U of T Scarborough researchers received 11 Discovery Grants as well as a scholarship and a fellowship totalling more than $2.2 million in overall funding for 2017. (Photo by Ken Jones)
Friday, September 8 - 2017
Don Campbell

A project studying how extreme events, like flooding, will affect important Ontario watersheds is among 11 from U of T Scarborough to receive funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant program.

“We’re delighted with the funding,” says Professor George Arhonditsis, whose project will look at how hydrological extreme events, like floods and droughts, will affect various bodies of water in southern Ontario.

“These bodies of water are economically significant since they provide sources for recreational use, fisheries, agriculture and drinking water, to name a few,” he says.

Arhonditsis says one of the unique aspects of the project is the integrative approach involving both how the watersheds and receiving bodies of water like rivers are affected.

It will also develop statistical models to calculate how often these events can be expected to take place due to climate change, and to see how resilient these systems will be to a greater number of extreme events taking place.   

He points to Hamilton Harbour as a prime example.

“More than 50 per cent of the annual pollutants this area experiences comes from a few extreme events that take place during the growing season. The question is, how resilient will this system be if it receives even more shocks like that.”

Arhonditsis is one of almost 350 researchers at U of T receiving $52.6 million in funding from the Canadian government through NSERC. 

“I want to commend all of today’s recipients, particularly those at the University of Toronto, who can use these funds to expand their research horizons,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who took a break from North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations to attend the funding announcement held today at U of T’s St. George campus.

“By giving scientists the opportunity to pursue the answers to some of their most profound questions, our government is investing in a wealth of new knowledge and innovation that will help us build a bolder, brighter future for all people,” she added.

U of T Scarborough researchers received 11 Discovery Grants as well as a scholarship and a fellowship totalling more than $2.2 million in overall funding for 2017.

“I’m tremendously proud of the important and innovative projects that are receiving funding,” says Professor Marc Cadotte, U of T Scarborough’s acting VP of Research.

“This funding is important not only in fostering a climate of research excellence but it also helps train the next generation of researchers on campus.”

The U of T Scarborough projects to receive funding include:

Maydianne Andrade, Department of Biological Sciences – Examining the links between behaviour, plasticity and diversification under environmental heterogeneity using broadly distributed spider species.

Stefanos Aretakis, Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences – Mathematical problems in general relativity.

George Arhonditsis, Department of Physical and Environmental Science – A Bayesian framework to study the effects of hydrological extremes under present and future climate conditions.

Blair Armstrong, Department of Psychology – Advancing neural network models of language processing.

Ragnar-Olaf Buchweitz, Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences – Applications of homological algebra in algebra geometry, and physics.

Maithe Arrudo Carvalho, Department of Psychology – Maturation of circuits underlying learning and memory.

Michael Evans, Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences – Bayesian inference and relative belief, theory and applications.

Sonia Gazzarrini, Department of Biological Sciences – Environmental and hormonal control of seed development and germination.

Rene Harrison, Department of Biological Sciences – Microtubule organizing centres in osteoclasts.

Ruby Sullan, Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences – Molecular forces in microbial biofilms.

Giuilio Tiozzo, Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences – Ergodic theory of low-dimensional dynamical systems.

Scholarships and Fellowships

Le-Anh Dinh-Williams, Department of Psychology

Stephanie Gagliardi, Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences