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The Canada Council for the Arts Reveals the 2019 Killam Program Winners

A prestigious program rewarding Canada’s scholars

Ottawa, April 25, 2019 – Today, the Canada Council for the Arts revealed the winners of the 2019 Killam Program, comprised of the Killam Prizes and the Killam Research Fellowships. Awarding nearly one million dollars every year, the Program is one of the most prestigious to reward Canada’s researchers, whose work has a tremendous impact on all our lives.

“Thanks to their outstanding contribution to the development of artificial intelligence, the fight against antimicrobial resistance and the analysis of political party and elector behavioural patterns, the winners and recipients have helped further our understanding of the world  we live in. Their audacity and perseverance are an inspiration to us and are helping us build a better future for everyone.”

– Simon Brault, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts

“Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam’s historic bequest in honour of the memory and exceptional nationwide achievements of her husband, Izaak Walton Killam, has helped build Canada’s future in the fields of engineering, natural sciences, health sciences, social sciences and the humanities. The 2019 Killam Prize winners join an elite group of researchers and we warmly welcome the award recipients to the Killam family as we celebrate their passion, drive, and creativity in building Canada’s future through advanced study.”

– Bernard F. Miller, QC, Managing Trustee, Killam Trusts

The  Killam  Program  winners  will  be  celebrated  in Ottawa  on  May  21,  2019,  as  part  of  Canadian Innovation Week.

The Killam Prizes

The Killam Prizes honour eminent scholars in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences and engineering. These outstanding scholars actively contribute to groundbreaking research and their advances have positive impacts on our lives. They each receive a $100,000 prize.

The 2019 prize winners are:

  • Natural SciencesYoshua Bengio, from the Université de Montréal, is known as one of the world’s foremost experts in terms of artificial intelligence and is a deep learning pioneer. As the Canada Research Chair in Statistical Learning Algorithms, he is the founder and scientific director of Mila, the Institut québécois d’intelligence artificielle, the world’s largest deep learning university research group. In 2019, he is co-recipient of the A.M. Turing Prize, considered the “Nobel Prize for Computer Science,” which he receives jointly with Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun.
  • Social SciencesAndré Blais is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the Université de Montréal, where he is the Research Chair in Electoral Studies. He led the Making Electoral Democracy Work project, which examined the behaviour of parties and electors in 25 elections across five different countries. He is a worldwide expert in electoral studies.
  • EngineeringKeith W. Hipel is a professor of systems design engineering at the University of Waterloo. He is globally renowned for his unique interdisciplinary research from a systems engineering perspective on the development of conflict resolution, multiple criteria decision analysis, time series modelling and other decision-making methodologies for addressing complex system-of-systems problems lying at the confluence of society, technology and the environment, with applications in water resources, environmental engineering, energy and sustainable development.
  • Health Sciences Dr. Stephen W. Scherer, from the University of Toronto, has revolutionized our understanding of the human genome through his research at the Hospital for Sick Children. He founded the Database of Genomic Variants, the world’s most-used CNV database, which facilitates thousands of clinical diagnoses around the world every day.
  • HumanitiesLynne Viola, from the University of Toronto, is an internationally-renowned specialist in the history of the Soviet Union. Her research focuses on mass repression in the 1930s. She is known for the publication of Stalin-era archival documents, unprecedented work to ensure these documents remain in the public domain. She is the author and editor of multiple books, including The Unknown Gulag and Stalinist Perpetrators On Trial (Oxford  University Press). Inducted into the Royal Society of Canada in 2014, she received the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize in 2018.
The Killam Research Fellowships

The Killam research fellowships provide outstanding scholars across all disciplines with two years of release time from teaching and administrative duties so they can carry out large-scale, widespread interest research projects. The total amount of the fellowships over two years is $840,000.

The 2019 research fellowship recipients are:

  • Matt Dobbs, McGill University – Project: Unveiling the Cosmos with a New Paradigm Digital Radio Telescope
  • Dennis Hall, University of Alberta – Project: A Green Chemistry Blueprint for Direct Catalytic Functionalization of Feedstock Alcohols
  • Catherine Sulem, University of Toronto – Project: Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations: Wave Propagation in Fluids, Optics, and Plasmas
  • Marten van Kerkwijk – University of Toronto – Project: Probing Extreme (Astro)Physics with Neutron Stars
  • Xiao  Yu  (Shirley)  Wu  –  University  of  Toronto  –  Project:  Smart  Nanomedicine  Combo  for Treatment and Diagnosis of Diseases in the Brain
  • Andrei Yudin – University of Toronto – Project: Boroscan: A Platform for Discovery of New Boron-based Antimicrobials

Learn more about the Killam Program

  • The prestigious Killam Program encompasses the Killam Prizes and the Killam Research Fellowships.
  • The winners and recipients are selected by a committee of their peers.
  • The Killam Prize was first awarded in 1981.
  • Previous winners include renowned scholars such as Brenda Milner, Victoria Kaspi, Mark Wainberg, Molly Shoichet, John Borrows, and Nobel Prize winners Arthur McDonald and John Polanyi—to name but a few.
  • The Canada Council received a donation through the will of Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam in 1965 to establish a fellowship program (1967).
  • In total, the Killam Trusts are valued at approximately $500 million, of which the Canada Council portion is currently about $70 million.
About the Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. The Council champions and invests in artistic excellence through a broad range of grants, services, prizes and payments to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations. Its work ensures that excellent, vibrant and diverse art and literature engages Canadians, enriches their communities and reaches markets around the world. The Council also raises public awareness and appreciation of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities. It is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO in Canada to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.

Media contacts

To book interviews with the winners and recipients:

Charlene Coy, C2C Communications Cell phone: 416-451-1471  charlene@c2ccommunications.com

Canada Council for the Arts:

Joly-Anne Ricard

Public Relations and Social Media Advisor Telephone: 1-800-263-5588 (extension 4166) Cell phone: 343-998-2627

Joly-Anne.Ricard@canadacouncil.ca