Stories from the road


Sarah Binns is part of our Research Matters team touring the province this summer to spread the word about research breakthroughs at Ontario’s 21 publicly-funded universities. 

This summer Alex, Katie, Badri, and I have been travelling from Thunder Bay to Ottawa, and Windsor to Sudbury to promote the amazing research happening at universities across the province. We’re highlighting 50 game-changing innovations from the last 100 years through fun research-themed trivia.

Research Matters' Curiosity Cruiser team are hopscotching across the province this summer.

Research Matters’ Curiosity Cruiser team is hopscotching across the province this summer.

There are some truly impressive game-changers on our list, but the innovations that people feel most connected to are often the ones we least expect. The most memorable moments happen when someone shares a personal connection to the research we’re promoting. In Sudbury, we were amazed by the city’s pride about the inclusion of the SNOLAB to our list. It seems everyone either knows someone who worked there, worked there themselves, helped construct it, or visited the underground lab. We’ve also met potato breeder Gary Johnston’s neighbour, and UOttawa law students who took classes with Michael Geist. And countless professors and researchers have dropped by to talk with us about future game-changing discoveries they are working on.

For me, the most impressive feature of our list of game-changing research is that its showcases the full breadth of research from a wide variety of disciplines. As a classics graduate I am incredibly pleased with the inclusion of historians and theorists, as they most accurately reflect my own research experience. Historian Margaret MacMillan has helped us understand the influence of past events on present policy and international relations, while literary critic Northrop Frye revolutionized the field when he outlined a highly structured, systematic theory of criticism that exists independent of literature itself. Communications theorist Marshall McLuhan made his mark by examining how media changes our behaviours and perceptions according to the way information is structured. I have enjoyed sharing their stories and the unexpected ways in which their work has impacted Ontario, Canada, and the world.

Which of our game-changers do you most connect with? Stop by and share your research stories with us at one of the following upcoming festivals:

  • Sunfest in London- July 9th-12th
  • Kingston Farmers’ Market- July 18th
  • Ennismore Shamrock Festival- July 19th
  • Muskoka Ribfest in Gravenhurst – July 24th-26th
  • Kempenfest in Barrie- July 31st– August 3rd

We hope to see you there and in the meantime #staycurious!

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