Canada’s greatest assets in overcoming COVID-19

Chelsea Rochman
Photo by Paul Weeks
Story by By David Johnston and Paul Davidson

As we navigate these trying times, we must not lose sight of the value of our world-leading researchers and innovators.

Canada’s researchers vital to pandemic response, recovery and building a stronger, more inclusive future.

At a time of crisis, countries look to their strengths. We ask ourselves how we can build upon and leverage our assets to get through something as destructive to our physical, mental and economic well-being as the COVID-19 pandemic. In Canada, we are fortunate to have many strengths. High on that list, and perhaps most relevant to our response to COVID-19 and our post-pandemic recovery, is our outstanding research and innovation talent.

Signs of this strength are all around us. Among them are the major international research awards bestowed upon top Canadian scientists every year. We like to look at that list, and read these stories, to gauge Canada’s position as an international leader in research innovation. The 2020 list is impressive.

Dr. Chelsea Rochman of the University of Toronto won the renowned Sloan Research Fellowship for her work on microplastics in water systems. The fellowship will advance her exploration on how microplastics impact ecosystems and relate to other stressors, like climate change. She’ll carry out some of this research at the Experimental Lakes Area freshwater facility in northern Ontario, where she can examine impacts on the whole ecosystem.