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Hub for Good

When Carleton announced an internal funding opportunity for research related to the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers from across the university responded quickly to the call for proposals.

“The university proved its resiliency in pulling together the launch of this very important initiative in a timely manner,” says Rafik Goubran, Vice-President (Research and International).

“The Deans and I are notably impressed by the depth and breadth of the work being done here at Carleton for the greater good of Canadians and society as a whole.”

A part of our institutional response to the pandemic, the Carleton University COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Grants provide seed funding to faculty for original, innovative and time-sensitive research that responds to the pandemic.

In total, over $800,000 was awarded to the 59 selected projects, representing a powerful and collaborative commitment to the cause from the Office of the Vice-President (Research and International) and all five faculties.

The selected projects—59 in total—have the potential to make a positive impact on the global pandemic response. The projects will mitigate the spread of the virus or its negative consequences, providing a tangible benefit to communities near and far.

Some projects focus on virus detection, assessment and prevention. Banu Örmeci, a professor and Jarislowsky Chair in Water and Global Health, is leading a research project on detecting COVID-19 in wastewater. The project aims to develop an early warning system that could monitor virus levels in sewage and alert public health authorities before an outbreak.

“Because potential coronavirus vaccine is months—if not years—away, and because COVID-19 will likely come back in waves, there is a need for early warning tools, so we can stop outbreaks before they spike up,” says Dr. Örmeci.

Dr. Örmeci is currently seeking collaborators for this research project through the Hub for Good.

Other projects address the wide-ranging challenges that COVID-19 has posed, including in the areas of mental health, economics, business, international affairs, e-health, artificial intelligence and education.

One project, led by linguistics professor Natasha Artemeva and PhD candidate Jacquie Ballantine, examines how changes in academic instruction following COVID-19 affect the learning experiences of students with autism. Their research aims to mitigate academic and social challenges faced by students with autism, and support them in university.

“We see this research as a partnership,” says Ballantine. “It has been designed to listen and respond to the autistic community’s call for participatory research: ‘nothing about us, without us!'”

This project is seeking participants (students with autism and university instructors) for community-based participatory research.

The Hub for Good will continue to share opportunities to get involved, as well as stories and updates on the research projects supported by the CU COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Grants.

At the Hub for Good, explore opportunities to get involved, read stories on current projects, and learn how Carleton University makes an impact around the world.

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hubforgood@carleton.ca