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News & Ideas

February 2019  | ISSUE No. 51

In this issue:
President's MessageAdvances | Announcements | Awards & Honours


Fundamental research is vital to innovation

As a postdoctoral fellow in London in the 1970s, I set out to understand how a family of viruses called retroviruses causes cancer in chickens. This raised a problem when I was applying for a fellowship to support the high cost of living in London. Why study retroviruses that for the most part don’t cause cancer in humans?



Fast Radio Bursts

War and religion

People who have experienced war become more religious and stay that way long after the war has ended, according to new research from Joe Henrich, a senior fellow in CIFAR’s Institutions, Organizations & Growth program.


Nurse Visits

Looking for life under Mars

The next set of Mars missions should be equipped with shovels and drills. Or at least subsurface radar. If we’re going to find life on Mars, it’s most likely under the surface, argue two Global Call finalists from the University of Toronto and Brown University.


Nurse Visits

Woman who is blind can see emotions

Melina Canning can’t see a face. But ask her to guess what emotion that face is displaying and she usually gets it right. Her case of “affective blindsight” sheds light on the way the brain unconsciously processes visual information, according to a new paper by Melvyn Goodale, co-director of the Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness.



Fast Radio Bursts

Shortlisted program videos now online

Find out more about the 12 Global Call for Ideas finalists and their proposals for programs that will address complex, fundamental questions of importance to the world. CIFAR will announce the final selection in the spring.


Fast Radio Bursts

Mila holds grand opening in Montreal’s Mile-Ex

Mila, the Quebec Institute of Artificial Intelligence, officially opened its doors on Monday, Jan. 28 in the O Mile-Ex Complex. The location was developed in a recycled building on Saint-Urbain street and will support more than 375 Mila members. It is one of three AI research Institutes supported by the CIFAR Pan-Canadian AI Strategy.

“The new Mila is a research centre that focuses on business innovation, talent development of businesses, new business creation and technology transfer,” says Mila Chairman Pierre Boivin.


Nurse Visits

Registration open for the Deep Learning Reinforcement Learning Summer School

The summer school takes place July 24 to Aug. 2 in Edmonton. It brings together graduate students, post-docs and professionals to cover the foundational research, new developments and real-world applications of deep learning and reinforcement learning. The deadline to apply is Feb. 22, 2019 by midnight.



Hannah Carter (University of California, San Diego), a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar in Genetic Networks, won the Mark Foundation Emerging Leader Award.

Melvyn Goodale (Western Univeristy), co-director of the Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness, was named a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists.

Geoffrey Hinton (University of Toronto), a CIFAR Distinguished Fellow and founder of the Learning in Machines & Brains program, was named a Companion of the Order of Canada “for his seminal contributions to the advancement of artificial intelligence as a computer scientist and specialist in cognitive psychology.”

The Toronto Region Board of Trade has also presented Dr. Hinton with its Toronto Region Builder Award.

Adrian Owen (Western University), CIFAR Koerner Fellow and co-director of the Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness, was named an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to scientific research.”

Isabelle Peretz (Université de Montréal), an associate fellow in the Azrieli Program in Brain, Mind & Consciousness, was named a Member of the Order of Canada “for her contributions that have uncovered the neuropsychological means by which the brain processes music and the resulting implications.”

Carol Robinson (Oxford University), Senior Fellow in the Molecular Architecture of Life Program, has been announced as one of the IUPAC 2019 Distinguished Women in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

Subir Sachdev (Harvard University), an associate fellow in Quantum Materials, was made an Honorary Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences.

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