Supporting science

August 5, 2016

MacEwan researchers receive NSERC Discovery Grants 

For the third year in a row, MacEwan University researchers have received support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grants.

MacEwan successfully met NSERC’s institutional eligibility requirements for universities in July 2013, and its researchers have been awarded grants each year since, supporting innovative studies in mathematics and statistics, chemistry, psychology, and Earth and planetary sciences.

“Being recognized as a university was a big step for researchers as it meant they could participate in the flagship Discovery Grant competition,” says Vice-Provost and Professor Cynthia Zutter. “Having such success so early says a lot about the calibre of research happening at MacEwan, and access to this type of funding plays an important part in enhancing faculty teaching and engagement with students.”

This year, Samuel Mugo, associate professor in Chemistry and Anna Pienkowski, assistant professor in Earth and Planetary Sciences, join eight other MacEwan researchers who have received funding through NSERC. In total, university faculty members have to date received $710,000 in Discovery Grants in addition to two smaller Discovery Development Grants.

Anna was awarded $105,000 over five years to study the Arctic-Atlantic gateway of the Northwest Passage, and Sam received a Discovery Grant of $110,000 over five years to research how responsive polymers can be used for biochemical sensor applications.

“We are very proud of the great work Sam, Anna and all of our researchers are doing,” says Cynthia. “There is an incredible amount of innovative, thoughtful and timely work happening in every single faculty—the vast majority of which involves undergraduate students, providing them with valuable exposure to quality, high-level research early in their post-secondary careers.”

MacEwan University NSERC Discovery Grant recipients:


Jeffrey Andrews*, Mathematics and Statistics
Non-Gaussian latent variable mixture models

Trevor Hamilton, assistant professor, Psychology
An Investigation of CO2-Induced Behavioural Changes in Freshwater Fish

Christopher Striemer, assistant professor, Psychology
Identifying the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying the effects of prism adaptation on attention and perceptual biases

Nicolae Strungaru, associate professor, Mathematics and Statistics
Almost Periodic Measures and Mathematical Diffraction


Matthew Ross, assistant professor, Chemistry
Analytical Methods for Understanding Sources and Fate Processes of Emerging Environmental Contaminants


Samuel Mugo, associate professor, Chemistry
Responsive polymers for biochemical sensor applications

Anna Pienkowski, assistant professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences
The Arctic-Atlantic gateway of the Northwest Passage: oceanic exchange, paleoceanography, paleoclimate, proxy calibration and refinement

In summer 2015, Cristina Anton, professor, and Elaine Beltaos, associate professor, in Mathematics both received Discovery Development Grants, valued at $10,000 per year for two years.

Adi Tcaciuc, acting chair and associate professor of Mathematics, brought his 2013 NSERC Discovery Grant with him when he came to MacEwan University.
Structural properties of Banach spaces and of bounded operators acting on them

*Jeffrey Andrews joined the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus in 2015. During his time at MacEwan, he enriched the university’s program and student experience, including mentoring an NSERC student over two summers.

MacEwan University acknowledges support from the Research Support Fund, which provides a portion of the costs associated with managing the research funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, such as salaries for staff who provide administration support.

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