Two professors earn prestigious CFI research awards


Two professors from the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) are among a cohort of researchers across Canada to receive funding through the Canadian Foundation for Innovation's (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF) to pursue ground-breaking research.

The federal government has invested more than $52 million in 220 new infrastructure projects across Canada, said Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan during the Aug. 15. announcement.

Professors Jennifer Korosi and Leah Vosko will receive funding totalling $281,793 for their projects.

The JELF plays an important research support role for Canadian universities, helping them to attract and retain top talent – particularly early-career researchers – with the state-of-the-art equipment they need to excel in their field.

"Our scientists need the best tools and equipment for ground-breaking research and discovery and we are committed to ensuring they have them,” said Duncan. “Their successes will lead to an improved economy and will fuel an active research community here in Canada and internationally.”

The funded projects at York include:


Jennifer Korosi (Geography) – A facility for the interdisciplinary study of freshwater ecosystems and environmental change, $150,000 from CFI

This proposal requests laboratory and field equipment needed to establish a new facility, the Environmental Change Research Lab at York University, which will examine paleo-environmental change over hundreds to thousands of years to provide an appropriate temporal context for understanding, predicting, and mitigating human impacts on the environment. In particular, the infrastructure would enable a detailed investigation into the links between climate warming and accelerated permafrost thaw in northern Canada, and resulting implications for terrain stability and water quality. The research enabled by the requested infrastructure has direct implications for engineering practices and maintenance of critical northern infrastructure in sensitive permafrost landscapes, including the soon-to-be-completed Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway. The facility will also provide new knowledge on the impacts of climate warming on mercury and carbon cycling in Arctic freshwaters. Northern Canadian landscapes are experiencing a period of rapid environmental change as critical thresholds are crossed in response to recent warming. Consequently, research into the long-term trajectories, underlying mechanisms, and implications of permafrost thaw is both timely and beneficial for communities, industries, and regulators as they develop mitigation strategies.

Leah Vosko (Politics) – Canada Labour Code Data Analysis Infrastructure (CLC-DAI), $131,793 from CFI

The Canada Labour Code Data Analysis Infrastructure (CLC-DAI) is an initiative of academics in conjunction with the Government of Canada's Labour Program. It will enable researchers to transform a large-scale administrative database that the Labour Program maintains into a research tool that can yield new insights into labour standards compliance across Canada. Charged with enforcement of the Canada Labour Code (CLC), the Labour Program collects administrative data on its enforcement activities in a database known as the Labour Application 2000 (LA2K). The LA2K contains a near-complete census of complaints submitted under Part III of the CLC, which sets standards in areas such as minimum wages, hours of work and vacations for employees in the federal jurisdiction. Because the LA2K was originally designed for administrative rather than research purposes, the data it contains are not readily amenable to advanced statistical analysis. The CLC-DAI will be unique in Canada, and will provide the technical interface necessary to allow researchers to analyze administrative data to identify common patterns of labour standards (non)compliance, establish models to predict the most likely offenders and violation types, and to evaluate the impact of regulatory efforts. With the active support of the Labour Program, the CLC-DAI is poised to yield research that improves working conditions for employees in the federal jurisdiction across Canada.

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