Toronto, ON - University of Toronto President Meric Gertler today unveiled a 14-point plan of specific, targeted actions that aim to make a difference on climate change now. Gertler outlined U of T’s plan to battle climate change in a bold report, Beyond Divestment: Taking Decisive Action on Climate Change.

Read the report

Gertler said U of T’s approach to the investment of its endowment and pension funds should be broadened to consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when appraising the long-term performance of firms in which it holds direct investments. Beyond Divestment also outlines a plan of decisive action that calls on every facet of the University – as a leader in research, teaching, and as an energy consumer – to join in the fight against climate change. “We must take action to limit the rise in global temperatures if we are to avoid catastrophic impacts on the planet and humanity,” Gertler said. “Universities in particular have a crucial and unique role to play in helping to meet that challenge, and as a publicly supported academic institution, the University of Toronto has a responsibility to take decisive action.” Beyond Divestment is a response to the President’s Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels. That committee, led by environmental engineering professor Bryan Karney, released its own recommendations last December. The committee recommended that the University adopt a strategy of targeted and principled divestment as well as a number of initiatives in the broader field of sustainability. U of T’s $6.5 billion long-term investments, mostly in pension and endowment funds, are managed by the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation (UTAM). Gertler said he will ask UTAM to:
  • Articulate principles that will enable consideration of ESG factors in undertaking direct long-term investments;
  • Initiate the process to become a signatory to CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project);
  • Evaluate signing onto the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment initiative;
  • Determine ways in which it can vote proactively and deliberately on shareholder resolutions aimed at reducing climate-related risk for firms in which they are directly invested;
  • Evaluate signing the Montreal Carbon Pledge, which commits investors to measuring and publicly disclosing the carbon footprint of their investment portfolios every year;
  • Report annually on its efforts to assess ESG factors in making its investment decisions.
Finally, given the growing recognition of the importance of climate-related risk, the University should give serious consideration to extending a similar ESG factor-based approach to its indirect investments. Gertler thanked Karney and the committee for their work. Karney welcomed Beyond Divestment. “It is a thoughtful, ambitious, transparent and practical report, which certainly creatively takes our essential principles and works them out for the University. Significantly, the report calls on every part of the University to join in the fight against climate change and creates principles and approaches that will intelligently guide us to be progressively more sustainable in the future,” he said. While the divestment committee chaired by Karney had concluded a “a blanket divestment strategy would be unprincipled and inappropriate” it had recommended that U of T divest immediately from fossil fuels companies that show “blatant disregard” for the 1.5 degree C threshold that forms the basis of the Paris Agreement. Gertler confirmed that the University does not hold direct investments in any of the companies cited by the committee but he also said that U of T should broaden its focus beyond fossil fuel companies, since such companies only account for a quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, with the balance produced by other sectors such as transportation, housing and manufacturing. “An approach that considers ESG factors – including climate-related risk – as they pertain to all sectors of our economy would seem to offer the best chance of success in meeting the challenge of climate change, while fulfilling our fiduciary duties” to the University’s pension and endowment fund beneficiaries, the president argued. Such an approach would allow U of T to direct its investments actively, in a targeted and dynamic way, appraising the long-term performance of individual firms in a manner that accounts for their ESG practices, including climate-related risk. It could also take into consideration social considerations, such as the rights and wellbeing of Indigenous communities.

Read the report of the President’s Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels

Read the president’s response, Beyond Divestment: Taking Decisive Action on Climate Change

Although the Karney committee had recommended that U of T develop its own method of evaluating fossil fuels companies to determine whether they have disregarded the 1.5-degree threshold, Gertler concluded it would be more effective for the University to work with third-party organizations that have already developed tools and metrics by which to assess the ESG practices of firms. In considering a broader advocacy and leadership role for the University, he argued that it would be most effective for U of T to join with other groups promoting broader disclosure of carbon use and the adoption of measures to promote a low-carbon economy. In particular, U of T would have more clout if it joined global coalitions such as the United Kingdom-based CDP, which “aims to inform investor decision-making, facilitate shareholder engagement, and encourage corporations to manage their carbon emissions more effectively.” Several of Canada’s largest pension funds, such as the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, are already CDP signatories and U of T would show leadership by becoming one of the first Canadian universities to become involved with the group, he said. John Switzer, who chairs the UTAM board of directors, agreed that U of T should become a CDP signatory. “UTAM believes it is fitting that Canada's leading research-intensive University intends to become a signatory and we will work with the University as it becomes one of the first Canadian universities to join this organization.” He said that UTAM agrees that consideration of ESG-based factors is an important component of prudent investment management. “Although UTAM already incorporates many of these factors in its management of the University’s pension and endowment assets, we will work closely with the University to fully implement the President’s vision.” Tessa Hebb, the director of the Ottawa-based Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, also endorsed signing on to the CDP. “When the CDP first started in Canada only a handful of Canadian companies responded,” Hebb told U of T News.  “Our big investors then began to ask them to respond and now these companies are taking such requests seriously.” Hebb said U of T’s ESG approach would be more effective in the fight against climate change than divestment. “Divestment is not an effective strategy in the case of fossil fuel, it is a blunt instrument that doesn’t indicate what we want companies to do in order to achieve the 1.5 threshold,” Hebb said. “Our very largest institutional investors in Canada use an ESG approach – CPPIB, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Caisse de Depot – to name a few. The approach being recommended here has the potential to be far more meaningful than selling a stock that someone else will buy.” Ben Caldecott, the director of the Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford’s Smith School and a member of Oxford’s Socially Responsible Investment Review Committee, also endorsed the strategy outlined by Gertler, describing it as forward-looking. The U of T strategy, he said, “takes account of the latest work on how environment-related risks, including climate change, could affect investment portfolios. It will allow the University of Toronto to actively engage with and adopt new investment practices and products as they become available.” The Karney committee report also recommended that U of T increase its commitment to environmental research and teaching and to promoting sustainability in the University’s own operations. In response, Gertler pledged that U of T will strengthen its support for environmental research, innovation and teaching, and will continue its efforts to make University operations more sustainable.

Read about U of T’s leading environmental research and teaching

Read about U of T’s sustainability leadership

“The University’s most valuable and effective contributions to the global effort to avert and mitigate the consequences of climate change will flow from our fundamental role as an institution of research and education,” Gertler said. Among the initiatives he proposed are:
  • a tri-campus clean-tech challenge to encourage environment- and energy-related entrepreneurship;
  • $750,000 distributed over three years for climate-change related research and education initiatives;
  • prioritizing climate change-related themes in selected programs and curricula;
  • increasing the Utilities Reduction Revolving Fund by 50 per cent (from $5 million to $7.5 million) to encourage more extensive implementation of energy-saving retrofits;
  • formally adopting substantially more rigorous energy efficiency standards for capital projects;
  • pursuing opportunities to use our campuses as test beds for environmental and sustainability research and best practices;
  • investigating the potential for development of other renewable energy projects.
Gertler also said he will establish a new university-wide committee on the environment, climate change and sustainability with a mandate to coordinate and advance U of T’s environmental research, innovation, education and energy consumption initiatives. -30- For more information contact: U of T Media Relations Tel: 416-978-0100 media.relations@utoronto.ca

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Toronto, ON - We can’t control when the wind blows and when the sun shines, so finding efficient ways to store energy from alternative sources remains an urgent research problem. Now, a group of researchers led by Professor Ted Sargent at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering may have a solution inspired by nature. The team has designed the most efficient catalyst for storing energy in chemical form, by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, just like plants do during photosynthesis. Oxygen is released harmlessly into the atmosphere, and hydrogen, as H2, can be converted back into energy using hydrogen fuel cells. “Today on a solar farm or a wind farm, storage is typically provided with batteries. But batteries are expensive, and can typically only store a fixed amount of energy,” says Sargent. “That’s why discovering a more efficient and highly scalable means of storing energy generated by renewables is one of the grand challenges in this field.” You may have seen the popular high-school science demonstration where the teacher splits water into its component elements, hydrogen and oxygen, by running electricity through it. Today this requires so much electrical input that it’s impractical to store energy this way — too great proportion of the energy generated is lost in the process of storing it. This new catalyst facilitates the oxygen-evolution portion of the chemical reaction, making the conversion from H2O into O2 and H2 more energy-efficient than ever before. The intrinsic efficiency of the new catalyst material is over three times more efficient than the best state-of-the-art catalyst. The new catalyst is made of abundant and low-cost metals tungsten, iron and cobalt, which are much less expensive than state-of-the-art catalysts based on precious metals. It showed no signs of degradation over more than 500 hours of continuous activity, unlike other efficient but short-lived catalysts. Their work was published today in the leading journal Science. “With the aid of theoretical predictions, we became convinced that including tungsten could lead to a better oxygen-evolving catalyst. Unfortunately, prior work did not show how to mix tungsten homogeneously with the active metals such as iron and cobalt,” says Dr. Bo Zhang, one of the study’s lead authors. “We invented a new way to distribute the catalyst homogenously in a gel, and as a result built a device that works incredibly efficiently and robustly.” This research united engineers, chemists, materials scientists, mathematicians, physicists, and computer scientists across three countries. A chief partner in this joint theoretical-experimental studies was a leading team of theorists at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory under the leadership of Dr. Aleksandra Vojvodic. The international collaboration included researchers at East China University of Science & Technology, Tianjin University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Canadian Light Source and the Beijing Synchrotron Radiation Facility. “The team developed a new materials synthesis strategy to mix multiple metals homogeneously — thereby overcoming the propensity of multi-metal mixtures to separate into distinct phases,” said Jeffrey C. Grossman, the Morton and Claire Goulder and Family Professor in Environmental Systems at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “This work impressively highlights the power of tightly coupled computational materials science with advanced experimental techniques, and sets a high bar for such a combined approach. It opens new avenues to speed progress in efficient materials for energy conversion and storage.” “This work demonstrates the utility of using theory to guide the development of improved water-oxidation catalysts for further advances in the field of solar fuels," said Gary Brudvig, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at Yale University and director of the Yale Energy Sciences Institute. "The intensive research by the Sargent group in the University of Toronto led to the discovery of oxy-hydroxide materials that exhibit electrochemically induced oxygen evolution at the lowest overpotential and show no degradation,” said University Professor Gabor A. Somorjai of the University of California, Berkeley, a leader in this field. “The authors should be complimented on the combined experimental and theoretical studies that led to this very important finding.” Professor Sargent is the Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology. The group’s work was supported in large part by the Ontario Research Fund—Research Excellence Program, NSERC, the CIFAR Bio-Inspired Solar Energy Program and the U.S. Department of Energy. -30- About the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto The University of Toronto's Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering is Canada's top engineering school and ranks among the best in the world. We pride ourselves on our cross-disciplinary education, collaborative research and global impact. We are located in downtown Toronto, a vibrant and diverse city recognized globally as a hub for innovation. With approximately 7,800 students, 245 faculty and 16 buildings, we are one of Canada's largest engineering schools. U of T Engineering faculty members hold more than 70 prestigious research chairs funded by government, industry and endowments. Our faculty members won 21 per cent of major awards received by Canadian engineering professors in 2015 — three times as many as any other Canadian engineering school — while representing less than six per cent of engineering professors nationwide. Media contact: Marit Mitchell Communications & Media Relations Strategist Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto +1-416-978-4498; marit.mitchell@utoronto.ca

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Media Hotline
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Email
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U of T in the News

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Toronto, ON - Five University of Toronto scholars have been awarded prizes in 2016 by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – the largest tally of winners at any university in Canada. “Our exceptional performance in the NSERC awards makes it clear that U of T remains a powerhouse for research that has impact in the sciences and engineering,” said Vivek Goel, U of T vice-president of research and innovation. “We should be proud of the range of disciplines encompassed by these prestigious prizes. Earth sciences, medicine, engineering, pharmacy, ecology and evolutionary biology are all represented. And all the research has real potential to improve the human condition.” Barbara Sherwood Lollar is the winner of the John C. Polanyi Award for an outstanding advance in natural science or engineering. This University Professor in the department of earth sciences is cited for the discovery of hydrogen gas and biological chemicals in billion-year-old water samples extracted from fractures in mines in Ontario and South Africa. (Read more about Sherwood Lollar.) Her research has implications for exoplanetary science – similar processes might exist on Mars – as well the more down-to-earth protocols surrounding waste disposal and groundwater cleanup. https://youtu.be/Ofkh0w5KVOc “The joy of discovery has been at the heart of this work by our team,” said Sherwood Lollar, who is Canada Research Chair in Isotope Geochemistry of the Earth and the Environment.  “Even here on Earth there are regions of our hydrosphere and biosphere still unexplored. “We are very grateful to NSERC and to Canada for this award, as there is no higher honour than to receive a recognition that bears the name of our U of T colleague and Nobel laureate, the icon John Polanyi.” The Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering, which is always awarded to more than one recipient, goes to the U of T team of Shana Kelley and Edward Sargent for their work on AuRA, a device that can reduce the time taken to arrive at a diagnosis from days to less than 20 minutes. https://youtu.be/ieoawocK-ow Combining Professor Kelley’s expertise in electrochemistry and biochemistry with University Professor Sargent’s experience in electrical engineering and nanomaterials, the new technology has great potential to limit the spread of infectious disease, particularly in the developing world. Their startup Xagenic has raised more than $30 million in venture capital and employs 65 scientists, engineers, and molecular diagnostics market experts. (Read more about Kelley and Sargent.) Two U of T scholars received E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships. David Sinton of the department of mechanical and industrial engineering wins for his work in optofluidics, a field that involves manipulating light and nanoparticles to control the flow of fluids. Most prior research in optofludics has been dedicated to diagnostic equipment, but Professor Sinton has demonstrated its potential to create a new class of fuel cell remarkable for its efficiency and energy density. His further work includes using light-harvesting bacteria as environmentally friendly means of producing biofuel and developing a technique to select better quality human sperm for use in fertility clinics. (Read more about Sinton.) Associate Professor Stephen I. Wright of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology also wins a Steacie Fellowship for his work on how weeds evolve to become resistant to herbicides, a growing threat to food security in the developing world. Wright has determined that weed species that reproduce sexually (rather than asexually through self-fertilization) are healthier. His work, which establishes that the pace of genome-wide adaptation occurs at a higher rate than previously thought, will make it possible to foresee the extinction of crop species and step up the battle against “super weeds.” (Read more about Wright.) Other winners of national NSERC prizes were astrophysicist Victoria M. Kaspi (Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering) and chemistry doctoral candidate Yasser Gidi (NSERC Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize for Interdisciplinary Research), both of McGill University. The prizes, valued at a total of $3.71 million, will be awarded officially Tuesday evening at Rideau Hall by Governor General David Johnston, with U of T alumna and Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan and NSERC president B. Mario Pinto at the ceremony. “It is imperative that we praise the groundbreaking achievements of our top researchers to demonstrate our respect and admiration for Canada’s leading scientists and engineers,” Duncan said in a statement. “We must continue to promote, celebrate, and support our talented researchers to foster an environment wherein they can be global leaders in discovery and innovation and generate results that will benefit Canadians today and in the future.” -30- For more information contact: University of Toronto Media Relations Tel: (416) 978-0100 media.relations@utoronto.ca  

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See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

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Toronto, ON– Media are invited to view a live webcast at the University of Toronto (U of T) as the National Science Foundation brings together scientists from Caltech, MIT, and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration this Thursday at 10:30 a.m. (EST) at Washington’s National Press Club for a status report on the effort to detect gravitational waves – or ripples in the fabric of spacetime – using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). Participants in the LIGO Scientific Collaboration who are based at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics at U of T will be in attendance. Harald Pfeiffer, Canada Research Chair for Numerical Relativity and Gravitational Wave Astrophysics and fellow in the Cosmology and Gravity program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, will be available to comment on the significance of the update and the University of Toronto’s role in the project. For media unable to attend this live-viewing event, a URL for the live stream will be made available at 9:30 am on Thursday, February 11. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first publication of Albert Einstein’s prediction of the existence of gravitational waves. With interest in this topic piqued by the centennial, the group will discuss their ongoing efforts to observe and measure cosmic gravitational waves for scientific research. For background about the project, visit: WHEN: Thursday, February 11, 2016 10:30 AM EST WHERE: Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics University of Toronto Room 1318, Burton Tower McLennan Physical Laboratories 60 St. George Street Toronto, ON -30- Media Contacts: Sean Bettam Faculty of Arts & Science University of Toronto s.bettam@utoronto.ca 416-946-7950 (b) 647-228-5820 (c) University of Toronto Communications media.relations@utoronto.ca 416-978-0100 Lindsay Jolivet Canadian Institute for Advanced Research lindsay.jolivet@cifar.ca 416-971-4876  

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December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto is inviting members of its community to make submissions to an advisory committee studying a recent call for divestment from fossil fuel companies. The request for submissions is the latest step in the work of the committee examining the divestment issue.  The committee may also reflect more generally on the university’s most appropriate and effective responses to the challenges posed by climate change. U of T President Meric Gertler encouraged all interested parties to make their views known and added that great care was taken in choosing the advisory committee. “The members bring significant academic and research expertise to the committee,” said Gertler.  “Their work is guided by the same rigour and commitment to academic freedom that the members employ in all of their teaching and research.” A full list of the committee membership, which was approved by the Executive Committee of the university’s Governing Council, is available online.  Once the committee makes its recommendation, which is expected late this year, it is up to the President to make the final decision on divestment. The committee was formed under the terms of the university’s Policy on Social and Political Issues with Respect to University Divestment.  Since its creation the committee has met with a variety of groups with an interest in the issue and has been gathering research related to the divestment call, which came in the form of a brief prepared by Toronto350, a student group at the university. “I want to thank everyone who has participated in the debate so far as well as those who respond to this call for submissions,” said Gertler.  “This is a great example of the university community coming together to debate an important issue.” The original deadline for submissions is September 30, 2015; however, the President and the Advisory Committee have indicated that submissions will continue to be accepted until October 14. Those wishing to make submissions can send them via email to president@utoronto.ca or via regular mail to: Professor Bryan Karney, Chair Presidential Advisory Committee on Divestment from Fossil Fuels Office of the President Simcoe Hall, Room 206 University of Toronto Toronto, ON M5S 1A1

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For more information, contact: Media Relations University of Toronto 416 978-0100 media.relations@utoronto.ca

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

TORONTO, ON -- An invasive ant species that has become increasingly abundant in eastern North America not only takes over yards and delivers a nasty sting, it’s helping the spread of an invasive plant species.  The ants are very effective dispersers of invasive plant seeds and new research suggests that together they could wreak havoc on native ecosystems.

University of Toronto researchers have found that the European fire ant, Myrmica rubra, disperses seeds of both native and invasive plants, but it does a much better job of helping an invasive plant to spread.

“Ecologists think invasive species might help each other to spread, but there are few good examples. They talk about ‘invasional meltdown,’ because ecosystems could be very, very rapidly taken over by invasive species if invaders help each other out,” said evolutionary biologist Megan Frederickson, one of the authors of the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. “Our results suggest that invasional meltdown could be happening right under our noses, here in Ontario.”

The research was conducted at U of T’s field station, the Koffler Scientific Reserve at Jokers Hill (ksr.utoronto.ca). The team created artificial ecological communities – mesocosms – inside 42 small plastic children’s swimming pools.

The researchers filled each pool with soil and planted four species of spring wildflowers  --three native species (sharp-lobed hepatica, Canadian wild ginger and bloodroot) and one invasive species: greater celandine. They then collected colonies of either the European fire ant or a native woodland ant and added the colonies to the pools. The ants picked up and moved seeds of these plant species and the researchers watched what happened.

“The pools with the invasive ant were overrun by the invasive plant, but pools with the native ant had lots of native plants,” says co-author and ecologist Kirsten Prior. The invasive ant moved lots of seeds of all four plant species, but the invasive plant took advantage of being dispersed more than the other species and recruited in very large numbers.

“Unfortunately, as a result of humans rapidly moving species around the globe through trade and traffic, most ecosystems are now home to numerous invasive species,” said Prior. “Our finding that multiple invasive species can accelerate invasion and cause ecosystems to become dominated by invasive species is a troubling one. Invasive species are a leading threat to natural ecosystems, and can have impacts on society. Research on how ecosystems become invaded and the consequences of invasion is important. It sets us on the right path to develop solutions to reduce the spread and impact of these harmful species.”

Other research team members included undergraduate students Jennifer Robinson and Shannon Meadley Dunphy.  Research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation.

Images and paper at uoft.me/invasive-species

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MEDIA CONTACTS:

Kirsten Prior Department of Biology University of Florida priorkm@gmail.com priorkm.weebly.com Cell/Mobile: + 254-202- 639-251 *  Kirsten is in Kenya . Note that Kenya is 8 hours ahead of Toronto time.

Megan Frederickson Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology University of Toronto Cell/Mobile: +1 647-224-4449 m.frederickson@utoronto.ca mutualism.ca

Kim Luke Communications, Faculty of Arts & Science University of Toronto Tel: 416-978-4352 Kim.luke@utoronto.ca

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

TORONTO, ON -- A team of scientists, led by the University of Toronto’s Barbara Sherwood Lollar, has mapped the location of hydrogen-rich waters found trapped kilometres beneath Earth’s surface in rock fractures in Canada, South Africa and Scandinavia. Common in Precambrian Shield rocks – the oldest rocks on Earth – the ancient waters have a chemistry similar to that found near deep sea vents, suggesting these waters can support microbes living in isolation from the surface. The study, to be published in Nature on December 18, includes data from 19 different mine sites that were explored by Sherwood Lollar, a geoscientist at U of T’s Department of Earth Sciences, U of T senior research associate Georges Lacrampe-Couloume, and colleagues at Oxford and Princeton universities. The scientists also explain how two chemical reactions combine to produce substantial quantities of hydrogen, doubling estimates of global production from these processes which had previously been based only on hydrogen coming out of the ocean floor. “This represents a quantum change in our understanding of the total volume of Earth’s crust that may be habitable,” said Sherwood Lollar. Until now, none of the estimates of global hydrogen production sustaining deep microbial populations had included a contribution from the ancient continents. Since Precambrian rocks make up more than 70 per cent of the surface of Earth’s crust, Sherwood Lollar likens these terrains to “a sleeping giant, a huge area that has now been discovered to be a source of possible energy for life.” One process, known as radiolytic decomposition of water, involves water undergoing a breakdown into hydrogen when exposed to radiation. The other is a chemical reaction called serpentization, a mineral alteration reaction that is common in such ancient rocks. This study has important implications for the search for deep microbial life. Quantifying the global hydrogen budget is key to understanding the amount of the Earth’s biomass that is in the subsurface, as many deep ecosystems contain chemolithotrophic – so-called “rock-eating” – organisms that consume hydrogen. In the deep gold mines of South Africa, and under the sea, at hydrothermal vents where breaks in the fissure of Earth’s surface that release geothermally heated waters – hydrogen-rich fluids host complex microbial communities that are nurtured by the chemicals dissolved in the fluids. This study identifies a global network of sites with hydrogen-rich waters that will be targeted for exploration for deep life over the coming years. Further, because Mars – like the Precambrian crust – consists of billions-of-year-old rocks with hydrogen-producing potential, this finding has ramifications for astrobiology. “If the ancient rocks of Earth are producing this much hydrogen, it may be that similar processes are taking place on Mars,” said Sherwood Lollar. Other key members of the research team are Chris Ballentine of Oxford University, Tulis Onstott at Princeton University and Georges Lacrampe-Couloume of the University of Toronto. The research was funded by the Canada Research Chairs program, the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council, the Sloan Foundation Deep Carbon Observatory, the Canadian Space Agency and the National Science Foundation. IMAGES and Nature paper: uoft.me/ancient

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For more information, please contact: Barbara Sherwood Lollar Department of Earth Sciences University of Toronto Tel: 416-978-0770 bslollar@chem.utoronto.ca Kim Luke Communications, Faculty of Arts & Science University of Toronto Tel: 416-978-4352 Kim.luke@utoronto.ca

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

TORONTO, ON – Scientists have long known that air pollution caused by cars and trucks, solvent use and even plants, is reduced when broken down by naturally occurring compounds that act like detergents of the atmosphere. What has not been well understood until now are the relative contributions of all the processes producing such compounds. A new study, led by University of Toronto atmospheric chemist Jennifer Murphy, shows a key component of the process is the soil beneath our feet. “Pollutants in the atmosphere are broken down by hydroxyl radicals that are produced when nitrous acid breaks down in sunlight,” said Murphy. “What scientists have been working to solve for over 15 years is where nitrous acid comes from during the daytime.” Murphy and her team investigated chemical interactions that take place when different components of the atmosphere reach the ground. “We found that soil can take up nitrous acid at night when these components react with carbonate minerals often found in soil. Examples of everyday carbonates are lime and sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda,” said Murphy. “The following day, nitrous acid is displaced from the soil and released into the atmosphere by the strong acids nitric acid and hydrochloric acid,” said Trevor VandenBoer, lead author of the study published today in Nature Geoscience and former PhD student in Murphy’s research group, now a Banting postdoctoral fellow at Memorial University. “Those strong acids are the product of combustion processes that occur in virtually all environments, so this cycle occurs daily.” Nitrous acid breaks down extremely quickly in sunlight to form hydroxyl radicals. So, something must be producing nitrous acid just as quickly, or at least in sufficient amounts, during the daytime in order to reach measurable concentrations. To find the answer, the researchers designed a combination of experiments to measure nitrous acid reacting with atmospheric particles they suspected were coming from soils. They followed up on promising field observations with laboratory tests and discovered that nitrous acid can be taken up by soils and subsequently released the next day through reaction with the stronger acids. The team found nitrite – the salt form of nitrous acid – in particles containing large amounts of calcium and sodium. This suggested that reactions with mineral dust or soil produces nitrite salts, which react with the stronger acids produced by combustions processes, releasing nitrous acid. “We have demonstrated a process through which a significant amount of nitrous acid can be produced and observed in the daytime,” said Murphy. “This process can account for the majority of daytime nitrous acid produced from noon through sunset,” said VandenBoer. “Other mechanisms proposed previously have not been shown to be equally important both in the lab and in the field.” “This discovery allows us to better understand the sources of hydroxyl radical,” said Murphy. “Knowing where nitrous acid comes from during the daytime helps to understand the factors controlling air pollution.” The research is described in a study titled “Nocturnal loss and daytime source of nitrous acid through reactive uptake and displacement” published this week in Nature Geoscience. Additional researchers included scientists at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The research was supported by funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

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MEDIA CONTACTS: Jennifer Murphy Department of Chemistry University of Toronto 416-946-0260 jmuprhy@chem.utoronto.ca Trevor VandenBoer Department of Earth Science Memorial University 709-864-3001 tvandenboer@mun.ca Sean Bettam Communications, Faculty of Arts & Science University of Toronto 416-946-7950 s.bettam@utoronto.ca

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

TORONTO, ON -- Countries with higher levels of compassion and openness score better when it comes to environmental sustainability, says research from the University of Toronto. A new study by Jacob Hirsh, an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour & Human Resource Management at the University of Toronto Mississauga's Institute for Management & Innovation, who is cross-appointed to U of T's Rotman School of Management, demonstrates that a country’s personality profile can predict its environmental sustainability records. While Prof. Hirsh’s previous work has looked at how personality traits predict an individual’s attitudes about the environment, this latest study takes the research to another level, examining how those traits play out across whole nations. "We used to think that personality only mattered for individual outcomes,” says Prof. Hirsh, “but we’re finding that population differences in personality characteristics have many large-scale consequences”. The new study examined nation-level personality traits from a database of over 12,000 people in 51 countries. National personality differences, reflecting average trait profiles of a country’s citizens, were used to predict scores on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI). The EPI, developed at Yale and Columbia Universities, ranks countries across 22 environmental indicators, including Co2 emission levels, use of renewable energy, and ecosystem management. Higher scores on the EPI, reflecting more environmentally sustainable practices, were positively correlated with national levels of two personality traits: Agreeableness, which reflects empathy and compassion, and Openness, which reflects cognitive flexibility and aesthetic appreciation. The same relationships were observed even when controlling for national differences in wealth, education, and population size. These results highlight the psychological factors that can shape a nation’s environmental policies, says Prof. Hirsh. “Not only can a person’s attitudes about the environment be predicted from his or her personality traits, but the environmental practices of entire nations can be predicted from the personality profiles of their citizens”. The paper was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology. For the latest thinking on business, management and economics from the Rotman School of Management, visit www.rotman.utoronto.ca/FacultyAndResearch/NewThinking.aspx.

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For more information: Ken McGuffin Manager, Media Relations Rotman School of Management University of Toronto Voice 416.946.3818 E-mail mcguffin@rotman.utoronto.ca Follow Rotman on Twitter @rotmanschool Watch Rotman on You Tube www.youtube.com/rotmanschool  

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.

TORONTO, ON -- NASA announced last week that the next rover, being sent to Mars in 2020, will carry seven highly sophisticated instruments to conduct unprecedented science and exploration technology investigations on the Red Planet. The instruments were selected from 58 proposals received from researchers and engineers around the world and Rebecca Ghent of the University of Toronto’s Department of Earth Sciences is on the team behind one of the carefully chosen winners: a ground-penetrating radar known as RIMFAX. The Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Exploration (RIMFAX) will conduct shallow profiling of the geological structure of Martian subsurface as the rover drives along the surface. Its goals are to discover evidence of the geological processes that shaped Mars' sedimentary environment, to search for evidence of past habitable environments and to look for variations in subsurface composition. “I'm very excited to be part of this mission,” said Ghent. “The community has been talking about putting a ground-penetrating radar on a Mars rover for a long time, and I'm delighted that I get to be part of the team to do it.  I expect that it will give us something that Earth geologists take for granted, but is very rare for planetary geologists: a view into the third or vertical dimension.” Unravelling the geological history of any region on any planet requires that third dimension, because it represents time, explains Ghent. Without it, we only have a snapshot, representing a single point in time. “Ground-penetrating radar gives us the opportunity to detect things beneath the surface, and should provide a wealth of new information that will help us put the rest of the rover' s findings into perspective. The opportunity to discover the geological history is what really excites me.” Ghent’s tasks prior to launch will be to measure the electrical properties of materials that represent analogs of those that will be found on Mars so that the scientists can interpret the radar’s results. She will also participate in field testing of instrument prototypes and related data analysis. After launch and during the science phase of the mission, Ghent will be involved in science planning for the investigation, data processing and scientific analysis as well as geological interpretation of the radar data. How does one end up being part of a Mars rover mission? Ghent’s interest in the geological process on the terrestrial planets – Venus, Mercury, Earth, the Moon and Mars – began in graduate school when she was analysing radar data from the Magellan mission to Venus. She’s been involved in various missions since, including the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which launched in 2009, and the OSIRIS REx asteroid sample return mission, scheduled for launch in 2016. The Mars 2020 mission will be based on the design of the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, which landed on Mars almost two years ago, and is currently operating there. In addition to geological assessments of the rover's landing site, Mars 2020 hopes to determine the potential habitability of the environment and directly search for signs of ancient Martian life.

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For more information, contact: Rebecca Ghent Earth Sciences University of Toronto Cell: 619-481-4321 ghentr@es.utoronto.ca Kim Luke Communications Faculty of Arts & Science University of Toronto Tel: 416-978-4352 kim.luke@utoronto.ca

Latest Media Releases

December 6, 2016

Bell Canada, Canada Soccer and Toronto FC partner with U of T Varsity Blues to present Canada’s largest soccer coaching conference

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto and the Varsity Blues are pleased to announce three major partnerships for the sixth annual National Soccer Coaching Conference, including presenting sponsor, Bell. Toronto FC and the Canadian Soccer Association will also be partnering with the conference this year, taking place January 27 – 29, 2017 at Varsity Centre. Their respective partnerships mark a commitment to supporting the development of our youth, ensuring only the highest quality of coaching excellence is present during the…

December 5, 2016

The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies and appoints inaugural director

Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has launched The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Studies on its St. George campus. An endowment—originally from Tung Lin Kok Yuen, the Hong-Kong based charitable organization established by Mr. Robert H. N. Ho’s grandmother, Lady Clara Ho Tung—will provide an intellectual home for the largest contingent of Buddhist studies experts in Canada. “Our esteemed colleagues at The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation have demonstrated tremendous global leadership in their…

December 5, 2016

Children with average and lower vocabularies reading e-books learn more with an adult reader than pre-recorded voice

Toronto, ON – A study by researchers at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto shows that four-year-olds with average and lower vocabulary skills learn more effectively with an adult reading an eBook to them versus relying solely on the eBook’s voiceover. Adult reader versus e-book voiceover In the study, four-year-olds either interacted with a digital book on their own using the book’s voiceover, or an adult read them the same book. The book was teaching…

December 2, 2016

25 top University of Toronto scholars named Canada Research Chairs

Toronto, ON – Two researchers who are leading efforts to transform the Canadian social work landscape for children and youth are among 25 new Canada Research Chairs awarded today to the University of Toronto. Worth a total of $19.7 million, the positions were announced by federal Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at a national news conference held at U of T’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The government is also providing $1.4 million in infrastructure funding to support the chairs. Meet U…

December 1, 2016

Researchers Expose Censorship on Popular Chat App, WeChat

Toronto, ON – Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab are publishing a report today that reveals how WeChat (the most popular chat app in China) censors content. The results show WeChat has separate censorship policies for users in China and internationally, with the majority of censorship targeted for China accounts, and has removed notifications to users about the blocking of chat messages on the platform. The researchers also found that there is more censorship in “group chat” messages…

December 1, 2016

Post-merger layoffs moderated, corporate takeovers cut when labour protections strengthened, Rotman research finds

Toronto, ON – An examination of takeover activity in OECD countries has found that increased job protections have a major impact on corporate mergers and acquisitions, driving down activity while cutting the synergy gains associated with it. The effect is so significant that researchers have concluded that the potential for labour restructuring is one of the key reason behind takeover bids. The study from the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management found an almost 15 per cent drop in…

November 23, 2016

The time is ripe for the City of Toronto to implement taxes, says IMFG

Toronto, ON – As cities like Toronto face tough decisions about how to fund the complex and growing demands on local government, a newly released paper from the Institute of Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs argues that additional taxes are entirely appropriate and necessary for Canada’s major cities to continue to thrive. In the IMFG Perspectives Paper (No. 15) released today, New Tax Sources for Canada’s Largest Cities: What Are the…

See all news releases

Media Hotline
+1 (416) 978-0100

Email
media.relations@utoronto.ca

Social

U of T in the News

CBC News | December 7, 2016

Is there a 'Trump effect' with Syrian refugees in Canada?

Social justice education professor Megan Boler, shares her view on whether we are seeing the so-called "Trump effect" starting to appear in Canada. Read more.

TVO The Agenda | December 6, 2016

The Future of Medicine

U of T's Molly Shoichet talks about the future of medicine and her research. She holds the Canada Research Chair in tissue engineering and is a professor of chemistry, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Watch here. 

Times Higher Education | December 6, 2016

Scholars advised on dealing with the aftermath of US election

Rachel Barney, a professor of classics and philosophy at the University of Toronto discussed her notion of Anti-Authoritarian Academic Code of Conduct. Read more.