Canadian Excellence, Global Recognition 2024


April 9, 2024


4:30pm – 8:00pm ET


Carleton University, Richcraft Hall Atrium and Conference Rooms


Join us for a celebration of Canada’s top research achievements while learning about the rewarding, yet at times challenging, journey to national and international recognition.

As part of the Global Excellence Initiative, this inaugural event will convene emerging researchers in a first-of-its-kind celebration of Canada’s outstanding researchers while inspiring and equipping the next generation for success.

Launched in 2012 while David Johnston was Governor General of Canada, the Global Excellence Initiative promotes the recognition of Canadian research talent on the international stage by identifying and offering assistance to meritorious candidates for prestigious national and international awards.

This is a free event convening emerging researchers. We welcome you to share this event with your peers in the research community and encourage them to register.


Pathways to prestige: Insights from award-winning researchers – 4:30 – 5:30pm

Join this panel discussion between four distinguished, award-winning researchers as they reflect on their journeys towards research success, the challenges they faced along the way and the pivotal figures who supported them.

Keynote fireside chat with Nobel Prize winner Donna Strickland – 5:45 – 6:30pm

In a fireside chat with Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, hear from acclaimed physics professor, Donna Strickland, as she shares about her research career, starting as a young researcher, and the forces that helped and hindered her on the path towards winning the distinguished Nobel Prize.

Networking Reception – 6:30 – 8:00pm

The event will conclude with a networking reception where guests will enjoy light refreshments, build connections with emerging and accomplished researchers, get to know members of the Global Excellence Initiative’s canvassing committee and learn more about some of Canada’s top research award programs.

Event Speakers:


Donna Strickland, Professor at the University of Waterloo

Keynote speaker

Donna Strickland is a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo and is one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 for developing chirped pulse amplification with Gérard Mourou, her PhD supervisor at the time. They published this Nobel-winning research in 1985 when Strickland was a PhD student at the University of Rochester in New York state. Together they paved the way toward the most intense laser pulses ever created. The research has several applications today in industry and medicine — including the cutting of a patient’s cornea in laser eye surgery, and the machining of small glass parts for use in cell phones.

Strickland was a research associate at the National Research Council Canada, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a member of technical staff at Princeton University. In 1997, she joined the University of Waterloo, where her ultrafast laser group develops high-intensity laser systems for nonlinear optics investigations. She is a recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award and a Cottrell Scholar Award. She served as the president of the Optical Society (OSA) in 2013 and is a fellow of OSA, the Royal Society of Canada, and SPIE (International Society for Optics and Photonics). Strickland is an honorary fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering as well as the Institute of Physics. She received the Golden Plate Award from the Academy of Achievement and holds numerous honorary doctorates.

Strickland earned a PhD in optics from the University of Rochester and a B.Eng. from McMaster University.

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Elizabeth Cannon, President emerita of the University of Calgary

Keynote moderator

Dr. Elizabeth Cannon is an officer of the Order of Canada. She is president emerita of the University of Calgary after serving as president and vice-chancellor. Prior to her term as president, Dr. Cannon was dean of the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary. Dr. Cannon is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Canadian Academy of Engineering as well as an elected foreign associate of the National Academy of Engineering. She served as co-chair of the Business-Higher Education Roundtable, was a past chair of Universities Canada and was a member of the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) in addition to many other boards and advisory councils. Currently, she is a member of the board of trustees at the Aga Khan University, a fellow of the Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies and a director of the Gairdner Foundation in addition to being a corporate director and seed-stage investor.

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Jill Clark, Senior manager, communications and media relations at the Rideau Hall Foundation

Panel moderator

Jill is a senior bilingual communications professional, public speaker, writer, strategist and team leader. She has proudly worked for the Rideau Hall Foundation since 2018 and prior to that worked for the Federal Leader’s Debates Commission, as well as consulting overseas in France and Switzerland. Her hosting credits include the Ingenious+ National Awards Ceremony, Catapult National Gathering and the Toronto Global Forum. She is a TedX speaker and is passionate about storytelling and the arts.

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Lenore Fahrig, Professor at Carleton University


Lenore Fahrig is Chancellor’s Professor of Biology at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. Lenore and her students study how human-caused landscape change – replacement of forest, wetland, and other natural habitats with roads, farmlands, and cities – affects wildlife and biodiversity. Study species include frogs, turtles, birds, bats, other mammals, insects, spiders, plants, and lichens. Lenore is best known for her work on habitat fragmentation, where she has shown that protecting many small patches of habitat is just as valuable for species conservation as protecting few large patches of the same total area. She is also known for her work showing the large impacts of roads and traffic on wildlife populations, especially on amphibians. In the mid-1980’s Lenore co-introduced the concept of habitat connectivity, which is now widely used in urban and regional planning.

Lenore has published over 250 scientific articles. She is a highly-cited researcher, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Guggenheim Fellow, recipient of the Miroslaw Romanowski medal for Environmental Science, recipient of the Distinguished Landscape Ecologist Award from the North American Association for Landscape Ecology, and recipient of the prestigious BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in 2022.

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Chidi Oguamanam, Professor at the University of Ottawa


Dr. Oguamanam, Faculty of Law (Common Law Section) University of Ottawa, is a Full Professor affiliated with the three centres of excellence – Centre for Law, Technology and Society, Centre for Environment and Global Sustainability and Centre for Health Law, Policy, and Ethics. He is also a member of the International Law Group. Dr. Oguamanam holds Research Chair in Bio-Innovation, Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Global Knowledge Governance at the University of Ottawa. He is the director of Access and Benefit Sharing Canada (ABS-Canada) and Co-founder of the Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR) Partnership and holds senior research fellowships with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), the University of Cape Town Intellectual property Unit and the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law. He is inducted to the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars Artists and Scientists. Dr. Oguamanam is called to the Bar in Nigeria and Canada and is a member of Nigerian Bar Association and Nova Scotia’s Barristers’ Society. Dr. Oguamanam is a co-recipient of the SSHRC 2023 Partnership Award.

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Robert Zatorre, Cognitive neuroscientist at McGill University


Robert Zatorre is a cognitive neuroscientist whose laboratory studies the neural substrate for auditory cognition, with special emphasis on two complex and characteristically human abilities: speech and music. He and his collaborators have published over 280 scientific papers on topics including pitch perception, auditory imagery, absolute pitch, perception of auditory space, and the role of the mesolimbic reward circuitry in mediating musical pleasure. His research spans all aspects of human auditory processing, from studying the functional and structural properties of auditory cortices, to how these properties differ between the hemispheres, and how they change with training or sensory loss. His lab makes use of functional and structural MRI, MEG and EEG, and brain stimulation techniques, together with cognitive and psychophysical measures. In 2006 he became the founding co-director of the international laboratory for Brain, Music, and Sound research (BRAMS), a unique multi-university consortium with state-of-the art facilities dedicated to the cognitive neuroscience of music. In 2011 he was awarded the IPSEN foundation prize in neuronal plasticity. In 2013, he won the Knowles prize in hearing research from Northwestern University, and in 2017 he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada. In 2020, he was awarded the C.L. de Carvalho-Heineken Prize in Cognitive Sciences, the most prestigious international science prize in The Netherlands.

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