Jonathan Gagné, iREx associate member, Scientific Advisor at the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan (Space for Life) and Adjunct Professor at the Université de Montréal, has been awarded a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant for the period of 2021-2026, in the “Early Career Researcher” category.
This grant of $220,000 over 5 years was awarded for the project “Disentangling the Kinematics of the Solar Neighborhood to Calibrate the Ages of Stars and Exoplanets”.
Thanks to the grant, Prof. Gagné will be able to hire summer interns and graduate students. These students will be able to work with him on one of his many research interests, such as determining the age of stars in the solar neighborhood – a crucial puzzle piece in the analysis of the properties of their planets – or the study of planemos, objects whose properties are similar to gaseous planets but which do not have a host star.
Jonathan Gagné’s leadership in his field of research, the quality of the project he presented and his ability to contribute to the training of the young researchers who will join his team are recognised through this grant. The researcher’s continued attention to the career development of his students and to issues of equity, diversity and inclusion are also highlighted.
The Discovery Grants program supports ongoing programs of research with long-term goals. Each application is reviewed on the basis of three evaluation criteria: scientific excellence of the researcher, merit of the proposal and contribution to the training of highly qualified personnel. NSERC also expects applicants to increase the inclusion and advancement of under-represented groups in the natural sciences and engineering in order to foster excellence in research and training.