March 3, 2005

$3.5-million research grants will study ageing population, and bullying

McMaster Image
(From left) Tony Valeri, liberal MP for Stoney Creek; Byron Spencer, economics professor; Tracy Vaillancourt, assistant professor of psychology; David Emerson, federal Minister of Industry; Janet Halliwell, executive vice-president of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; and Peter George, McMaster President. Photo credit: Chantall Van Raay

Hamilton, ON - Two grants totaling $3.5-million were awarded today to McMaster University researchers: one to explore how Canada’s ageing population will affect the labour force and the economy; the other to find solutions to the devastating and pervasive problem of bullying.

Byron Spencer, economics professor and director of the Research Institute of Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population, will receive $2.5-million to examine whether social programs and the working-age population can support a rapidly growing ageing population. Currently, four Canadians are in the workforce for every Canadian aged 65 and older. In 30 years, the ratio will be two workers for every senior.

Tracy Vaillancourt, assistant professor of psychology, will receive $1-million to find solutions to the bullying epidemic. A recognized expert in the field, Vaillancourt has watched as bullying spreads through cities and small towns across North America. Zero-tolerance policies are not working, and Vaillancourt’s work will go beyond the schoolyard by studying a community-wide approach to end bullying.

“The practical applications of both these projects, as well as their national and international implications reflect the type of real-world research we do at McMaster University,” said Mamdouh Shoukri, vice-president, research and international affairs. “These awards are given to researchers who are leaders in their field. Byron is being recognized for the strength of his work, as well as for the national scope his work will lend to the quality of life of Canadians. Tracy’s project, on the other hand, recognizes our commitment to our own community. Hamilton will be used in this pilot project, and communities across Canada and around the world will be watching very closely.”

“These projects define who we are – a community-based research university with a national reputation for excellence,” said Shoukri.

The grants were presented today at McMaster University by The Honourable David Emerson, federal Minister of Industry, and Minister Responsible for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and the Honourable Tony Valeri, Leader of the Government.

McMaster University, named Canada’s Research University of the Year by Research InfoSource, has world-renowned faculty and state-of-the-art research facilities. McMaster's culture of innovation fosters a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University has a student population of more than 20,000 and more than 112,000 alumni in 128 countries.