Thompson Rivers University

TRU researchers renewed as Canada Research Chairs

January 12, 2022

The federal government has announced the renewal of two Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs (CRC) at TRU, which further strengthens and acknowledges the growing research capacity at the university. Created in 2000, the prestigious CRC program promotes research and development excellence in Canadian post-secondary institutions.

“The important work these researchers are conducting is going to improve people’s lives and have significant implications for our society as a whole. We are proud of their valuable research and to have them with us at TRU,” says President Brett Fairbairn.

Dr. Heather Price

Dr. Heather Price’s Chair in Culture and Communities: Children and the Law, in the Faculty of Arts, centres on memory and children as witnesses within the legal system. Her research serves to ensure the integrity of the legal system as it relates to the role of children and their participation in it.

“We study the basic knowledge and cognitive processes in children to see what kids are capable of remembering,” says Price. “So, what can I remember about something that happened several times? How good am I at estimating what date it happened, what time it happened? All those pieces of information that investigators want from child witnesses and victims. And then we try to find a way to turn that knowledge into practical recommendations for obtaining that information.”

Dr. Yana Nec

As Canada Research Chair in Applied Mathematics and Optimization, in the Faculty of Science, Dr. Yana Nec focuses on the development of mathematical tools to explain complex natural phenomena. Her research involves solving differential equations which help describe how a certain entity—such as gas pressure in a landfill, water velocity in a river or the concentration of a chemical in a reactor—changes in time or space, or both.

“Many natural phenomena have important time or space dependence,” says Nec. “Some can be handled with more or less standard methods. Some cannot. I hope to develop the tools to analyze some of the unclassified or historically untackled problems. I recently managed to construct a new class of exact solutions to anisotropic diffusion. That was surprising, because exact solutions to flow equations are like cartography – the world has been mapped centuries ago and so were flows. Discovering a previously unknown one is more or less like encountering a new island.”

“The renewal of these two Canada Research Chairs reflects a vigorous national peer review process, and confirms the outstanding research accomplishments achieved by both Dr. Price and Dr. Nec,” says Research and Graduate Studies Associate Vice-President Will Garrett-Petts. “Their work, along with that of their fellow CRCs at TRU, provides world class research training opportunities for our students and has a direct impact on the communities we serve.”

Drs. Price and Nec join fellow CRCs at TRU: Dr. Shelly Johnson (Mukwa Musayett), CRC in Indigenizing Higher Education; Dr. Courtney Mason, CRC in Rural Livelihoods and Sustainable Communities; and Dr. Jill Harvey, CRC in Fire Ecology.

Together, TRU’s five CRCs represent a $2.58 million investment from the CRC program, along with an additional $75,000 infrastructure investment from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

The CRC program invests approximately $295 million per year to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising research leaders.

Read: Government of Canada supports research excellence through new and renewed Canada Research Chairs


“Dr. Price’s cutting-edge work on children and law is vital for societal well-being. She is operating at a global level with her work already impacting in many sectors and with every indication it will continue to do so. Her forward looking research program and her solid grounding in the need to move that work into the public realm is of most importance, and I applaud her for her continued dedication and leadership on research initiatives here at TRU.”

  • Richard McCutcheon, Dean, Faculty of Arts

“Dr. Nec is working in a complex mathematical field that is producing results that have real and applied applications to industry and government having direct implications to the Canadian economy, yet she is making her research readily accessible to industry through industry collaboration and user-specific software development.  She is conducting an original, innovative, high-quality research program that is producing important results that are making a significant impact in the field. I am excited to hear of her CRC renewal and expect she will continue to make a significant contribution in the future.”

  • Gregory Anderson, Dean, Faculty of Science

Quick facts

  • Over 1,890 Canada Research Chair holders are working at 78 post-secondary institutions across the country in a wide range of fields. More than 230 of these chairs are in British Columbia.
  • The Research Support Fund supports a portion of the costs associated with managing research at Canadian institutions such as administrative support, training costs for workplace health and safety, maintenance costs for libraries and laboratories, and administrative costs.
  • The Canada Foundation for Innovation gives researchers the tools they need to innovate by investing in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment in Canada’s universities, colleges, research hospitals and not-for-profit research institutions.
  • Universities Canada’s 97-member institutions have adopted Indigenous education as a priority. In the spirit of advancing opportunities for Indigenous students, the leaders of Canada’s universities committed to principles, developed in close consultation with Indigenous communities that acknowledge the unique needs of Indigenous communities across Canada and their goals of autonomy and self-determination.

More information

Kim Van Haren, Research Communications Officer | 250-371-5586

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