David Eliot selected as Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar

Posted on Thursday, June 2, 2022

The Centre for Law, Technology and Society is delighted to announce that PhD Candidate David Eliot has been selected as a 2022-2025 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar.

David Eliot was awarded the prestigious scholarship to support his PhD studies in Criminology at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa, under the supervision of Prof. David Murakami Wood. 

His doctoral project focuses on explores how the data that is used to train artificial intelligence (AI) systems is created, collected, used and or traded as an economic good. Specifically, he is interested in how the structures of the data economy that is emerging to support the development of AI affects citizens' rights to privacy and security. His doctoral proposal and leadership record both scholarly and in the community has placed him among the 2022-2025 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholars, one of Canada’s most prestigious doctoral awards. 


The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholarship is a three-year leadership program designed to train engaged leaders, equipping outstanding doctoral candidates with the skills to translate their ideas into action for the betterment of their communities, Canada, and the world. Scholars receive leadership training in addition to funding for their studies. 

Out of 500 applicants, David Eliot was one of 13 selected. The 13 Scholars selected, representing 10 Canadian and international universities, were chosen not just for their academic excellence but also for their creativity, leadership potential, agility, resilience, commitment to a diversity of perspectives and, finally, their ability to engage in nuanced critical thinking about complex issues. 


In David Eliot’s words “I am absolutely honoured to be named one of the 2022 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation PhD Scholars. Being shortlisted alone seemed unbelievable to me. I full heartedly believe in the values of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and am excited to explore them within my research on AI and data economies. The challenges our society faces in ensuring that innovations in the field of AI produce a future that is beneficial and just for all are immense. Combining the resources provided by the Trudeau Foundation, with the forward-thinking research environment at the University of Ottawa will ensure that my research can have the maximum possible impact. I am excited to learn from and collaborate with the incredible talents already working at the Center for Law Technology and Society, as well as the Department of Criminology, to increase my knowledge on the social and political issues AI presents, as well as ways we can leverage AI to liberate and innovate.” 


David Eliot’s main research interests are radical right-wing populism, artificial intelligence and data economies. His research currently focuses on how the structures of the data economy that is emerging to support the development of AI affects citizens rights to privacy and security. His research has been recognized via numerous academic awards including the Arthur B. McDonald Prize for Academic Excellence, the Canadian Sociological Associations ‘Outstanding Graduate’ award for both his BA, and Master's Thesis. 

Outside of academia, David Eliot pursues his passions in both the arts and activism, and fencing. As an activist, he has helped organize numerous town halls and demonstrations aimed at addressing the ongoing climate crisis. As an artist, he has produced and performed in award-winning magic shows across Canada. He is also an accomplished athlete who competed in fencing at provincial, national and international levels. He notably captained two gold medal-winning teams at the Ontario Summer Games, and represented Canada at the 2015 Junior Men's Epee World Cup in Bern Switzerland. 


The Centre would like to extend their congratulations to Michelle Liu, who was also selected as a 2022-2025 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar. You can read her announcement here. 

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