November 05, 2009 17:00 ET

Canada's Top Social Sciences and Humanities Researchers Receive Honours

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 5, 2009) - Canada's top social sciences and humanities researchers were recognized at Sagacitas - the seventh annual awards ceremony of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The prizes, which include the Gold Medal for Achievement in Research, along with the SSHRC Aurora Prize, the SSHRC Postdoctoral Prize and the William E. Taylor Fellowship, are among the Canadian research community's highest honours.

"Investing in the development of research and talent in the social sciences and humanities helps build a strong foundation for innovation in the economy," said Mike Lake, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry and Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology). "As reflected in the Government of Canada's Science and Technology Strategy, we are committed to fostering world-class Canadian research and enhancing the long-term competitiveness of Canada's economy."

"This evening we honour outstanding researchers and students for their contributions to research and for building the knowledge that is essential to the new innovation economy of the 21st century," said Chad Gaffield, President of SSHRC. "SSHRC invests in world-class scholarship and the development of talent that is making a difference nationally and internationally. Tonight's winners are superb examples of the impact that research in the social sciences and humanities has on society and its importance to Canada's future success."

The 2009 SSHRC Gold Medal for Achievement in Research, which awards $100,000 to an individual whose leadership, dedication and originality of thought have significantly advanced understanding in his or her field of research, was given to Jean-Jacques Nattiez of the Faculty of Music at the Universite de Montreal.

Jean-Jacques Nattiez is a world authority on musicology who is internationally renowned for his innovative and multidisciplinary approach. Very few musicologists combine a knowledge of the history of music with musical analysis and ethnomusicology in their research.

A pioneer in this innovative approach to the study of music, Nattiez believes it is necessary to investigate many routes in order to properly understand a particular type of music. "Musical structures and the historical context remain important, but you also have to consider the cultural aspect that is revealed by anthropology as well as the cognitive aspect that psychology seeks to explore. My goal is, and has always been, to construct a general musicology - that is, a set of methods making it possible to analyze and interpret all types of musical works and productions," he explained.

Sylvia Fuller won the SSHRC Aurora Prize, which awards $25,000 to an outstanding new researcher. A professor of sociology at the University of British Columbia and a well-known expert on workplace issues, Fuller is researching how labour market trends and institutions shape the longer-term employment possibilities of workers in non-standard employment, such as temporary and part-time work, and how this is affected by gender, citizenship and immigrant status.

Bruce Maxwell received the $10,000 SSHRC Postdoctoral Prize for his research on the psychology behind ethical judgement and moral choices. With ethics training having become mandatory in research disciplines from medicine to business and law, Maxwell, a philosopher of science, is collaborating with colleagues in psychology to take a closer look at the moral psychology and ethical education of children and how these relate to parenting and family policy. He is part of a group of researchers linked to the Centre de recherche en ethique de l'Universite de Montreal and the neuroethics unit of the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal.

Erin Soros received the William E. Taylor Fellowship, a $5,000 prize given each year to the student with the most highly rated SSHRC PhD proposal. A former Fulbright scholar at Columbia University, she received her Master's degree from the University of British Columbia. Blending research and narrative elements, and using a framework drawn from human rights law, philosophy and autobiography, Soros' doctoral work in creative and critical writing is a compelling culmination of her diverse experiences working with marginalized communities. Through her work with victims of violence, immigrants, refugees and Aboriginal communities, Soros became interested in how individuals experience and respond to trauma.

All the winners were selected by a rigorous peer-review process, and prize funds will be directed to research activities.

In 2008-09, SSHRC funded research by more than 6,000 faculty members and directly supported nearly 4,000 full-time graduate students.

For a complete list of award recipients and more information on this year's winners, please visit the SSHRC website (

SSHRC is the federal agency that promotes and supports university-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Through its programs and policies, the Council enables the highest levels of research excellence in Canada and facilitates knowledge sharing and collaboration across research disciplines, universities and all sectors of society.

Ce document est egalement disponible en francais.

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