Sheridan people to receive NSERC grants for COVID-19-related research

Sheridan awarded three COVID-19 research grants

Jun 22, 2020
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Sheridan is the recipient of three new Applied Research Rapid Response to COVID-19 research grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) College and Community Innovation Program. The call for proposals was released in April for projects intended to help support the transfer and application of knowledge and expertise on topics of immediate relevance to the COVID-19 outbreak. Each project has been funded for $75,000 for up to 12 months.

Sheridan’s awarded research projects reflect creative and innovative approaches to COVID-19 related areas and reinforce Sheridan’s unique role as a trailblazer in an ever-changing world.

“We’re thrilled to receive this funding from NSERC that allows us the opportunity to leverage our unique expertise and research approaches during these unprecedented times,” says Andrea England, Sheridan’s Vice Provost, Research. “These projects demonstrate the tremendous breadth of research at Sheridan and address key aspects of COVID-19. NSERC’s funding will enable our continued efforts to support our communities both during and beyond the pandemic.

Awarded Research Projects

Novel, Low-Cost COVID-19 Point of Care Monitoring and Triaging Device

Principal Investigators: Dr. Edward Sykes (Director of the Centre for Mobile Innovation) and Dr. Tarek El Salti (Professor in the Faculty of Applied Science and Technology)

Testing for COVID-19 is a major strategy to manage the pandemic and one of the most important measures required in the decision to restart the economy in Canada. In collaboration with industry partner Tech4Life, this project will develop a point-of-care self-assessment and monitoring system for COVID-19 through the reconfiguration of their existing mobile health system, NewPneu, which was initially designed to assist in pneumonia assessment in children. This new system will provide real-time vital signs monitoring of individuals who test positive for the virus, as well as supporting triaging of potential cases that require hospital referral for further management and diagnosis. Real-time monitoring and identification will help inform the decisions about subsequent testing and will empower health care workers to follow-up on the condition of patients who test positive and may require hospitalization.

Optimizing Interventions to Combat COVID-19 Misinformation Online

Principal Investigators: Dr. Nathaniel Barr and Dr. Michael McNamara (Professors in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences)

The spread of misinformation online about the cause, scope, and treatment of COVID-19 poses serious public health risks. In an online information-overload world that includes open and active social media, promoting accurate over inaccurate information is both a critical and challenging issue. In collaboration with partners MediaSmarts, BEworks, and some of the world’s foremost misinformation researchers, this project will design, test and disseminate creative interventions aimed at combating the online spread of misinformation about COVID-19. Insights from behavioural science and digital/media literacy research on how to stop sharing of dubious information will be translated into creative messaging that will be disseminated widely, with the intent to reduce the proportion of the population sharing dubious information and nudge Canadians to think more deeply about what is true and what is false in relation to the pandemic, which in turn will promote better public health behaviours.

Putting Food On the Table: Addressing Food Security Among Isolated Older Adults During COVID-1

Principal Investigator: Dr. Leigh Hayden and her colleagues from the Centre for Elder Research

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, adults aged 70 and over have been instructed to take extra precautions as they fall into a more vulnerable category and clinical severity with this virus worsens with age. A large proportion of older adults living in the community have not left their homes and require community supports to survive. In collaboration with Food for Life and Community Development Halton, this project will help support Food for Life’s challenges in safely and efficiently providing the nutritional and health needs of older adults in the Halton Region during the pandemic. The research team will connect with, and support, older adults while they follow governmental recommendations of physical distancing and other health guidelines. They will also enhance the offering of healthy food and introduce vulnerable older adults to virtual health and wellbeing supports and services, which will help lessen the potential negative effects of social isolation and loneliness on this population.

Congratulations to Sheridan’s recipients. For more information on research and innovation at Sheridan, please visit

Pictured top right (from left to right, clockwise): Dr. Edward Sykes (Director of the Centre for Mobile Innovation), Dr. Tarek El Salti (Professor in the Faculty of Applied Science and Technology), Dr. Nathaniel Barr and Dr. Michael McNamara (Professors in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences), Dr. Leigh Hayden, Project Coordinator in Sheridan's Centre for Elder Research.

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