Carrefour de l'actualité

Four Polytechnique Montréal graduate students earn prestigious research grants

August 30, 2023 - Source : NEWS

Government of Canada awards scholarships to PhD candidates Marie Bellemare, Gayaneh Petrossian and Amirali Karimi, as well as postdoctoral fellow Stephen Lee.

De gauche à droite : Marie Bellemare, Gayaneh Petrossian, Amirali Karimi et Stephen Lee.
Left to right: Marie Bellemare, Gayaneh Petrossian, Amirali Karimi and Stephen Lee.

The Government of Canada has announced the names of 166 recipients of the 2023 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, who will share in a total of $24.9 million awarded through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, also announced that $9.8 million in total Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships are being awarded to support 70 recipients through CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC. In addition, the SSHRC recently announced the awarding of 657 doctoral fellowships for 2022–2023.

With these awards, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers engaged in leading-edge research at Canadian universities will receive the support they need to further their work in the fields of engineering, health sciences, natural sciences as well as the social sciences and humanities.

Recipients of this federal government funding include the following Polytechnique Montréal student community members.

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Amirali Karimi
PhD candidate in Industrial Engineering
Thesis director: Catherine Beaudry, Full Professor, Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering
Project: The impact of skilled immigration, diaspora, and international collaboration on Canadian innovation ecosystems
Duration: Three years

“My research project is exploring the impacts of international collaboration on scientists’ and inventors’ science and technology output, including their role or position within the ecosystem,” Amirali Karimi explains. “I also intend to measure the influence of national and international collaboration on businesses’ performance. Lastly, I will assess the impact of graduate and skilled immigrants on the innovation ecosystem.

“The results will improve our understanding of how companies and universities can optimize collaborative practices with foreign partners. They will also inform policy recommendations for better coordination of innovation policies and immigration policies relating to science, technology and innovation. From a social perspective, this research is also relevant to exploring solutions for improving the integration of skilled immigrants, including in terms of gender.”

Gayaneh Petrossian
PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering
Thesis director: Fabio Cicoira, Full Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering
Project: Development of unobtrusive and comfortable in-ear electroencephalography (EEG) electrodes: A wearable device for monitoring and controlling of neurodegenerative diseases
Duration: Three years

“Neurodegenerative diseases and brain disorders are among the most prominent causes of death and disability in Canada,” Gayaneh Petrossian says. “Conducting assessments to measure electrical brain signals using a portable, comfortable and robust system can provide essential information about real-time changes and help with diagnosis and controlling symptoms. At the moment, all tests incorporate a large number of metallic electrodes along the scalp, which are predominantly secured using conductive pastes, making them messy and uncomfortable, with a stigmatizing look.

“It is feasible to record signals from inside the ear with a small wearable device, using reliable and reusable electrodes. To that end, my doctoral work will aim at developing suitable, non-invasive and cost-effective earbuds with a focus on finding an alternative for the electrode materials.”

The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships program helps Canada attract and retain top doctoral students from around the world. Awardees receive $50,000 per year for a maximum of three years.

Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship

Stephen Lee
Postdoctoral fellow in Biomedical Engineering
Under the supervision of Jean Provost, Associate Professor, Department of Engineering Physics
Project: Dynamic ultrasound localization microscopy: mapping cerebral stalling dynamics in ischemic stroke
Duration: Two years

“My research aims to apply a non-invasive brain imaging technique called Dynamic Ultrasound Localization Microscopy to studying brain function at the capillary level by introducing freely flowing microbubbles into the vasculature and taking high-speed ultrasound snapshots of the brain through the skull,” Stephen Lee explains. “Similar to long-exposure photography, we accumulate images of bubbles traversing the vasculature over an extended period of time and spatiotemporally align them to produce intricate dynamic maps of the whole-brain microvasculature.”

“With this framework, I hope to generate new robust biomarkers that can inform on overall brain health—being able to track functional information in capillaries has large clinical implications for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, as well as monitoring the progression and healing from a stroke.”

The purpose of the Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program is to attract and retain top-tier postdoctoral researchers, both nationally and internationally. Awardees receive $70,000 per year for a maximum of two years.

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship

Marie Bellemare
PhD candidate in Industrial Engineering
Under the supervision of Sophie Bernard, Full Professor, and co-supervision of Virginie Francoeur, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering
Project: Toward implementation of a system for reuse of take-out food containers: case study in the city of Prévost
Duration: Three years

“The goal of this project is to conduct participatory research-action aimed at implementing a deposit/reuse system for take-out food packaging, working with food services retailers in the city of Prévost to explore and observe collaborative approaches to achieving zero waste,” Marie Bellemare says.

“My research projects will employ co-creation tools based on a design-thinking approach. This study of the process of implementing zero waste among Prévost retail businesses aims to encourage those who may be hesitant to buy in to or tend toward zero waste by providing conclusive evidence of its benefits.”

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowships provide support to high-calibre students in doctoral programs in the social sciences and humanities. They are valued at $20,000 per year and awarded for periods of 12, 24, 36 or 48 months.

The Government of Canada also announced support for Polytechnique professors in the form of contributions from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund and the Government of Québec, and for faculty members through the establishment and renewal of Canada Research Chairs.

Learn more

Department of Chemical Engineering website
Department of Mathematical and Industrial Engineering website (in French)
Department of Engineering Physics website

Suggested Reading

October 27, 2014

Three Polytechnique students earn Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships and one wins a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship

January 22, 2014

Announcement of new NSERC awards: more than $1 million for Polytechnique