Research, Engagement and Graduate Studies

UFV Undergraduate Research Excellence Awards

About the URE awards

Each year, the UFV Research Office presents Undergraduate Research Excellence (URE) Awards to students who have conducted high-calibre research as part of the UFV Work Study program, as research assistants, or for an outstanding project as part of a course.

Departments/Schools are invited to submit nominations for their best research student beginning in Winter. Additional awards are available for the best:

  • Community Service Research project completed by a student with a community service agency
  • Indigenous Research project completed by a student on an indigenous related topic
  • Industry Engagement Research project completed by a student with a UFV industry partner

A celebration event is held in Spring to acknowledge the students and their research supervisors. The event has traditionally been an in-person dinner (see photos from 2019). Recipients of the 2020 awards were announced in a special video.

History

The URE awards started as a one-time opportunity back in 2004 to disperse funds raised through a VW Beetle raffle. The event was so well received, UFV decided to make it an annual event! It has become the highlight event for the Research Office, which has dispersed over $270,000 to students through these awards over the last 15 years.

The Globe and Mail recognizes UFV's commitment to undergraduate research in their 2017 Canadian University Report:

"UFV students are encouraged to pursue their own research, even at the undergraduate level, to increase their chances of obtaining scholarships, awards and graduate-school positions. The university's Research, Engagement, and Graduate Studies office hosts an annual dinner to celebrate the research conducted by undergraduates; this year, UFV awarded more than $22,000 to 37 promising students."

2020 URE award recipients

For more info on these students and their research projects, please see the 2020 URE Awards Program.

Emily Rettich

Perturbative Contributions to the Isoscalar 0+- Hybrid Decay to pi- b1(1235)+

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Derek Harnett

Personal Note:
For the last few years, I have become increasingly fascinated with how the building blocks of our universe function – from electron wave functions to complex plasmas. My research with Dr. Derek Harnett allowed me to look even deeper, learning how the underlying fundamental particles interact and the math that physicists use to quantify it. I am also very interested in nuclear fusion as a power source and am planning on studying the physics of plasma – its fuel – in graduate school at McGill University.

Project Summary:
My project was to study the decay of a hybrid meson: a theoretical type of particle that physicists suspect exists and are currently looking for. I started by learning the basics of particle physics: sketching Feynman diagrams, the special notation used, new conservation laws, and more.  Once I could use these tools on my project, I then wrote code in Mathematica to simplify the equations they generated. Finally, the equations can be solved using numerical integration programs.

These theoretical results are significant because they provide a road map of what kind of behaviour physicists should keep an eye out for when looking for such novel particles. Once a decay rate is calculated, for example, they can watch for particles that decay at that rate. The more theoretical properties to compare to, the more certain an experimentalist can be of their findings.

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