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UOIT awarded new Canada Research Chair in Linguistic Information Visualization

Renewal of UOIT’s Chair in Advanced Robotics and Automation also announced

Dr. Christopher Collins, UOIT Canada Research Chair in Linguistic Information Visualization. Below right: Dr. Dan Zhang, UOIT Canada Research Chair in Advanced Robotics and Automation.
Dr. Christopher Collins, UOIT Canada Research Chair in Linguistic Information Visualization. Below right: Dr. Dan Zhang, UOIT Canada Research Chair in Advanced Robotics and Automation.

OSHAWA, ONTARIO – The University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s (UOIT) research portfolio is expanding with the announcement of a new Canada Research Chair (CRC) to Dr. Christopher Collins, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science; and the renewal of another CRC, first awarded in 2009 to Dr. Dan Zhang, Professor, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. The announcement was made in Edmonton, Alberta by the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology). Funding for each CRC is valued at $500,000, over five years.

“Our government is committed to supporting top researchers across all disciplines through programs such as the Canada Research Chairs Program,” said Minister Holder. “More than 1,700 chairholders are pushing the frontiers of knowledge in universities and colleges throughout Canada, driving jobs, growth and economic prosperity for Canadians.”

“The Canada Research Chair appointments to Dr. Christopher Collins and Dr. Dan Zhang represent the remarkable achievements of our research faculty and the promise of high-value, international-quality research being conducted at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology,” said Dr. Michael Owen, Vice-President, Research, Innovation and International. “These awards underscore the university’s commitment to finding solutions to societal problems of global importance.” 

Dr. Collins’ CRC (Tier 2) in Linguistic Information Visualization will help his research team address issues surrounding society’s growing challenge with ‘information overload’.

“The average office worker spends 2.6 hours a day reading and sending e-mails,” says Dr. Collins, who leads UOIT’s Visualization for Information Analysis Laboratory (Vialab). “Add in traditional news feeds and social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and it’s easy to see why so many of us feel overwhelmed by information. Yet within the daily ebb and flow of that information are millions of pieces of economically and culturally significant text-based data. The challenge lies in finding innovative ways to sort, analyze and gain insight on these data.”

Imagine a doctor using a gesture-based application to sort through large volumes of medical text with a simple swipe of a hand; or a marketing professional using a digital whiteboard to determine what customers really think by sorting and exploring tweets based on emotion. Through the use of interactive information graphics and automated language analysis tools, Dr. Collins’ research vision is aiming to make scenarios like this a reality, and in turn to forge important new connections between business and academic communities.

Dr. Dan Zhang’s CRC (Tier 2) renewal in Advanced Robotics and Automation will enable him to continue leading change in the development of the next generation of industrial robotics: innovations that help to perform tasks faster, more accurately and with greater adaptability to changing work assignment and conditions.Dr. Dan Zhang, Canada Research Chair, UOIT

“Parallel robots consist of two or more articulated links that function parallel to each other,” explains Dr. Zhang. “These robots hold great promise in terms of speed and precision, but there are still many challenges with inherently more complex operating systems and restrictions in the execution of critical commands. As a result, parallel robots are not being widely adopted by the manufacturing industry, in spite of them possessing superior mechanical properties than the more-popular serial robots.”    

Through his research, partnerships and connections with aerospace and automotive industry leaders, Dr. Zhang and his team are expanding the potential of this promising technology and positioning Canada as a leader in advanced robotic engineering. Dr. Zhang’s research also contributes to Canada’s manufacturing economy, improving the performance and efficiency of many robotic products currently used by Canadian industry.


UOIT’s Canada Research Chairs

  • Dr. Douglas Holdway – Tier 1 CRC in Aquatic Toxicology (Faculty of Science)
  • Dr. Christopher Collins – Tier 2 CRC in Linguistic Information Visualization (Faculty of Science)
  • Dr. Pierre Côté – Tier 2 CRC in Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (Faculty of Health Sciences)
  • Dr. Carolyn McGregor – Tier 2 CRC in Health Informatics (Faculty of Business and Information Technology)
  • Dr. Isabel Pedersen – Tier 2 CRC in Digital Life, Media and Culture (Faculty of Social Science and Humanities)
  • Dr. Dan Zhang – Tier 2 CRC in Robotics and Automation (Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science)

About the Canada Research Chairs program

The Canada Research Chairs Program invests approximately $265 million per year to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds. Chairholders aim to achieve research excellence in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Website:


About UOIT
The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) advances the discovery and application of knowledge through a technology-enriched learning environment and the delivery of innovative market-driven programs responsive to the needs of students and industry. With more than 9,600 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in 75 programs, UOIT promotes social engagement, fosters critical thinking and integrates outcomes-based learning experiences inside and outside the classroom. UOIT's commitment to accelerating economic growth and social innovation is realized through faculty research collaborations with leading organizations such as Ontario Power Generation, IBM, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the Durham Regional Police Service. To find out more, visit

Media contact
Bryan Oliver
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University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)
905.721.8668 ext. 6709

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