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Two new Canada Research Chairs for Professors Morency and Cheng; Professor Boffito’s CR Chair renewed

June 2, 2022 - Source : NEWS

Full Professor Catherine Morency (Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering), Associate Professor Daria Camilla Boffito (Department of Chemical Engineering), and Assistant Professor Jinghui Cheng (Department of Computer Engineering and Software Engineering) all have Canada Research Chairs Program support to carry out research.

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From left to right: Catherine Morency, Daria Camila Boffito and Jinghui Cheng

Through the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Government of Canada has announced support totaling $2.5 million for the Tier 1 Research Chair led by Professor Morency, and the Tier 2 Research Chairs directed by Professor Boffito and Professor Cheng.

Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs are held by exceptional researchers, recognized by their peers as global leaders in their field. They receive annual funding of $200,000 for seven years and funds are renewable.

Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs are held by outstanding new researchers who are recognized by their peers as having the potential to become leaders in their field. These chairs receive annual funding of $100,000 for five years and funds are renewable once.

In total, the federal government is contributing close to $102 million for 119 new or renewed Canada Research Chairs currently researching in 35 institutions. Through the John R. Evans Leaders Fund, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, a partner in the Canada Research Chairs Program, is investing more than $1,7 million in 9 Canada Research Chairs at 8 institutions.

“Our government recognizes that investing in researchers and scientists results in breakthroughs to advance our society, and benefits all Canadians. The Canada Research Chairs Program provides a unique opportunity for researchers to push boundaries and make cutting-edge discoveries with lasting impacts across the health, environment, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities disciplines.” — The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

“The Canada Research Chairs Program is a cornerstone of research excellence in Canada. With each cycle, we see emerging and experienced researchers who represent the breadth and depth of diversity in Canada, and who are committed to advancing their ideas, finding solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems, and having a seat at the global table to help shape a better future for generations to come. We congratulate you on your research achievements, and eagerly anticipate your next successes.” — Ted Hewitt, President, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. 

“The Canada Foundation for Innovation is proud to support the Canada Research Chairs Program, a joint effort that contributes to retaining and attracting the most promising and accomplished researchers. State-of-the-art facilities and equipment acquired thanks to CFI contributions are key to bringing extraordinary talent to our institutions, and to enabling them to innovate across all fields.” — Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Below are descriptions of Polytechnique’s two newly-created Chairs, and the renewed Chair:

Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in the Mobility of People

Holder: Full Professor Catherine Morency - Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering

This Canada Research Chair directed by Professor Morency focuses on modeling individual mobility behaviours and their evolution through time and space, notably to better understand and quantify each mode of transportation’s role in daily and weekly mobility. It comprises study of conventional modes (private vehicle, public transit), active modes (cycling, walking) and shared modes (car-sharing, car-pooling, bike-sharing, micromobility).

The Chair is based on an innovative and integrated use of various datasets from surveys and administrative systems, thus offering new demonstrations of transportation fusion, and the use of spatio-temporal data of various forms and scopes. Varied modeling approaches will be tested, including causality models, time series models with a spatial component, multilevel approaches. and machine learning techniques adapted to time series.

Initially, research performed by the Chair will shed light on factors driving the evolution of various activity systems (namely in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic), and the resulting uses of various transport and mobility systems. Subsequent research will enable the CRC to understand complementarity and competitiveness relationships between various modes of transport, from a supply and a demand point of view.

The Chair will also offer insights as to the impact of various activity system transformation scenarios on mobility (virtualization of certain activities such as work, shopping, studies, leisure), as well as transformation of networks, and allocation of public space structure (street sharing). This causal chain approach will highlight the impacts of current and plausible activity and mobility behaviours on the three spheres of sustainable development, namely social (impacts on health, equity of access to opportunities and street sharing), environmental (GHGs and consumption of collective resources) and economic (transportation costs for households and the community).

Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in User Experience Design for Data-driven Systems

Holder: Assistant Professor Jinghui Cheng - Department of Computer and Software Engineering

In recent years, data-driven software systems, such as music and video recommendation applications, voice assistance systems, decision support tools, and intelligent cyber-physical systems (e.g., drones), have grown significantly. While the technology behind these systems is increasingly powerful, today's data-driven systems are experiencing a user experience (UX) design innovation crisis, which limits their ability to truly improve people's lives and meet practical needs.

The overall goal of this CRC is to investigate, create, and assess a new set of UX design-support techniques and tools that harness the power of intelligent data-driven systems to support end users. The latter techniques and tools can facilitate the collaborative and creative UX design process, and assist software practitioners in creating more usable and innovative data-driven systems.

To achieve this, research led by Professor Jinghui Cheng will focus on identifying, modeling, detecting, and using mechanically-oriented UX design patterns. Based on these patterns, creativity support tools will be investigated to help UX designers organize and retrieve design artifacts (e.g., sketches, mock-ups, and storyboards). Further, tools that use these design patterns will also be studied for synchronous and asynchronous design collaboration among various multidisciplinary stakeholders (e.g., designers, developers, data scientists, and end users). These efforts take a human-centered perspective, involving designers and other software stakeholders throughout the process of proposing, creating, and evaluating techniques and tools.

Through the innovative exploration of mechanically-driven UX design patterns, dynamic creativity support techniques, and interdisciplinary collaborative design tools for data-driven systems, this research program will make ground-breaking contributions to advance UX design research. A human-centered approach means that research results can easily be transferred to practice, thereby supporting the UX design of data-driven systems.

Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Engineering Process Intensification and Catalysis (EPIC)

Holder: Associate Professor Daria Camilla Boffito - Department of Chemical Engineering

Converting biomass into energy is key to taking control of our energy future. Yet biomass - an abundant and renewable resource - is a substrate composed of heterogeneous molecules that does not easily lend itself to chemical transformation.

This Canada Research Chair led by Professor Boffito, fosters an innovative multidisciplinary approach, based on process intensification (PI), used to increase the efficiency of biomass chemical transformation processes.

The goal of this Chair is to maximize the productivity of these processes while minimizing chemical industry scale and energy requirements, by applying alternative energy sources (such as ultrasound, and other innovative very-high speed reactors). The primary expected benefit is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through a reduction in time to market for biomass-based technologies. This CRC merges the technology gap between heterogeneous catalysis and process intensification by finding and exploiting synergies that reduce the energy requirements of biomass processes.

Note that the synergistic effects of catalysis and energy intensification methods have been minimally explored to date. In this second CRC term, one feature of the work led by Professor Boffito is the first application of a time-scale analysis to intensified processes to quantify the characteristic time and energy flux (density and efficiency) of each transport phenomenon in relation to others, thereby providing new PI metrics, and new PI indicators. Using a holistic approach, life-cycle and cost analysis, as well as techno-economic analysis will be conducted.

Ultimately, process intensification will permit the reduction of chemical plant size, and the reduction of material inventories and waste volumes. It will also reduce operating costs and investments required for these plants.

Learn more

Professor Catherine Morency’s expertise
Professor Jinghui Cheng’s expertise
Professor Daria Camilla Boffito’s expertise
Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering website
Department of Chemical Engineering website
Department of Computer Engineering and Software Engineering website
Canada Research Chairs Program website
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada website
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council website
Read the press release of ministry of Innovation, Science and Industry

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