(l to r) Mario Pinto, VP Research; Andrew Saxton, Member of Parliament; Ben Mortenson; Andrew Petter, President; and Jon Driver, VP Academic


Postdoc Profile: William (Ben) Mortenson, Banting Postdoctoral Fellow

November 07, 2012

Congratulations to William (Ben) Mortenson, SFU's first Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship recipient. He's one of only 70 elite postdoctoral fellows to receive this award in 2012. The award is valued at $70,000 per year for up to two years and is aimed at making “Canada a destination of choice for the world’s top postdoctoral researchers.”

Ben Mortenson is an occupational therapist by training and his research focuses on four overlapping areas: assistive technology, social participation, caregiving and outcome measurement.

He did his PhD at UBC, where he received doctoral fellowships from CIHR (valued at $165,000 over 3 years) and from the Michael Smith Foundation (valued at $60,000 over 3 years) to support his research. During his doctoral training, he received a Vancouver Coastal Health Outstanding Trainee Award. He received his PhD in Fall 2009 and became an investigator on Dr. William Miller's CIHR CanWheel Research Team, based at UBC, where he created and piloted an interview guide to collect additional qualitative data for a longitudinal study of power mobility users, and trained five research assistants in BC and Quebec.

At SFU, Dr. Mortenson will be working with Dr. Andrew Sixsmith, Director of the Gerontology Research Centre (GRC). Dr. Sixsmith is an internationally acclaimed researcher in the area of health and quality of life of older people. His research has a special focus on technologies to support independent living. Through the GRC, Dr. Mortenson will also have access to the SFU Living Laboratory, where he will perform in-depth research on assistive technology.

The Banting award will fund his postdoctoral research into a vitally important question for Canada's aging population: How can assistive technology be best deployed to help those being assisted and their caregivers? His research will enable service providers to offer assistive technology interventions that are better-attuned to the needs of individuals with mobility issues and their caregivers.

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor, SFU, says, "The Banting fellowship will fund Dr. Mortenson's postdoctoral research, which has vital policy implications for Canada's aging population. Dr. Mortenson's work at SFU is an example of cutting-edge research that is engaged with the needs of Canadian citizens and the world."

See also: Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships at SFU

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