Dr. Elfring and Dr. Frigaard win 2019 Killam Research Awards

Two Mechanical Engineering faculty members have been awarded prestigious UBC awards for research. Dr. Gwynn Elfring has won a Killam Research Fellowship (Junior Category) and Dr. Ian Frigaard has been awarded a Killam Research Prize (Senior Category).

Dr. Elfring was awarded a Killam Research Fellowship in order to enable a study-leave pursuing his ongoing research project, “Computational modelling of active matter.” Elfring describes active matter as:

…matter that is composed of a large number of self-propelled active ‘particles’ that individually convert stored or ambient energy into systematic motion. The interaction of many of these individual active particles leads to complex collective dynamics. Examples include a flock of birds, a school of fish, a suspension of bacteria, or even the collective motion within a human cell.

This research could have a diverse range of applications, from bioengineering synthetic materials to biologically-derived energy sources. He will be developing a computational framework to model this complex phenomenon while as a Visiting Associate in Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology.

The Killam Research Prize “recogniz[es] outstanding research and scholarly contributions” in a field of study. Dr. Frigaard is jointly appointed between Mechanical Engineering and the Math Department, and his research focuses on non-Newtonian fluid mechanics and industrial mathematical modelling. Dr. Frigaard is a leader in the field of viscoplastic fluids with two decades at UBC as a researcher. Among many other achievements, his contributions to the field include his impact on industry, working with industry and government to improve the environmental safety of petroleum wells; launching a leading international workshop series on the topic of viscoplastic fluids; supervising 68 graduate and postdoctoral students, many of whom have gone on to academic careers themselves; as well as serving on editorial boards and scholarly committees, contributing to academic community at UBC and beyond.

Mechanical Engineering is one of only three departments at the university to have two winning researchers, alongside Educational Studies, and Psychology. See the full list of UBC Faculty Research Award recipients here.

Congratulations to Dr. Elfring and Dr. Frigaard on behalf of the department. They will be recognized for their achievements by the UBC Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation at an April 15th reception.