Table 1: Tom Brzustowski, O.C., Ph.D., P.Eng., RBC Professor, Telfer School of Management, U of Ottawa, and Chair of the Board, Institute for Quantum Computing, U of Waterloo

Research and Innovation: Science and a Competitive Economy

Today’s economy emphasizes the need for Canadian industry in all sectors to move up the value chain, exporting more value-added products to the world. Increasingly, value added depends on knowledge imbedded in products and applied in processes, and that depends on highly-qualified creative people doing R&D.

Tom Brzustowski is RBC Professor in the Telfer School of Management at Ottawa, and also Chair of the Board of the Institute for Quantum Computing at Waterloo.  He was President of NSERC from 1995 to 2005.  Earlier he had been Deputy Minister in the Government of Ontario, served as Vice-President, Academic at Waterloo, and taught mechanical engineering.

Since arriving at the Telfer School, Brzustowski has been studying research, innovation and commercialization.  His ideas are found in the e-journal “Optimum Online”, and the book The Way Ahead – Meeting Canada’s Productivity Challenge, published by the University of Ottawa Press in 2008.


Table 2: Peter A. Victor, Ph.D., P.Eng., Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, Not Disaster

Economic growth is the over-arching policy objective of governments worldwide.  Yet its long-term viability is increasingly questioned because of environmental impacts, impending and actual shortages of energy and material resources, and over-reliance

on credit-financed consumption.  Would our lives be better if we managed without growth?

Peter Victor is an economist who has worked on environmental issues for nearly 40 years as an academic, consultant and public servant.  He is a Professor in Environmental Studies at York University and his most recent research is described in his new book: Managing without Growth. Slower by Design, Not Disaster. Peter was the founding President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics and is a past-President of the RCI.  Currently he is an advisor to Statistics Canada, TruCost Plc, the Ontario Government, and serves on the Boards of the David Suzuki Foundation and the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy.

Table 3:  William (Bill) Buxton, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

Designing Technology for People: The State of the Science of the Art

Melvin Kranzberg wrote, “Technology is not good, nor bad. But nor is it neutral.”  Any new technology implicitly redesigns our culture.  How can science and design better shape technology to reflect the values of that culture?

Bill Buxton is the author of Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design.  Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, he has had a 30-year involvement in human aspects of technology.  He was a researcher at Xerox PARC, a

professor at the University of Toronto, and Chief Scientist of Alias Research and SGI Inc. In 2003, he was co-recipient of an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement.  He was named Doctor of Design, Honoris Causa, by the Ontario College of Art and Design.  He became the 10th recipient of the Association for Computing Machinery / Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction Lifetime Achievement Award for fundamental contributions to the field of human-computer interaction in 2008, and in January 2009 was elected a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery [ ACM].

Table 4:  Milicia Radisic, B.Eng., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, U of T

Cardiac Tissue Engineering

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in industrialized nations. Current treatments are limited by the heart muscle’s inability to regenerate after injury and the shortage of organs available for transplant.  Milicia Radisic’s work explores an exciting possibility: growing a living heart muscle in the laboratory.  Her work is focused on designing bioreactors that enable tissue growth and function, developing new biomaterials and selecting an appropriate cell source for cardiac tissue engineering.

Named one of the Top 35 Young Innovators under 35 by the MIT Technology Review in 2008, she is currently Assistant Professor at the U of T.  She holds a B.Eng. [McMaster] and Ph.D. [MIT] in Chemical Engineering.  Other awards include: 2007 Early Researcher Award (Ontario), Poitras Pre-doctoral fellowship [MIT], Presidential Graduate Fellowship [MIT] and Chancellor’s Gold Medal [McMaster].  Milica’s work on cardiac tissue engineering has been presented in over 40 publications.

Table 5: Ehab Abouheif, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, McGill University

Evolutionary Development and the Gene Riddle

One of the greatest discoveries in biology over the last decade is that all animals use the same genes to control the development of their body plan.  If all animals share the same genes, how have diverse body plans evolved?

The first Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Ehab Abouheif has tried to answer this fundamental question for more than 15 years. An interdisciplinary field uniting evolutionary and developmental biology, his work is focused on the complex relationships and interactions between the environment, genotype and phenotype that result in morphological diversity.  Evidence suggests the environment can change the relationship between genotype and phenotype through plasticity in development.  In 2006, Dr. Abouheif became an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow for his interdisciplinary approach to Evolutionary and Developmental Biology.

Table 6: David Sinclair, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Physics, Carleton University

The Origins of the Universe?

Neutrinos are about the most abundant particles in the universe: a billion billion pass through our heads every second. They are also the least understood of nature’s fundamental particles because their interactions with matter are extremely weak.  Work in Canada has shown they have unusual properties that may shed light on the origin of the universe.

Director of SNOLAB, a new laboratory two kilometres under the earth’s surface that studies neutrinos and other particles such as dark matter at Sudbury, David Sinclair’s current research involves searching for a possible rare nuclear decay mode that would reveal neutrino properties essential to understanding some of the basic laws of nature.

Professor of Physics at Carleton and TRIUMF Research Scientist, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.  He is Chair of the Particle and Nuclear Astrophysics and Gravity committee of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, the body that represents the world’s astro-particle physics community.

Table 7: Willem H. Vanderburg, Ph.D., Director, Centre for Technology and Social Development, U of T

Engineering a Cleaner, Greener Society

Is the environmental crisis the real problem or is it a symptom of something else? Technology fits into, depends upon and interacts with human life, society and the biosphere.  At its best, it should reduce social and environmental burdens.  An approach that considers the life cycle design of materials, processes and products could result in more sustainable cities and societies.  Preventative engineering describes a proactive approach to developing technologies that are cost-effective socially, environmentally and economically.

Willem H. Vanderburg is the founding director of the Centre of Technology and Social Development at the U of T. In 2002, he was recognized as a leading innovator by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.  He is editor-in-chief of the Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society.  His publications include The Growth of Minds and Cultures [1985], The Labyrinth of Technology [2000], and Living in the Labyrinth of Technology [2005].

Table 8: Bernard S. Goldman, M.D., B.Sc.(Med), F.R.C.S.(C), F.A.C.S., Professor Surgery, U of T; Cardiac Surgeon, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Chairman, Board of Directors, SACH Canada

Healing More than Hearts: The Science that Heals Socio-Political Conflicts

The essence of humanity is to assist others in need. Developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East suffer from lack of health care resources.  Untreated heart disease in infants and young children robs desperately ill youngsters of normal, full lives.

The Save A Child’s Heart Foundation [ SACH], an Israel-based humanitarian organization, offers free travel and heart surgery to such children.  It has operated on over 2,000 patients, almost one half from the neighboring Arab countries.  Patient care, overseas missions and training for local health care workers is provided by 70 physicians and nurses who volunteer their time and expertise.

Dr. Bernard Goldman is a heart surgeon at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre and Professor of Surgery at the U of T.  He learned of SACH through Israeli colleagues, and after personal visits, assumed the Chair of the SACH Canada Board.  He is committed to this life-saving effort to mend hearts and to building bridges.

Table 9: Arthur J. Carty, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., O.C., Executive Director, Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology

Canadian Science on the Cusp: Forward - or Backward - Through the 21st Century?

Over the first decade of the 21st century, enlightened investments in science transformed Canada into a pre-eminent research nation. Investments in capacity – infrastructure, people, research – built the foundations for a unique, long-term advantage.  As the Obama administration reinvigorates America’s approach to science, is Canada prepared to sustain and build on its hard-won achievements?  Does Canada understand the needs of the research enterprise?

Executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, Dr. Arthur J. Carty served as the first national science advisor to the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada. His many awards include Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; Officer of the Order of Canada; Officier de l’Ordre National du Merité [France], Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal; Taiwan National Science Council Science Professional Medal.  He is a member of the Council of Japan’s STS Forum.  In 2008, he was appointed Science Advisor to the Premier of Taiwan and Member of the Board of Taiwan’s Executive Yuan Science and Technology Advisory Group [STAG].

Table 10: Kamiel S. Gabriel, Ph.D., Founding Associate Provost, Research, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Which Way the Heat Flows?

Our understanding of heat flows and fluid science is influenced by gravitational effects.  Research in near zero-gravity conditions has allowed us to see the influence of other forces, such as surface tension.  Applying this knowledge to terrestrial heat transport systems has yielded more accurate design equations – and some surprising answers to the question “Which Way the Heat Flows?”

Founding Associate Provost, Research & Graduate programs at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Dr. Kamiel Gabriel’s research is focused on developing new applications in the area of heat transport systems for terrestrial and space applications.  His work in energy conservation and heat-recovery systems resulted in an innovative heat exchanger that recovers waste heat.  An active participant in the Canadian Space Science Program, he led the design and testing of a thermal transport system for space applications.  His research group logged over 40 hours of near-zero gravity conditions aboard the NASA Zero-Gravity aircraft, US Space Shuttle and the European Space Agency’s Zero-Gravity Airbus.

Table 11: Paul A. Delaney, Professor, Physics and Astronomy, York University

Looking For - and Seeing - New Worlds

2009 is the International Year of Astronomy [IYA].  It marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first use of the astronomical telescope.  With enormous enthusiasm globally, IYA celebrates astronomy and its contributions to society and culture.

Discoveries of extra-solar planets and riveting photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope capture our imagination.  This is a time of great excitement from the surface of the Earth by amateur and professional astronomers, as well as from orbit by spacecraft. What do you want to know about planets near [our Solar System] and far [a future home for humanity]?

Paul Delaney is a Senior Lecturer at York University, the Coordinator of the campus Astronomical Observatory and Director of the Division of Natural Science.  At home in a dome or a classroom, he is a passionate observer and educator of science, and considers himself both an amateur and professional astronomer.

Table 12:  Sara Diamond, President, Ontario College of Art and Design

Science, Technology, Innovation - and Design

The challenge for invention, innovation and economic recovery is surely to find radically fresh approaches to products and systems.  In the late 20th century, as industrial nations began shifting to service-based creative economies, design and art took on increasingly

critical roles.  They have brought new insights, perspectives and materials to everything from consumer goods to how we think about sustainability and wellness.

Professor Sara Diamond, President of the Ontario College of Art & Design [OCAD], has led the development of research-intensive activities in digital media, health, wellness and sustainability, and leads the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre, an industry/ university consortium.  She was founding director of the renowned international Banff New Media Institute, a think tank and research institute in visualization, mobile media/technology, wearable computing/virtual reality, and a creative centre for artistic new media.  An award-winning researcher, media artist and author, her recent work focuses on collaborations within and between digital media and other forms of knowledge.

Gala 2009 - Tables and Topics

There were 25 tables.  Here are the first twelve.

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For Tables 13 to 25, go HERE