NSERC awards more than $3.3 million to York-led research partnerships


Two industry-academic partnerships led by York University have received a total of $3.3 million through the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Grants program.

James Elder, Professor in the Lassonde School of Engineering’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Faculty of Health’s Department of Psychology, and a member of York’s Centre for Vision Research, has received $1.65 million over six years to lead a program in Data Analytics and Visualization.

This innovative program will provide interdisciplinary training in both computational analytics and perceptual design methodologies for deriving value from big data for a broad range of industrial applications. Data analytics and visualization (DAV) addresses the wealth of diverse forms of data produced by a myriad of instruments and systems, including (i) Physical infrastructures like sensor networks, power grids, wireless communication systems, and transportation networks; (ii) Social and economic networks and; (iii) Healthcare systems like immunization and epidemiology networks, and molecular and gene regulatory networks.

The program is a multi-institution, multi-sector collaboration between York University (the lead institution), OCAD University, Concordia University and the University of Toronto, together with a number of leading Canadian high-tech companies in Toronto and Montreal, focused on applications in cloud computing, digital cultures, health technology and smart cities. Graduates of the program will go on to take permanent positions in industry, universities and government, and will be Canadian leaders in the field of Data Analytics and Visualization in a broad range of application areas.

The Data Analytics and Visualization team includes 10 researchers at four Canadian universities, as well as ten other academic collaborators and fourteen non-academic partner organizations. The program will contribute to the training of 56 students and post-doctoral fellows over 6 years.

Jimmy Huang, Professor and Director of York’s School of Information Technology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies has received $1.65 million over six years to lead the Advanced Disaster, Emergency and Rapid Response Simulation.  The Advanced Disaster, Emergency, and Rapid Response Simulation (ADERSIM) CREATE industry stream program will enhance Canada's capacities in public safety and emergency management through innovative training, research, and development of professionals in state-of-the-art simulations and emergency management information systems.

The ADERSIM program will train 78 postdoctoral fellows and graduate students with strong theoretical and professional skills in information searching, data mining, knowledge management, modelling and simulations to meet Canada's current and future demands in emergency management and public safety industry.

Research and development activities will involve developing state-of-the-art technologies, computational approaches and tools for simulating disaster risks and disaster planning and operations.

The program team includes 11 researchers at York University, Ryerson University, University of Calgary, McMaster University, University of Montréal, and the University of Western Ontario, as well as 24 other academic collaborators and thirteen industrial partners.  The program will offer graduate courses in information technology, emergency management, computer science, mathematics, environmental study, business, geometric engineering and civil engineering from 10 graduate programs of 6 participating universities.

“The NSERC CREATE program supports industry-academic collaborations and helps strengthen the mentoring and training environment for students and post-doctoral trainees,” said Robert Haché, York’s Vice-President Research & Innovation. “We are thrilled about the opportunity to provide a world-class training environment in the fields of data visualization and analytics as well as emergency and disaster management and response planning, through these programs.”

The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), joined by Mark Adler, Member of Parliament for York Centre announced an investment of $28 million today in job-related training for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, through the NSERC CREATE initiative.  The NSERC CREATE Program is designed to add professional skills training to the qualifications and technical skills of Canadian researchers to better prepare them for careers in industry, government or academia.  A total of 17 research teams with members at 28 universities were funded during this round.

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York U’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre. York U is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York U’s 11 faculties and 25 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 280 leading universities worldwide. York U’s community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 275,000 alumni.

Media Contact: Janice Walls, York University Media Relations, 416 736 2100 ext. 22101, wallsj@yorku.ca