MacEwan University researchers receive national funding grants

June 22, 2021 | Science, Society

MacEwan University congratulates three faculty members who received funding from Canada’s federal Tri-Agency funding programs.

"The ongoing success of our colleagues in securing tri-council funding demonstrates how scholarship is essential to the mandate of an undergraduate university and how work with undergraduate students is recognized by the funding agencies themselves," says Dr. Craig Monk, MacEwan University’s provost & vice-president, Academic.

The Tri-Agencies are a major source of research funding for Canadian post-secondary institutions and consist of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

“The Tri-Agencies fund research that advances knowledge and helps address key societal issues," says Dr. Craig Kuziemsky, associate vice-president, Research, Office of Research Services. "These grants are extremely competitive to get and being awarded them is a remarkable achievement by Drs. Corlett, Jung and Kenney. I know the research they will conduct using these grants will have a substantial impact for their disciplines as well as for our students and the broader communities we engage with."

This year, Dr. Sandy Jung (professor in the Department of Psychology and former Board of Governors Research Chair) received a SSHRC Insight Grant. Dr. Janice Kenney (assistant professor in the Department of Physical Sciences, Chemistry and Earth and Planetary Sciences) and Dr. Hilary Corlett (assistant professor in the Department of Physical Sciences, Earth and Planetary Sciences) each received an NSERC Discovery Grant.

Learn more about their scholarship

Dr. Sandy Jung: Police-Conducted Assessment of Risk for Sexual Reoffending


Dr. Jung previously examined the predictive accuracy of two widely used sexual violence risk tools with suspects who have been arrested and charged for sexual assault and under investigation by police. Her work illustrated the importance of using such tools in law enforcement to identify suspects who are at a higher risk to sexually reoffend.

Dr. Jung will be able to take her research to the next step with the support of her recently awarded SSHRC Insight Grant. The grant will allow for training police and police analysts and for an empirical examination of police use of these risk tools. The hope is to ultimately help police use risk tools to make the most of their limited resources, and more importantly, efficiently and effectively reduce sexual reoffending in our community.

Dr. Hilary Corlett: Changes in the terrestrial environment and their effect on marine carbonates


Dr. Corlett's research focuses on measuring and understanding the effects of nutrients in ancient and modern coastal marine and reef environments. As terrestrial runoff associated with coastal developments increases, so do the fine particles suspended in shallow marine waters, introducing excess nutrients and reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the reefs.

High nutrient levels are harmful to reefs because they have negative impacts on the relationship between coral hosts and the photosynthetic symbionts (organisms living in symbiosis with another) that help them to thrive. The immediate impacts of siltation and enhanced nutrients on modern-day reefs are fairly well understood; however, there are few studies examining the long­-term effects of enhanced weathering or how biota (plant and animal life) in non­-reef environments may be affected by these stressors.

The overall objective of Dr. Corlett’s research program is to evaluate the effects of terrestrial runoff and associated nutrients in various marine environments, and to determine whether these systems have used coping mechanisms in the past to adjust to changes in coastal runoff.

Dr. Janice Kenney: Reactivity of pharmaceuticals in soils


Canadians produce approximately 660,000 metric tons of dry sewage biosolids each year. With the application of these biosolids as nutrients in sustainable agriculture comes the risk of environmental contamination from residual contaminants in the sewage sludge, such as pharmaceuticals.

The goal of Dr. Kenney's research program is to develop a better understanding of the mobility of pharmaceuticals in the environment, including how they interact with environmental surfaces and colloids (i.e., soil minerals, organic matter, bacteria) and the pathways and nature of any breakdown products that may be released into the environment. To do this, Dr. Kenney uses state-of-the-art equipment housed at MacEwan, such as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Raman microspectroscopy and liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry.



Gift of time yields partnerships, papers and potential future researchers

Past Board of Governors research chairs reflect on their two years in the role.

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