Unique contest aims to showcase nationally funded projects

Nov 28th, 2017

By Jeff Green

Kassia Orychock, a M.Sc. student in HKR, is connected to a metabolic cart testing the reliability and validity of wearable devices, such as Fitbits and Apple Watches.
Unique contest aims to showcase nationally funded projects

A research team in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation is getting creative in an effort to show the impact of federal funding on their research.

Dr. Daniel Fuller, Canada Research Chair in Population Activity and assistant professor in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, and his team are taking part in the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) #IAmInnovation Twitter contest.

National showcase

CFI launched the contest this fall, encouraging students and post-doctoral fellows to take to social media to showcase the benefits of working in CFI-funded labs, with CFI-funded equipment.

In a release, CFI says it wants participants to tweet an image or video to them to show “how working in state-of-the-art facilities and with cutting-edge equipment funded by the CFI is bolstering their research.”

“We want them to tell all Canadians just how important it is to equip this country’s bright minds with the tools they need to think big and innovate,” they said in the release.

The winners will have an opportunity to take over CFI’s @InnovationCA Twitter feed, as well as win a trip to Ottawa to be a guest at a CFI event.

The national funding agency also wants faculty members such as Dr. Fuller to demonstrate the importance of CFI investments for innovative research.

“I was very interested in participating in this contest because it’s fun, lets the great students working in the lab show off their work and provides an opportunity to show the importance of the Canada Foundation for Innovation funding research infrastructure,” said Dr. Fuller.

Federal funding

Since joining Memorial in 2016 as Canada Research Chair, Dr. Fuller has received $96,188 in funding from CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund and $125,000 from the provincial government for a project studying how mobile devices, like smartphones, smartwatches and activity monitors, measure movement.

“This funding allows us to conduct our own innovative research and to train the next generation of researchers.”— Dr. Daniel Fuller

He used the federal and provincial support to conduct neighbourhood walkability studies on the Avalon Peninsula this summer.

In May 2017 Dr. Fuller was part of a national research team — Team Interact — that received $2 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to determine the impact of changes in urban form on physical activity, social participation and well-being.

Dr. Fuller says federal funding has fuelled his research programs.

“Federal funding from CFI and CIHR are crucial. This funding allows us to conduct our own innovative research and to train the next generation of researchers.

“I started at Memorial just over a year ago. Thanks to federal and provincial funding, I have had the chance to work together with a fantastic team of students at Memorial doing amazing research in physical activity and health.”

Celebrating innovation

Dr. Henry Luan, a post-doctoral fellow studying with Dr. Fuller, says the CFI contest helps celebrate innovative research across Canada.

“Showcasing the images and videos, the contest allows the public to have a general idea regarding what innovative research can be or have been completed by using CFI-funded equipment,” said Dr. Luan.

“For example, Dr. Fuller’s team will submit an entry of using GPS-enabled smartphones to track participants’ activity trajectories, which can be further linked to the natural and built environments for exploring their associations. Findings could inform the establishment of interventions for improving population health.”

The #IAmInnovation Twitter contest runs until Dec. 1. Rules and regulations can be found online.