Awards and recognition

Eleven SFU researchers awarded with Canada’s highest academic honour

September 07, 2021

Eleven Simon Fraser University scholars have been named to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC)—nine of them as fellows of the society and two as members of the society’s College of New Scholars, Scientists and Artists.

It is the greatest number of SFU faculty elected to the RSC in any year, bringing our total number of active members to 65. Membership in the RSC is Canada’s highest academic honour.

“Today marks a special occasion to congratulate this year’s 11 Royal Society of Canada fellows from SFU,” says SFU President and Vice-Chancellor Joy Johnson, who was elected to the RSC in 2019.

“I am tremendously proud of the SFU researchers who are being recognized for their contributions to our far-reaching communities across Canada. This record number of SFU fellows is an incredible milestone for the university.”

Established in 1882 as Canada’s national academy, the RSC promotes research and learning in the arts, humanities and sciences. The society awards fellowships to peer-elected and distinguished individuals who have made significant contributions and impacts in these fields. The society’s mandate is to build a better future for Canada and the world.

The College of New Scholars recognizes emerging intellectual leaders who have demonstrated high achievement during their early careers.

"SFU is home to amazing scholars working in a wide range of disciplines,” says Dugan O'Neil, SFU vice-president of research and international.  “I am so pleased to see the 11 SFU scholars being recognized by the Royal Society of Canada this year."

“The growing number of SFU’s active members in this prestigious Canadian national academy exemplifies the university’s commitment to research excellence and knowledge mobilization. Congratulations to all of the elected members. You have made SFU proud."

SFU’s 2021 Royal Society of Canada Fellows are:

Jasmina Arifovic, professor, Department of Economics; Bank of Canada Fellow
A leading researcher in macroeconomics and behavioural economics, Jasmina Arifovic’s ground-breaking work in computational modelling and artificial intelligence helps explain the shortcoming of traditional economic models, furthering our understanding of financial markets and monetary policy.

John Bechhoefer, professor, Department of Physics
John Bechhoefer has tested and investigated fundamental theories that unite notions of information, feedback control, nonequilibrium statistical physics and thermodynamics.

Sheelagh Carpendale, professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Information Visualization, School of Computing Science
An internationally renowned leader in information visualization and interactive technologies, Sheelagh Carpendale combines visual arts and computing science to create visualizations that make data more broadly comprehensible, accessible and empowering.

Catherine Dauvergne, professor, School for International Studies; vice-president, academic and provost
An internationally recognized socio-legal scholar, Catherine Dauvergne’s feminist analyses have changed our perceptions of borders as places to contest human rights and citizenship.

Robert Hogg, Distinguished Professor and associate dean of research, Faculty of Health Science; Member of Order of Canada
An eminent demographer, Robert Hogg strives to understand the health disparities among people living with HIV. His work has influenced HIV approaches worldwide.

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Steven Holdcroft, professor, Department of Chemistry; co-founder, IONOMR—an SFU spinoff company
A leading authority on polymer chemistry, Steven Holdcroft has inspired advanced materials research groups worldwide in their search for pollution-free energy conversion devices. He led the discovery of revolutionary ionic polymer membranes that are transforming the clean energy sector.

Murray Munro, professor, Department of Linguistics
Applied linguist Murray Munro refuted the assumption that successful speech learning is impossible in adulthood, with implications for psychology and language teaching.

Gerardo Otero, professor, School of International Studies; president, Latin American Studies Association
A leading authority in development sociology and the political economy of food and agriculture, Gerardo Otero’s work informs global food-security policy and practice.

Betty Schellenberg, professor, Department of English
An internationally recognized scholar of 18th century book history, Betty Schellenberg showcases women’s contributions to British literary culture and champions feminist literary scholarship.

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Our 2021 Royal Society of Canada College Members are:

Jonn Axsen, professor, School of Resource and Environmental Management and Director, Sustainable Transportation Action Research Team
Jonn Axsen works to help advance the sustainability of Canada's transportation system through his research on low-carbon technology, consumer behaviour and policy design.

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Steve DiPaola, professor, School of Interactive Arts & Technology
A leader in human-centric approaches to artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive-based computer graphics, Steve DiPaola has pioneered 3D facial modelling techniques and AI creativity systems.

Read the full announcement from the Royal Society of Canada here.

About Institutional Strategic Awards

SFU’s Institutional Strategic Awards (ISA) works with faculty and staff across the university to lead the development of institutional nominations for major national and international awards and prizes, including the Royal Society of Canada. The ISA also works collaboratively with units across SFU to provide expertise, resources and professional services for large-scale, complex and institutional research funding proposals. For more information on the support offered by the ISA or to suggest an SFU faculty researcher for nomination, please visit the SFU Research website or contact

The Government of Canada's Research Support Fund (RSF) supports with funding for ISA staff. These positions help SFU researchers increase success, reduce administrative burden, and to make it possible for the university and SFU faculty to successfully compete for the most significant and prestigious grants, prizes and awards available.