Focus On

Carleton announces two new research chairs, renews two others

Monday, June 24, 2019 @ 12:43 PM | By John Chunn


Two Carleton University professors, Robert Barsky and Robin Chhabra, have been announced as new Tier 1 and Tier 2 Canada research chairs (CRC) respectively, in addition to the renewal of Rowan Thomson, Canada research chair in radiotherapy physics, and Merlyna Lim, Canada research chair in digital media and Global Network Society.

“Carleton attracts outstanding academics due to our existing strengths in multidisciplinary research. They bolster our leadership position in aerospace, digital media, autonomous systems and medical physics,” said a press release from Rafik Goubran, vice-president (Research and International). “Congratulations to our newest CRCs who are making significant strides in addressing real-world issues.”

Chhabra, in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has been named the CRC in autonomous space robotics and mechatronics. He will develop guidance and control methodologies for autonomous space robotic systems to address challenging or uncertain conditions that may occur during space missions.

“A sustainable space program requires reliable and autonomous robotics for maintaining and expanding space infrastructure,” said Chhabra. “Autonomy is particularly essential as future space robotic systems must operate in harsh and little-understood environments while dealing with fast, frequent and demanding missions. This research program addresses the barriers in front of the long-term autonomy of space robotics and due to its fundamental nature, its discoveries will also benefit other sectors, including defence, manufacturing and mining.”

Barsky, in the Department of Law and Legal Studies, has been named the CRC in law, narrative and border crossing. He will investigate issues surrounding treatment, admission and policing of vulnerable migrants. His focus is on the dynamic of first encounters between forced migrants and officials charged with making decisions about their status.

“The current context regarding vulnerable migrants is catastrophic, with unprecedented numbers of people fleeing persecution and then finding themselves trapped in untenable situations at borders, in camps, and in prisons or detention centers,” said Barsky. “Carleton’s Law and Legal Studies Program has unique resources to foster critical research that can help scholars and practitioners address the many challenges faced by undocumented persons and refugees, and this new CRC will expand border-crossing work to encompass humanistic and artistic approaches to displacement.”

Lim’s renewed CRC will enable her to expand the scope of research on communication and social movements to also observe right-wing extremist and populist movements across the globe. Thomson will continue studying the interactions of radiation with matter and resulting applications in cancer radiotherapy.