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Influential Ontario Tech researchers reappointed as Canada Research Chairs

Dr. Janette Hughes and Dr. Sheldon Williamson to serve a second five-year term in their research portfolios

Ontario Tech University researchers Dr. Janette Hughes (left) and Dr. Sheldon Williamson will serve a second five-year term as Canada Research Chairs.
Ontario Tech University researchers Dr. Janette Hughes (left) and Dr. Sheldon Williamson will serve a second five-year term as Canada Research Chairs.

For their outstanding records of research achievement and discovery, the Government of Canada is renewing the Canada Research Chair (CRC) appointments of Ontario Tech University researchers Dr. Janette Hughes of the Faculty of Education, and Dr. Sheldon Williamson of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science to new five-year terms.

CRC in Technology and Pedagogy

Dr. Janette Hughes, Ontario Tech’s CRC in Technology and Pedagogy, is highly sought for her expertise on digital literacies and innovative learning in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) makerspace environments (creative spaces where people gather to collaborate, create, invent and learn). The pre-eminent scholar on maker education in Canada has worked with more than 100 teachers in Ontario. She currently leads three large-scale projects worth $2.6 million in research funding.

Hughes has more than 100 high-quality peer-reviewed publications and 108 presentations, which collectively have more than 760 citations. She is a devoted educator, dedicated to mentoring students and supporting the development of professional learning for teachers in her cutting-edge STEAM-3D Maker Lab, and an active academic involved in global scholarly and professional communities through peer-reviews, research presentations, visiting fellowships, and media appearances.

2020-2025 objectives

Dr. Hughes will explore optimal uses of emerging technologies in STEAM-based teacher education and professional development and the specific impacts of technology-intensive pedagogy on teacher preparation and classroom practice, focusing on the competencies of critical thinking, innovation, self-direction, collaboration, communication, and global citizenship.

Selected links related to Dr. Hughes’ research

CRC in Electric Energy Storage Systems for Transportation Electrification

Dr. Sheldon Williamson, Ontario Tech’s CRC in Electric Energy Storage Systems for Transportation Electrification, explores promising interdisciplinary areas related to electric energy storage systems and charging technologies for future electric transportation vehicles and systems. He and his research group are world leaders in the design and development of smart power electronic converter solutions for electric vehicle battery energy storage systems/energy management, fast plugged/wireless charging technologies, and high voltage management for ultracapacitor-powered mass transit vehicles, such as electric buses, trains and trams.

Dr. Williamson has published more than 200 papers in leading journals and conferences, which collectively have more than 7,000 citations. He is one of Canada’s elite researchers in the areas of transportation electrification and autonomous e-mobility, as well as smart grid technologies, including energy storage systems and renewable energy systems. He has secured research funding worth nearly $2.5 million, which has supported research collaborations with industry, knowledge transfer and the training of research personnel.

2020-2025 objectives

Dr. Williamson will explore advanced power electronics solutions for energy storage and management systems, ultracapacitor power management, and plugged and wireless charging/wireless power transfer technologies. The CRC renewal program includes several new interdisciplinary initiatives in the areas of transportation electrification and autonomous e-mobility.

Selected links related to Dr. Williamson’s research


“We are proud of the commitment and passion Ontario Tech researchers demonstrate in the advancement of new evidence-based discoveries and knowledge within a research ecosystem that prioritizes equity, diversity, and inclusion. The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program recognizes national and international leaders in their specific areas of expertise. These outstanding CRC renewals reflect our university’s capacity to contribute to the advancement of society and turn innovative ideas into real solutions.” 
-Dr. Les Jacobs, Vice-President, Research and Innovation, Ontario Tech University

Ontario Tech's Canada Research Chairs

  • Christopher Collins, PhD – Tier 2 CRC in Linguistic Information Visualization (Faculty of Science)
  • Pierre Côté, PhD – Tier 2 CRC in Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (Faculty of Health Sciences)
  • Adam Dubrowski, PhD – Tier 1 CRC in Healthcare Simulation (Faculty of Health Sciences)
  • Khalid Elgazzar, PhD – Tier 2 CRC in The Internet of Things (Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science)
  • Janette Hughes, PhD – Tier 2 CRC in Technology and Pedagogy (Faculty of Education)
  • Isabel Pedersen, PhD – Tier 2 CRC in Digital Life, Media and Culture (Faculty of Social Science and Humanities)
  • Markus Piro, PhD – Tier 2 CRC in Nuclear Fuels and Materials (Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science)
  • Denina Simmons, PhD – Tier 2 CRC in Aquatic Toxicology (Faculty of Science)
  • Sheldon S. Williamson, PhD – Tier 2 CRC in Electric Energy Storage Systems for Transportation Electrification (Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science)

The university has two additional CRC applications under review.

About the CRC program

Established in 2000, the Canada Research Chairs program provides prestigious awards to help Canadian universities attract and support outstanding researchers and key members of their research teams in the priority research areas of environmental sciences and technologies, natural resources and energy, health and related life sciences and technologies, and information and communication technologies.

Tier 1 Chairs are outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields. Valued at $1.4 million, appointments are for seven years and are renewable.

Tier 2 Chairs recognize exceptional emerging researchers, as judged by their peers, with potential to lead in their field. Valued at $500,000, appointments are for five years and renewable once.

Media contact

Bryan Oliver
Communications and Marketing
Ontario Tech University
289.928.3653 (mobile)