2019 Impact Award Finalists

Wendy L. Cukier
Ted Rogers School of Management
Ryerson University

Wendy Cukier is a business professor and an expert on disruptive technologies, innovation processes and diversity. Co-author of the bestselling Innovation Nation: Canadian Leadership from Java to Jurassic Park, she has authored over 200 papers, helped launch several start-ups, and helped various organizations become more inclusive.

Formerly Ryerson University’s vice-president of research and innovation, Cukier is academic director of the university’s Diversity Institute, which she founded in 1999. She has introduced programs at the university to bridge disciplines, particularly across science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, and the social sciences and humanities.

Cukier’s work has focused on promoting entrepreneurship and strengthening innovation ecosystems, and building and supporting diversity in the workplace and in leadership.

Cukier serves on numerous boards and is an active volunteer. She has previously received a Governor General's Meritorious Cross, and, in 2010, was named one of 25 Transformational Canadians by The Globe and Mail, La Presse and CTV.

Cukier holds an MA and MBA from the University of Toronto, a PhD in business from York University, an honorary doctorate in medicine, dentistry and nursing from Laval University, and an honorary Doctor of Laws from Concordia University.

André Gaudreault
Department of Art History and Film Studies
Université de Montréal

André Gaudreault is the Canada Research Chair in Film and Media Studies. His mission is to examine the role of technological innovation in the development of cinematic forms and practices. The Chair wants to propose a new way to think about media history, one that considers technology, a pervasive feature of our time.

As part of his current research, Gaudreault is particularly interested in the emergence of editing, the trend of broadcasting operas in movie theaters, technological innovations viewed from an “archaeological” perspective, and digital technology’s impact on media.

Gaudreault is recognized by his peers as a world leader in his field, particularly for his pioneering discoveries in early cinematography, which have influenced both cinema theory and history.

He has also contributed to establishing institutional structures and international collaborative networks that have truly transformed the world of film studies.

Gaudreault was elected as a member of the Academy of Arts and Humanities of the Royal Society of Canada in 2014 and has received numerous awards, including the Prix Acfas André-Laurendeau in 2014 and the Killam Prize in humanities in 2018. He holds a PhD in cinema (visual and media arts) from the University of Paris III.

Myriam S. Denov
Centre for Research on Children and Families and School of Social Work
McGill University

Canada Research Chair in Youth, Gender and Armed Conflict at McGill University, Myriam Denov studies the effects war and armed conflict have on the children involved.

An expert on participatory research, Denov has worked directly with children in Asia, North and South America, and Africa affected by war. Her research has included studying how best to reintegrate former child soldiers in Sierra Leone and Colombia, and war-affected youth now living in Canada.

An internationally renowned human rights expert, Denov has been called on to give expert testimony about child soldiers. She also provides advice about children in armed conflict to both governments and non-governmental organizations.

Denov has authored five books, including Child Soldiers: Sierra Leone’s Revolutionary United Front . She received a 2014 Trudeau Fellowship to research how children who were born as a result of sexual violence during war in northern Uganda live, and what support they need.

Her SSHRC-funded research has further explored the lives of children born from war-time rape, as well as how grassroots, girl-led efforts lead to policy changes that decrease sexual violence. Denov was a Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Cambridge, where she earned a PhD in criminology.

Alain-G. Gagnon
Department of Political Science
Université du Québec à Montréal

Alain-G. Gagnon is the Canada Research Chair in Quebec and Canadian Studies, researching how complex democratic societies manage multiculturalism, and what they can do to maintain diversity.

Coming from a range of disciplines and institutions, Gagnon’s research team is analyzing how different phenomena around multiculturalism affect the dynamics and cohesion between communities, as well as relationships between citizens and institutions.

Gagnon’s work has had an impact on policy, planning and his research field, both in Canada and around the world. His comparative research approach draws on ideas from political science, law, sociology and history to build theories and policies that support multicultural democracies.

Gagnon has created new ways to think about traditional state models and how to govern in ways that make the most of diversity. Although rooted in Canada and its own diversity, Gagnon’s research results have appeared widely, including in translation, in journals and magazines throughout the world. Gagnon has mentored many Canadian and international students, and his team has collaborated with researchers in countries from Germany to Mexico.

Gagnon is a past president of the Royal Society of Canada’s Academy of Social Sciences and has received, among other honours, a Governor General’s International Award in Canadian Studies.

Alison D. Blay-Palmer
Department of Geography and Environmental Studies
Wilfrid Laurier University

Alison D. Blay-Palmer is an associate professor of geography and environmental studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, director of the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, and CIGI chair in sustainable food systems at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Her research focuses on how to establish sustainable food systems and viable communities through civil society engagement and innovative governance.

She is principal investigator for Food: Locally Embedded, Globally Engaged (FLEdGE), a collaborative research partnership funded by SSHRC. Launched in 2015, the partnership spans 20 different disciplines and has trained 194 students so far.

The partnership has been improving the sustainability of food systems across Canada and internationally, including providing planning tools to farmers, helping communities safeguard and adapt traditional food systems and knowledge in the face of climate change, and developing mapping methods for sustainable urban food system innovations.

Blay-Palmer’s research partnerships have brought together academics and practitioners from across Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, and the United States.

She holds a PhD in economic geography from the University of Waterloo, and a master’s in rural geography from the University of Guelph, and has authored or co-authored more than 50 plain-language reports.

Barbara Neis
Department of Sociology
Memorial University of Newfoundland

Barbara Neis is the John Lewis Paton Distinguished University Professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and co-director of the SafetyNet Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research.

She is project director for the SSHRC-funded partnership On the Move: Employment-Related Geographical Mobility in the Canadian Context. The research, networking and public engagement project is filling large gaps in what is known about how, why and which people move or travel for employment reasons within Canada.

The research partnership brings together 35 partner organizations and researchers from 27 Canadian and international universities, and has supervised 148 trainees since its launch in 2011.

On the Move researchers map the field, improve statistical data to track mobility and its impacts, engage with affected stakeholders from policy-makers to employers, and unions to community organizations. The research considers the intersection of factors from retail policies to employment standards, focusing on the needs and rights of workers and families in both rural and urban Canada.

Neis holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Toronto, and a master’s in sociology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is a member of the Order of Canada and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Eric Guiry
Department of Anthropology
Trent University

A SSHRC Banting postdoctoral fellow at Trent University, Eric Guiry has been researching the environmental history of the Lake Ontario watershed by studying the chemical compounds in fish bones found at archeological sites. Using new techniques in geoarchaeology, he and his research team are using the same type of analysis to look at sediments drawn from lake cores.

The results, combined with historical specimens from museums, are opening up a thousand years of evidence of climate variations and human activities, and their impacts on freshwater environments. The research, supported through a SSHRC Insight Grant, is leading to new understandings of how humans and animals interact with and affect their environments. As well, in a revolutionary turn for archaeology, the research techniques Guiry and his team are applying enable them to not use up the chemical evidence as they analyze it. Guiry’s research and approach are creating a template for how to do similar studies in other regions.

Already widely published, Guiry also previously received a SSHRC Doctoral Scholarship, and a SSHRC Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship for his master’s degree.

Nadia C.S. Lambek
Faculty of Law
University of Toronto

Nadia Lambek is a juridical science doctoral student whose research is poised to help guide major changes to food policy, both in Canada and internationally.

Her doctoral research on food law and human rights focuses on civil society groups and how they use human rights and other legal tools to secure access to, and control over, food—particularly for the poor—as well as how they resist developments that threaten food security. Lambek’s work draws on both her academic background and professional legal experience, combining insights from fields such as human rights, climate change and environmental sustainability, labour and precarious work, land and resource use, and poverty and hunger.

Lambek has acted as an international legal expert and researcher on food security and the right to food access, and regularly presents at international conferences. She was lead author of a 2018 civil society report for the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, and contributed to consultations for Canada’s first national food policy, announced in 2019.

Lambek received a doctoral SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship to Honour Nelson Mandela. Her other awards include the John Peters Humphrey Fellowship and a Dean’s Graduate Student Leadership Award.

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