2015 Craigdarroch Research Awards celebrate the drive to make a difference

Engineering, Human and Social Development, Fine Arts, Humanities

A historian who is increasing our understanding of Islam. An engineer and a computer scientist who are making our lives easier with new technologies. A nurse who is helping the terminally ill and their families cope. And a performing artist who inspires us to better appreciate the world around us.

These are the winners of this year’s Craigdarroch Research Awards, which salute outstanding research and creative achievement at the University of Victoria. Their accomplishments will be celebrated at an evening reception on campus on May 7.

“These five award recipients exemplify the passion and drive that fuels research and creative activity at UVic,” says Vice-President Research David Castle. “Their accomplishments attest to UVic’s commitment to improving lives, advancing knowledge and bettering society through, for example, developing evidence-based public policy.”

The winners are:


Andrew Rippin, professor emeritus, history

“It’s vitally important that we in the West find ways to understand a culture that is shared by one-fifth of the world’s population—and one that has such an impact on global events.” These are the words of Andrew Rippin, an internationally renowned authority on the study of the Qur’an—the Muslim holy book—and its core influence on Islamic civilization. Over his 35-year career, his prodigious writings and passion for scholarship have had a fundamental impact on his field, influenced the career path of many young scholars, and helped increase public understanding of Islam at a time that has never been more important than it is today.


Yang Shi, mechanical engineering

Imagine a world where robotic surgery is performed on a patient in Whitehorse—by a doctor located in Victoria? That world is not far off, thanks in part to the groundbreaking work of mechanical engineer Yang Shi, an expert in the long-distance control of machines and electrical systems, also known as networked control systems. Since joining UVic in 2009, Shi has quickly established himself as an international force in his field. In 2014 he was named by Thomson Reuters as one of the top one per cent most cited researchers in his field in the world—a remarkable accomplishment for such a young researcher.


Yvonne Coady, computer science

Scientists monitoring undersea events for early tsunami detection, astronomers peering into the skies millions of miles away, people with disabilities using public transit, and Aboriginal communities learning about their heritage—all of these rely on innovative software infrastructure that computer scientist Yvonne Coady and her team are developing. Working closely with industry, community partners and groups on campus, Coady is transforming the way software developers and users tap into the power of the internet. Her work makes advances in computer systems—such as cloud computing, high-capacity networks, data warehouses and high-performance processors—more readily available to a wide range of academic and everyday users.


Kelli Stajduhar, nursing

As the Canadian population ages, demands are increasingly being placed on our health care system to provide high-quality, compassionate support. This is especially true for end-of-life care where the needs of patients and caregivers are paramount. Nursing researcher Kelli Stadjuhar has dedicated her career to ensuring these needs are being met in an evidence-based and coordinated way. Fueled by a deep commitment to the well-being of patients and their family caregivers, Stajduhar blends knowledge development and research with advocacy and stakeholder engagement to inform and transform policy and practice related to end-of-life care in BC, Canada and beyond.


Benjamin Butterfield, music

Performer, artistic collaborator and educator—Benjamin Butterfield continues to make an indelible impression on the future of Canadian singers and on audiences worldwide. He is a tenor of international renown, with a repertoire ranging from baroque to classical to contemporary. His artistic knowledge and production experience is broad, versatile and widely recognized by peers, critics and audiences for its quality and impact. He has performed with the world’s top musicians and conductors, and is highly sought-after as a teacher who transforms young singers into emerging professional artists. Many of his students have gone on to give performances with major opera companies and symphonies throughout North America.

The Craigdarroch Research Awards were established in 2003 to recognize outstanding research-focused and creative contributions at UVic. They were named for Craigdarroch Castle, the estate that was once home to UVic’s predecessor institution, Victoria College, from 1921 to 1946.

View Craigdarroch winners' "Faces of UVic Research" videos.


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Keywords: research, award, history, mechanical engineering, computer science, nursing, music

People: Andrew Rippin, Yang Shi, Yvonne Coady, Kelli Stajduhar, Benjamin Butterfield

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