Top SFU News stories of 2018
Being named Canada’s top comprehensive university for the 10th time in 11 years capped an electrifying 2018 at SFU.
This past year saw the arrival of the university’s two Canada 150 chairs as well as the high-profile joint-conferral (with UBC) of an honorary doctorate of laws degree on His Highness the Aga Khan.
Here’s a look back at some of the top SFU stories of 2018.
Simon Fraser University's Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office (SVSPO) opened in February to serve as the university's central hub for accessing support, education and leadership around sexual violence and misconduct. The office provides confidential support, information and referrals. It is accessible to any SFU community member (student, staff or faculty) impacted by sexual misconduct or violence, regardless of when or where the incident took place.
Robert Hogg was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada thanks to his extensive contributions to HIV/AIDS research. Hogg has been a member of the SFU Health Sciences Faculty since 2006 where he helped to establish the SFU Interdisciplinary Research Centre for HIV.
The 2018 #BCTECH Summit broke attendance records, drawing in an estimated 9,000 participants to nearly a dozen conference-related events. SFU’s research excellence and leadership in innovation was displayed throughout with 16 researchers showcasing their groundbreaking projects – from a researcher making virtual reality a collective experience, to another making full mobility a reality for paralyzed and mobility disabled people.
Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, professor of modern culture and media at Brown University, joined Simon Fraser University as a prestigious Canada 150 Research Chair in 2018. She will hold the Chair in New Media, in the School of Communication, and hopes to develop the coalitions that can create new approaches to digital democracy. Created in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, the chair is a one-time investment to attract top-tier, internationally based scholars and researchers to Canada.
Four of the province’s leading post-secondary institutions have committed to establish the B.C. Collaborative for Social Infrastructure. Simon Fraser University, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, the University of Northern British Columbia and Vancouver Island University are founding partners of this innovative partnership. The project will enable the institutions to use their collective energies and strengths to make real, sustainable impact in communities.
SFU and Nanotech Security have joined forces to commission a $4.5-million electron beam lithography system at SFU’s 4D LABS. The JEOL Election Beam Lithography system establishes SFU as the first university in Western Canada to benefit from its capabilities, which include creating nanotechnology up to 10,000 times smaller than a human hair.
SFU Campus Planning & Development is creating the SFU Burnaby 2065 Campus Master Plan. This long-range, comprehensive plan will provide a new vision and planning framework to guide the campus’s physical evolution and support SFU’s goals of creating a sustainable, world-class, academic and community experience through a connected and vibrant campus.
Strains of the HIV virus have mutated in Saskatchewan, placing individuals who contract HIV in the province in danger of quickly progressing to life-threatening, AIDS-defining illnesses if they are not taking HIV antiretroviral therapy. SFU health sciences professor Zabrina Brumme led the study with researchers from the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, SFU, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), as well as Saskatchewan physician-researchers.
Caroline Colijn, Imperial College mathematician and now a Canada 150 Research Chair at Simon Fraser University, has arrived at SFU and her research aims to answer those questions. She holds the Chair in Mathematics for Infection, Evolution and Public Health, in the Department of Mathematics, and is the first of two Canada 150 Research Chairs to arrive at the university.
Layla Cameron, a journalist, filmmaker, fat-stigma activist, and SFU PhD student, is the 2018 recipient of the Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy. She won the prize for her work on issues surrounding body size and image, including institutional and systemic discrimination.
SFU and Simon Fraser Student Society launched a 24/7 multi-platform mental health and support service, called My Student Support Program to provide additional resources for all students. The two-year pilot project will help address the growing demand for mental health services—a problem that is also impacting other young adults and post-secondary institutions across Canada.
Three SFU faculty members have been named Fellows to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), while an additional two SFU faculty members have been named as College Members, Artists and Scientists. Fellowship in the RSC is Canada’s highest academic honour. The RSC Fellowship is awarded to peer-elected, distinguished individuals who have made substantial contributions in these fields.
SFU and Fraser Health unveiled a new world-class medical imaging research facility—SFU ImageTech Lab—the first lab of its kind in Western Canada. The lab, embedded at Surrey Memorial Hospital, provides a unique combination of high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) together with high-density magnetoencephalography (MEG). It offers researchers unparalleled possibilities to “watch the brain in action” by visualizing a range of different powerful measures of brain function and structure.
A wide range of educational choices and a focus on interdisciplinary research and critical thinking have kept SFU as the top comprehensive university in Canada, according to Maclean’s annual rankings. It’s the 10th time in the past 11 years that SFU has been named the country’s top comprehensive university, a category that includes post-secondary institutions that have a significant research, a wide range of programs as well as professional degrees.
The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University each awarded an honorary doctorate of laws degree to His Highness the Aga Khan in a joint conferral ceremony—a first for both universities. The honorary degrees, which were conferred together at a ceremony in Vancouver on Oct. 19, were awarded in recognition of the Aga Khan’s lifelong service to humanity.
Kirstin Blaise Lobato, an American who was wrongfully convicted in 2002 for murder, gained her freedom earlier this year thanks to a 2009 affidavit from SFU forensic entomologist Gail Anderson. Anderson’s knowledge of when and how blowflies colonize a corpse with their eggs was key to proving the murder occurred at a time when Lobato had an unbreakable alibi.
The Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI) launched its national headquarters at SFU’s Big Data Hub in December. The Hub connects SFU’s campus community and external partners to big data, broadening access to the tools, training and consulting required for using the data in teaching, research and work.