York University is the leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university in Canada. York offers a contemporary academic experience at the undergraduate and graduate level in Toronto. The third largest university in the country, York is host to a dynamic academic community of 50,000 students and 7,000 faculty and staff, as well as 200,000 alumni worldwide.

York’s 10 faculties and 28 research centres and institutes conduct ambitious, groundbreaking research that cuts across academic boundaries. This distinctive and collaborative approach is preparing students for the future and bringing fresh insights to real-world challenges.

York’s Research Focus

York researchers undertake visionary research of local national and international significance. The knowledge they create provides insight into the scientific, economic, social and cultural issues affecting our world.

York researchers see with fresh eyes and new perspectives. Our research breaks down traditional academic boundaries and pursues truly interdisciplinary research projects, with a particular emphasis on collaborative projects between scientists, social scientists and external stakeholders. We engage colleagues at other institutions, across industries from nongovernment organizations and within community groups at the local, national and international level so that our approach is relevant to and has impact on the world in which we all live. York actively fosters knowledge exchange, technology transfer and community-university partnerships and clusters.

York has historical research strengths in areas such as vision science, space science, history and refugee studies. We are building on these strengths and expanding our interdisciplinary and collaborative research in strategic areas such as health research, the environment, climate change and sustainability, and digital media.

Key Strategic Research Themes at York University

Health Research
York’s interdisciplinary approach to health research aims to improve the overall health and well-being of individuals and communities. With its Faculty of Health established in 2006, York has over 400 faculty members engaged in health research across the full spectrum of academic disciplines, along with 14 health-related research centres and facilities. In 2009, York was awarded a new Canada Research Chair (CRC) in muscle health, raising our total number of CRCs engaged in health research to 28 per cent.

In 2010, York opened the Sherman Health Research Centre, a leading-edge regional facility for vision science with specialized research facilities, such as brain-imaging, an fMRI platform, a virtual reality cave, EEG facility, visual and visuomotor assessment facility, and labs for the study of visual development. In 2011, the Life Sciences Building will add an additional 160,000 sq. ft. to our facilities, creating space for our growing demand for graduate and undergraduate programs in Life and Health Sciences, along with additional laboratory space for nuclear magnetic resonance, X-ray, mass spectrometry and radioisotope facilities.

Research specializations include:
• Biotechnology, Mass Spectrometry, and Proteomics
• Vision Science — human perception, neurosciences, visual biometrics and computational vision
• Cancer — identifying markers for endometrial and head and neck cancer, ovarian cancer cell growth and tumour formation
• Infectious and Chronic Diseases
• Gender, Child, and Youth Health
• Health Systems, Policies, Law and Management
• Muscle and Skeletal Health across the Human Life Cycle
• Social and Biomedical Determinants of Health
• Psychology
• Diabetes
• Nursing
• Kinesiology and Health Science

Environmental, Climate Change and Sustainability Research
York’s researchers seek solutions to a broad range of environmental issues and are leaders in environmental and sustainability research, working across diverse disciplines to address the most urgent issues facing our environment.

Climate change’s pervasiveness and complexity require a range of solutions that are grounded in social science, incorporate interdisciplinary and promote real-world responses.

To use climate change research strategically, we have partnered with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to lead the Climate Consortium for Research Action and Integration (CC-RAI) as part of our efforts to make substantial contributions to international and domestic climate science and policy processes. York is also leading an internationally collaborative project to study the challenge climate change presents to Canadian employment and workplaces. Our researchers are also working with the Ministry of the Environment’s Source Protection Planning branch to deliver climate adaptation programming and support key initiatives. 

York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies — the first faculty of its kind in Canada — comprises critical research in a wide array of areas, while the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) supports leading sustainability-related research in areas that include atmospheric systems, urban environments, transportation, international development systems, and governance.

Research specializations include:
• Climate Change
• Air Quality, Atmospheric Science, and Pollution
• Energy Conservation
• Ecology and Conservation Biology
• Sustainable Agricultural, Fishing and Energy Industries
• Law and the Environment
• Geomatics
• Water Quality
• Globalization and Economic Competitiveness

Digital Media Research
Drawing on the breadth and scope of expertise in areas such as communications and cultural studies, fine arts, education, philosophy, computer science, engineering, applied mathematics, law, and business, York is emerging as a global leader in digital media research. This expanding strength reflects York’s long-standing excellence in cultural and entertainment research.

The Centre for Innovation in Information Visualization and Data-Driven Design features strong collaboration between York and the Ontario College of Art & Design University, along with some of Ontario’s leading technology companies, including AMD, IBM, Open Text, Platform Computing, Side Effects Software, Autodesk, and Zameen Mobile. This project will leverage synergies at York between art and design, computer science and engineering, cognitive science, and learning technologies to develop the next generation of data discovery, design and visualization techniques by developing new computational tools, representational strategies, and interfaces.

The 3D Film Innovation Consortium (3D FLIC) is a two-year academic-industry partnership that will expand capacity for 3-D film production and technology in the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario. Teams of filmmakers at York, led by researchers in the Department of Film’s Future Cinema Lab, will work with an array of film industry partners to develop 3-D scenes and films. Vision researchers and psychologists in York’s Centre for Vision Research and the Department of Psychology will then use this material to conduct tests exploring how humans perceive and process the images, which the filmmaking teams will use to further refine their films. This interdisciplinary cycle of research promises to develop practical solutions that will create better post-production technologies and processes for 3-D film production, which will benefit the film industry as a whole.

Research specializations include:
• 3-D Film and Stereoscopic Cinema
• Digital Media
• New Media
• Screen-Based Technologies
• Graphics and Animation
• Games, Gaming and Education
• The Arts, Culture, and Society
• Education and the Arts
• Computer Science and Emerging and Entertainment Technology

York University Research Outreach and our Local Communities
York’s research also serves as a driver of economic growth and innovation in the Toronto region. York’s strategic research plan include socio-economic policy as part of our overall innovation agenda, fostering partnerships between our researchers and the local and international community through technology and knowledge transfer, knowledge clusters, knowledge mobilization, regional innovation, and partnerships.

In 2010, Innovation York was launched to extend the university’s S&T outreach by adding a central hub for innovation in York region, situated in a Convergence Centre in the Town of Markham.

This hub will allow both industry and academic sectors to address the innovation gap, aligning its purpose and effect with the Ministry of Research and Innovation’s Innovation Agenda and the ONE strategy. It will accelerate commercialization and innovation by bringing together industry and our more entrepreneurial faculty and graduate students to optimize R&D opportunities.

York University Facts
• With 5,200 graduate students, York has the second-largest graduate Faculty in Ontario.
• York is home to the world-renowned Schulich School of Business and Osgoode Hall Law School.
• Since 1999, York has graduated 1,220+ Doctoral, 14,150+ Master and 45,000+ Bachelor students.
• York has been ranked as Canada’s third most internationally collaborative university in scientific research.
• York University’s total impact on the Toronto region’s economy was conservatively estimated at over $3.5 billion in 2004.