’s and to support their contributions to research and to the university

The SIG competition provides funding through two granting programs:

  • SSHRC Explore Grants – support social sciences and humanities researchers at any career stage with funds to allow for small-scale research project development or pilot work, or to allow for participation of students in research projects
  • SSHRC Exchange Grants – support the organization of small-scale knowledge mobilization activities in order to encourage collaboration and dissemination of research results both within and beyond the academic community, as well as allow researchers to attend or present research at scholarly conferences and other venues to advance their careers and promote the exchange of ideas

The Office of the Vice-Principal (Research) has issued calls for letters of intent, and successful candidates will be invited to submit a full application. Information on each of the funds and the application processes can be found on the on the website of the Office of the Vice-Principal (Research). For more information, email ferrism@queensu.ca.

Leaders in the classroom

The 2017 winners of the Principal’s Teaching and Learning Awards have been announced with awards being handed out in educational leadership, student services, and curriculum development.

The awards, created in 2015, recognize individuals and teams who have shown exceptional innovation and leadership in teaching and learning on campus and are administered by the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

“This year’s award recipients are a dedicated group of faculty and staff and I commend them on their deep commitment to enhancing the student learning experience at Queen’s,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “Across campus there is a great deal of work taking place to foster excellence in teaching and learning and I am delighted that these awards can help raise the profile of this initiative.”

Each award celebrates a different aspect of teaching and learning, such as educational leadership and curriculum development.

Formal presentation of the awards will take place at the Teaching Awards Reception to be held in January 2018.

The recipients are:

Educational Leadership Award
Dr. J. Damon Dagnone, Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences

Over the past two and a half years, Damon Dagnone has overseen a fundamental transformation in the design and delivery of postgraduate medical education (PGME) across the 29 medical and surgical specialty and subspecialty training programs at Queen’s. As the School of Medicine’s Faculty Lead for implementation of Competency-Based Medical Education (CBME) Dr. Dagnone has been instrumental in leading a medical school-wide transition to a new model of postgraduate training for physicians, as Queen’s became the first school in Canada to fully adopt this new educational paradigm. This education innovation has required a massive shift in the School of Medicine’s approach to education, and early on it was recognized that this effort would require a dedicated Faculty Lead to spearhead the transition. Dr. Dagnone was the lead author of the school-wide FIRE (Fundamental Innovation in Residency Education) proposal to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and his active advocacy was a key contributor to its ultimate approval which allowed Queen’s to move forward with CBME implementation. Beyond his leadership and engagement with stakeholders at Queen’s, Dr. Dagnone has also engaged on an ongoing basis with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and its various specialty committees, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and other Postgraduate Medical Education offices at medical schools across Canada.

Michael Condra Outstanding Student Service Award
Dr. Renée Fitzpatrick, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences

Dr. Renée Fitzpatrick has been the Director of Student Affairs for the Queen’s School of Medicine since 2014. A child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Fitzpatrick is an experienced and award-winning educator. The beginning of her tenure as director of student affairs coincided with heightened student concern about ‘burnout.’ Early on, Dr. Fitzpatrick helped facilitate a student-organized initiative, ‘Wellness Month,’ an idea that has now been adopted at medical schools across Canada utilizing the hashtag #keepsmewell. Subsequently, she has developed four ‘wellness half-days,’ which focus on self-awareness about awareness , self-care skills appropriate for the developmental stages of students at key points in the curriculum as well as awareness of and responsibility for developing resilience. In addition, Dr. Fitzpatrick has developed a coordinated approach integrating wellness, academic and career advising in an intentional fashion for all students across the four years of the curriculum. Students participate in regular meetings with faculty to provide support in these domains in an individualized fashion. As part of the re-imagining of the Learner Wellness program she has been instrumental in the introduction of an embedded counsellor and is an active participant in national meeting focussing on student wellness and student affairs.

Curriculum Development Award
School of Policy Studies team
Dr. Rachel Laforest
Dr. Robert Wolfe
Joel Jahrsdorfer
Andrew Graham
Fatemeh Mayanloo
Fiona Froats

Over the past four years, Rachel Laforest and her team have developed a competency-based curriculum which integrates experiential and problem-based learning to introduce students to the policy process and the role of policy analysis. Starting in 2014, the School of Policy Studies embarked on a curriculum renewal process after a series of external reviews identified the need to adapt the curriculum to reflect the contemporary public policy landscape. This review led to a greater integration of multi-disciplinary perspectives via the introduction of a new foundational course – MPA810. The team’s external engagement and strong links within the community allowed them to build real-world examples into the curriculum by leveraging the study hours that students participate in. It is this combination of classroom learning, community engagement and practical experience that provides students with a rounded and cutting-edge learning environment. The process of curriculum renewal led by Dr. Laforest and her team involved gather a strong evidence base and student were engaged throughout the process. In collaboration with Bob Wolfe, Dr. Laforest is now teaching MPA810, incorporating feedback from faculty and students along the way. 

Certificate in Social Impact for Professionals first of its kind in Canada

Today’s business leaders are increasingly expected to be ready and willing to tackle the most pressing social needs from the environment to human rights, from poverty to civic engagement.

To meet this growing demand the Centre for Social Impact at the Smith School of Business is now offering a Certificate in Social Impact for Professionals to provide today’s business leaders with applicable skills while at the same time fostering professional networks. Led by the centre’s Director and Smith faculty, Tina Dacin, the certificate is the first of its kind in Canada that equips managers with best practice approaches to integrate social impact considerations into core business and organizational strategies.

"Certificate for Social Impact for Professionals"
A first in Canada, the Certificate in Social Impact for Professionals will provide business leaders with best practice approaches to integrate social impact considerations into core business and organizational strategies. (Supplied Photo) 

Since 2004, the Centre for Social Impact has offered students at Smith the Certificate in Social Impact, with more than 500 graduate and undergraduate students earning a certificate alongside their degree programs.

The newly-launched professional program is comprised of two two-day sessions –Social Finance Academy and Leading with Impact – with both hosted at Smith’s Toronto campus. To earn a full certificate, professionals must apply their learning to an independent or team project exploring issues of social impact specific to their workplace.

Joanna Reynolds, Associate Director, Centre for Social Impact, says that while business schools have historically produced great talent in traditional fields such as business development, business management, accounting and marketing, there is a growing expectation that aspects related to sustainable development goals such as climate action, and reducing inequalities, be included in a business education.

The Certificate for Social Impact program has forged such a path and now emerging skill sets are available for working professionals.

“This program and others we offer at the Centre for Social Impact support Smith students and working professionals to gain foresight into how changing social issues will impact their industry and society as a whole and provide them with new skills needed to affect change,” Ms. Reynolds says. “Additionally, gaining insight into how values apply to a changing business and community landscape is critical to navigating competing tensions and uncertain environments. These skills and new mindsets help to equip our graduates to be responsive and effective in their areas of expertise.”

The Social Finance Academy is being offered Nov. 23-24 and the Leading with Impact program is scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Registration is currently open.

Under the direction of Dr. Dacin, the Centre for Social Impact is also currently developing the Diversity and Inclusion Professional Series, to be first offered in Spring 2018.

The first session of the series will be the LGBTQ+ Professional Leadership Program.

“The Diversity and Inclusion Series is one way to address and support the diversity gap in senior leadership roles,” says Ms. Reynolds. “While society needs many ways of doing that, one is to build mentorship and peer relationships that support real change in leadership roles. That’s an exciting program for us.”

Subsequent offerings will focus on such topics as Women in Leadership, Indigenous Leadership, and programs for newcomer Canadians, Ms. Reynolds adds.

Other offerings from the Centre for Social Impact include the Social Innovation Bootcamp (Oct. 13-14 and March 9-10), for students to apply solutions to social issues that communities are grappling with  and the Social Impact Summit (Nov. 10-11), a conference program that brings together leading academics and practitioners  from across  Canada. This Summit offers panel discussions, skill building workshops and networking opportunities, for students across Queen’s campus to explore issues and topics in the area of social impact and responsible leadership.

Meeting 'The New India'

  • Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon and His Excellency Vikas Swarup shake hands at the University Club. (University Communications)
    Provost Benoit-Antoine Bacon and His Excellency Vikas Swarup shake hands at the University Club. (University Communications)
  • The Indian High Commission, Queen's staff, Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson, and representatives from KEDCO and St. Lawrence College pose for a group photo. (University Communications)
    The Indian High Commission, Queen's staff, Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson, and representatives from KEDCO and St. Lawrence College pose for a group photo. (University Communications)
  • His Excellency Vikas Swarup provides a lecture on "The New India" to a group of Smith School of Business graduate students, faculty, and other special guests in Goodes Hall. (University Communications)
    His Excellency Vikas Swarup provides a lecture on "The New India" to a group of Smith School of Business graduate students, faculty, and other special guests in Goodes Hall. (University Communications)

Queen’s University graduate students were introduced to “The New India” as part of a delegation visit by the High Commission of India to Canada on Wednesday.

The delegation was led by His Excellency Vikas Swarup, who was named High Commissioner in the spring. The visit marked His Excellency’s first trip to Kingston since taking office. In addition to being a highly respected diplomat and envoy, His Excellency is also a celebrated author – his most famous book, 2005’s Q&A, hit North American theatres in 2008 as Slumdog Millionaire.

During his day-long stop, he attended a lunch hosted by Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Benoit-Antoine Bacon, presented a lecture to graduate students at the Smith School of Business, and learned about Queen’s research priorities and the recent activities of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre working with the Deshpande Foundation in Hubballi, India. The day concluded with a networking reception hosted by the Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO) at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

“It was an honour to welcome the High Commissioner to Queen’s and to share with him some of the exciting research and innovation we are doing at Queen’s,” says Dr. Bacon. “We were very pleased that His Excellency took the time to discuss the exciting developments taking place in his country, and to elaborate on the opportunities for Queen’s and for Canada to partner with India. Expanding our relationship with India, and having meaningful international “at home” experiences for our students, such as His Excellency’s lecture, are integral parts of our Comprehensive International Plan and I want to thank everyone, and in particular our Mayor Bryan Paterson, who made the day a success.”

His Excellency’s lecture focused on the changing dynamics within the nation of more than 1.3 billion people. He spoke to the existing relationship between Canada and India, which he hoped to make “the defining partnership” of the coming century, and areas of future growth and collaboration.

"India is a very exciting place right now because it is transforming at a rapid pace,” says His Excellency. “In the new India, the most important thing is going to be partnerships. We have a massive requirement of skill...at a time when the world is aging, India has a young population and a youthful population...We are looking for partnerships with premier international universities like Queen's, so I think there is a lot we can do together."

During the visit by the High Commissioner, Dr. Bacon informed the delegation that he will make a trip to India in January to learn more about the work of the Deshpande Foundation. 

Mean green protein

 'Team Duckweed' features, from left, Alex Stothart, Hana Chaudhury, Gilad Streiner, Santiago Spencer, and Rachel Amirault. These five Queen's students are participating in the Queen's Innovation Connector Summer Initiative, which is helping to kickstart their business. (Supplied Photo)

It’s full of protein and fibre. It’s a leafy green, and a rich source of Vitamin A and B. It’s a hearty plant – you could even say it grows like a weed.

The one remaining question on the mind of Queen’s students Hana Chaudhury (Comm’18), Rachel Amirault (Sc’18), Gilad Streiner (Artsci’17, Sc’17), Alex Stothart (Sc’18), and Santi Spencer (Sc’18) is: would you like to try some duckweed?

“We initially came across duckweed as a commercial opportunity from [an industry trend report] that highlighted alternative, plant-based protein sources,” explains Hana. “After conducting research, we were surprised – and delighted – to find that duckweed as food is a largely untapped market in North America. We saw it as both a great market opportunity, and as a chance to provide a much more sustainable protein alternative with little sacrifice on nutrition and a lower environmental footprint than most plant-based protein alternatives.”

The members of ‘Team Duckweed’ are currently participating in the Queen’s Innovation Centre Summer Initiative (QICSI), a summer-long bootcamp for budding entrepreneurs. They are using the time, and the feedback of QICSI mentors, to validate their market, conduct tests, research their product, and design the system that will eventually help them grow their crop. Hana and the team are grateful for the opportunity they have had through the QICSI program to learn these lessons and develop their business in a safe environment.

A successful expedition to gather duckweed. The next place you see it may be a store shelf near you. (Supplied Photo).

“It’s an unparalleled opportunity for young people interested in entrepreneurship,” says Hana. “We have loved having the feedback from mentors who have worked in this field and have a wealth of knowledge to provide us with, as well as the quality of the speakers and entrepreneurship education the program has provided. We quickly built a strong community with the rest of our cohort, and seeing everyone’s hard work definitely fuels the competitive fire and has pushed us to work harder.”

But, of course, before their business gets off the ground there’s that million dollar question: how does it taste?

“We have tried duckweed in small quantities and, to us, it tasted like nothing,” adds Hana. “Granted, when we taste it in larger quantities we will probably get a better sense of its taste profile. We initially began with the idea of developing a taste neutral nutritional powder that could be added to any meal in small quantities. We are exploring some other options such as incorporating it into a sauce, breads, or another food product, but are still in the process of researching what end-product consumers will gravitate towards most.”

QICSI runs until mid-August, and ‘Team Duckweed’ is one of eight teams participating in this year’s bootcamp. Learn more about QICSI at queensu.ca/innovationcentre

The next superfood? A photo of duckweed harvested by 'Team Duckweed'. (Supplied Photo)

 

Honorary Degree: Stephen J.R. Smith

  • Stephen J.R. Smith holds up his honorary degree from Queen's University during Tuesday's Spring Convocation ceremony at the ARC, with Rector Cam Yung, Principal Daniel Woolf, and Chancellor Jim Leech.
    Stephen J.R. Smith holds up his honorary degree from Queen's University during Tuesday's Spring Convocation ceremony at the ARC, with Rector Cam Yung, Principal Daniel Woolf, and Chancellor Jim Leech.
  • Stephen J.R. Smith shares a laugh with, from left, Rector Cam Yung, Principal Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech and David Saunders, Dean of the Smith School of Business, as he prepares to be hooded at Tuesday's Spring Convocation ceremony.
    Stephen J.R. Smith shares a laugh with, from right, Rector Cam Yung, Principal Daniel Woolf, Chancellor Jim Leech and David Saunders, Dean of the Smith School of Business, as he prepares to be hooded at Tuesday's Spring Convocation ceremony.
  • Entrepreneur and philanthropist Stephen J.R. Smith delivers a speech after receiving an honorary degree from Queen's during Tuesday's Spring Convocation ceremony at the Athletics and Recreation Centre.
    Entrepreneur and philanthropist Stephen J.R. Smith delivers a speech after receiving an honorary degree from Queen's during Tuesday's Spring Convocation ceremony at the Athletics and Recreation Centre.
  • Family and friends fill the main gym of the Athletics and Recreation Centre for Tuesday afternoon's Spring Convocation ceremony for graduates of the commerce program at the Smith School of Business as well as master's and PhD recipients.
    Family and friends fill the main gym of the Athletics and Recreation Centre for Tuesday afternoon's Spring Convocation ceremony for graduates of the commerce program at the Smith School of Business as well as master's and PhD recipients.

One of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs in the financial services industry, Stephen J.R. Smith (Sc’72) received an honorary degree from Queen’s on Tuesday, May 30 as part of Spring Convocation.

Renowned for innovation in information technology and financial structuring in the Canadian mortgage industry, Mr. Smith is also an avid supporter of post-secondary education. In 2015, he made a $50-million investment in business education at Queen’s, the largest-ever gift to any business school in Canada. In recognition of this investment the Queen’s School of Business was renamed the Stephen J.R. Smith School of Business.

Mr. Smith earned a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in electrical engineering from Queen’s in 1972 and is the co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of First National Financial Corporation, Canada’s largest non-bank lender of residential and commercial mortgages. He is also chairman and co-owner of Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance, the country’s third-largest mortgage insurance provider.

A live feed of each Spring Convocation ceremony will begin approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled start of each event. For a full schedule of the ceremonies, visit the website of the Office of the University Registrar.

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