Students attribute success to readily available, top notch equipment

This year, the University of Ottawa placed ninth overall in the Research InfoSource University rankings, which compare and rate research-intensive universities across Canada.

According to their website, Research InfoSource is a source of “ranking information on research universities, corporations, hospitals and colleges that are used and followed by the research and innovation community, opinion and policy leaders in the government, research, corporate, higher education and nonprofit sectors.”

 Néomie Duval, manager of media relations for the U of O told the Fulcrum that the university didn’t publish anything on the ranking this year because the general ranking remained the same as last year.

However, there were a few small changes among the subcategories. The U of O moved up to sixth place in research intensity, up from eighth last year, and is now in the top 2.2 per cent of universities in research revenue according to the Research Infosource university ranking.

“This 10.8 per cent increase makes us a top performer which is excellent progress for the University,” Duval explained.

For second-year nursing student Nicole Demers, the results don’t come as a surprise.

“I would definitely assume that the U of O is one of the top research institutes in Canada,” she said. “We have a lot of facilities and infrastructure that I think would help us rank highly, like the Heart Institute or some of the technology that they have in the SITE building.”

Kelsey Fournier, a first-year master’s student studying chemistry and biomolecular sciences, another research-intensive program, also felt that the ranking was well deserved.

“Over recent years, the university has taken many strides to become a more research-intensive university. One example is introducing the translational and molecular medicine undergraduate program that gives students more hours in doing research in a laboratory,” she said.

Other examples of equipment that have helped guide research at the U of O include the Advanced Research Complex (ARC), which houses a number of advanced equipment, such as the accelerator mass spectrometer, that will help boost current research in advanced photonics and geoscience. The new STEM complex will also improve on interdisciplinary research.

According to Fournier, equipment available to her at the university, such as high resolution microscopy including Atomic Force Microscopy, Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy, and Total Internal Reflection Microscopy used for single-particle catalysis have helped bring her research to the next level.

Another large component of research that can get overlooked, according to Fournier, is the opportunity to work with, and learn from a number of other professors and researchers.

“Whether it’s from working with and interacting with visiting guests, working on collaborations with other faculties or collaborating with hospitals (or) businesses, these types of opportunities have really helped me learn and grow as a researcher,” Fournier said.

“Based upon my experience as a student researcher,  I would definitely agree with the U of O being in the top 10.”