3d printed shapes held to the cameraThe Western Academy seeks solutions to major issues facing humanity. To achieve this objective, it will facilitate the identification of themes of inquiry that are of broad significance and involve topics that can benefit from ideas drawn from the full spectrum of scholarship.

The Academy will initially focus on six themes at a time:

  • Two themes active in any particular year;
  • Planning for two themes to be offered in the next year; and
  • The selection process for the two themes to be considered in the following year.

Theme selection will typically be made at least two years in advance to facilitate the selection and recruitment of Visiting Western Fellows, secondment of Western Fellows and recruitment of Western Academy Postdoctoral Scholars. Participants are expected devote the majority of their work time to the theme during their time as a Fellow.

Given restrictions to travel and in-person collaboration arising from COVID-19, The Academy may initially need to undertake programs of shorter duration and deliver its themes virtually.

Themes will be selected for their timely relevance to current, major issues affecting Canada and the world, and for the prospects of taking a significant step forward in thinking that could inform and influence directions of society, governments and the broader public and private sectors.

Themes supported by the Western Academy

  • The mathematics of neural networks: new theoretical methods for biological and artificial brains led by Dr. Lyle Muller (Mathematics)
  • Climate resilient infrastructure and buildings led by Dr. Keith Porter (Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, Civil and Environmental Engineering)
  • Beginning in September 2023: Carbon-inspired solutions for Carbon Transformation led by Dr. Chris DeGroot (Mechanical and Materials Engineering)