Professor Kerr Acknowledged as World Leader in His Field

Posted on Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On November 24, 2010, the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, announced that the Government of Canada has made a major investment in the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program, enabling Canada to strengthen its position as a world leader in university research and development.

The announcement kicked-off a two day meeting in Toronto, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the program and the important role it has played in supporting ground-breaking research. The CRC Program, a pillar of the federal Science and Technology strategy, has revitalized the Canadian research environment by attracting and retaining talented researchers from around the world at our universities.

Kerr World Leader

Among those celebrated at the event was Professor Ian Kerr , who was elevated to a Tier 1 CRC for his outstanding and innovative research. In return, Prof. Kerr treated an audience of nearly 500 Research Chairs and graduate students to a glimpse into the future during the opening plenary session. Moderated by the Discovery Channel’s Jay Ingram, Prof. Kerr and four other renowned panelists ranging across various disciplines in the sciences and humanities addressed the question: What Will Canada Look Like in 2050?

As one of a small handful of Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs in the field of law, Prof. Kerr has made a significant impact in his field and is recognized internationally for his high quality scholarship. His current research investigates the merger of humans and machines and the social ramifications of building increasingly intelligent machines into the fabric of our bodies and the world around us. Through an interdisciplinary investigation of three overlapping domains-—automation and robotics, human enhancements, and privacy—Prof. Kerr will investigate and assess the legal and ethical implications of a wide range of emerging technologies to promote social dialogue and inform sound law and policy development.

Established in 2000 by the Government of Canada, the CRC program invests $300 million annually to attract and retain some of the world’s most accomplished and promising researchers. These chairholders aim for excellence in research in the areas of engineering and natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences. The University of Ottawa will receive $1.4 million in support of Prof. Kerr’s research and his appointment to a Tier 1 Chair is for a seven-year renewable term.

In addition to the CRC in Ethics, Law, and Technology at the Faculty of Law, Prof. Kerr holds cross-appointments to the Faculty of Medicine, the Department of Philosophy, and the School of Information Studies. He was the principal investigator of On the Identity Trail, a four-year, $4 million collaborative research project, which studied the impact of technology on privacy, identity, and anonymity.

“Having held a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair for nearly 10 years prior to receiving this new award, one of my favorite things about the CRC program is that it supports my ability to excite and involve students who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to learn about or engage in interdisciplinary approaches to law and policy making,” states Prof. Kerr. “It also allows me to blend my research and teaching to create unique, state-of-the-art course offerings that help to distinguish uOttawa as an international leader in the field of law and technology. I am deeply honoured and feel very fortunate to have been recognized, internationally, by my peers in receiving this most prestigious award.”

Congratulations Prof. Kerr!

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