The Canadian government has announced the 2019 Vanier Scholarships awarded to graduate students who demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement. Valued at $50,000 per year for three years during doctoral studies, the 2019 Vanier Graduate Scholarship is Canada’s most prestigious academic award. Of the 166 scholarships awarded this year, four Nigerians namely Effoduh Okechukwu Jake, Onu Charles, Onifade Temitope and Taiwo Bello have been named Vanier Scholars. They will receive support from the Government of Canada to pursue their cutting-edge research. Candidates are weighted on three criteria: academic excellence, research potential and leadership.
According to Canada’s Minister of Science and Sport, Honourable Kirsty Duncan, who announced the results in Kingston, Ontario, “The Vanier awards help Canada attract and retain some of the brightest doctoral students to build up our world-class research talent. Since taking office, our government has been working hard to return science and research to their rightful place and today’s investments are helping us do just that.” The Minister of Health, Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor added: “it is a great pleasure for me to congratulate the recipients of these prestigious awards. Thanks to their drive, these young researchers are helping to solve important challenges.”
These are the 2019 Vanier Scholars from Nigeria:
Effoduh Okechukwu is a lawyer and partner of Praxis & Gnosis Law. He obtained his LL.B from the University of Abuja, and holds Masters degrees in law from the University of Oxford, and Osgoode Hall Law School respectively. He is a World Economic Forum Expert on human rights and as a director with the Council on African Security and Development (CASADE), he convened the first ever Summit on National Security in Nigeria involving 200 top security experts from 40 countries to develop a security strategy for the Nigerian government. He anchored two of Nigeria’s most popular radio programmes for eleven years and earned over 25 awards for his radio advocacy. He is conducting his PhD research on International Technology Transfer Mechanisms to Africa.
Onu, Charles is a tech entrepreneur and engineer. He is the founder of Ubenwa, a social venture aiming to save newborn lives through low-cost, cry-based diagnostic technology powered by Artificial Intelligence. He obtained his Bachelors in Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri and he has a Masters in Machine Learning from McGill University. He is conducting his PhD research on the intersection of artificial intelligence and medicine at Mila and the Reasoning and Learning (RL) lab at McGill University in Canada.
Onifade, Temitope is a teacher, lawyer and policy researcher with over 20 research outputs with one in Energy Policy (top five). He is an elected Senator of University of British Colombia (UBC), Vancouver, and serves as a Director of Human Dignity Foundation. He obtained his LL.B from Obafemi Awolowo University and holds several masters degrees from the following institutions: University of Ibadan, Memorial University of Newfoundland, and, University of Calgary, Canada. He is currently doing his PhD in Law at UBC. Combined, Onifade has received 29 awards worth over half a million Canadian Dollars. He was once a professional dancer and musician.
Taiwo, Bello is a teaching fellow at the University of Toronto. He is also a conflict, gender and security policy analyst doing work in investigative research, migration policy design, business and technological innovation, and health research. He has a BA in History from the University of Ibadan and Masters degrees from the Institute of International Development in Geneva, Switzerland as well as the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. His PhD research at the University of Toronto takes a historical approach on Igbo Women and the Nigeria-Biafra War.
The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships are funded through the three federal research granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). A complete list of 2019 scholars is available at http://www.vanier.gc.ca/en/home-accueil.html