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Researcher named finalist for prestigious social sciences award

By Krista Davidson | Sept. 8, 2014

A doctoral student and researcher has been named a finalist for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Impact Awards.

Kirk Luther, Faculty of Science, is among three finalists for the SSHRC Talent Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement by a current SSHRC doctoral or postdoctoral scholarship or fellowship holder.

The other finalists are Heather A. Bliss from the University of Victoria and Amy B. Scott from the University of Manitoba. The recipient of the award will be named in a ceremony in Ottawa, Ont., on Monday, Nov. 3, and will receive $50,000.

“I am incredibly honoured to be selected as one of three finalists for the SSHRC Talent Award,” said Mr. Luther. “Thus far during my graduate studies at Memorial University, I have worked diligently toward my scholarly goals of becoming a professional social scientist, improving the criminal justice system and protecting the rights of vulnerable individuals.

“Being a finalist is rewarding because it reminds me that all of the hard work and perseverance required to achieve my goals has been worthwhile,” he continued. “This recognition also helps promote my research and bring attention to important societal issues facing Canadians. The recognition from SSHRC provides a powerful motivation to continue working hard to conduct meaningful people-focused research."

Mr. Luther’s research interests include false and coerced confessions, police interviewing and interrogation tactics and distinguishing between science and pseudoscience in law enforcement.

Most recently, Mr. Luther has been awarded with:

• The 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) National Competition, People’s Choice Award

• The University Medal for Excellence in a Thesis Based Master’s Program

• The 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) Eastern Regional Competition (First Place)

• The Canadian Psychological Association Certificate of Academic Excellence Award

“To be listed as a finalist for an award of this distinction is a remarkable honour on its own,” said Dr. Richard Marceau, vice-president (research), Memorial University. “Kirk's contribution to research at Memorial is outstanding, and his work in the Department of Psychology is garnering much national and international recognition, so it is no surprise he would be considered for such a prestigious award.”

The Annual Impact Awards recognize the highest achievements from outstanding researchers, students and research partners in social sciences and humanities research, research training, knowledge mobilization and scholarship funded partially or completely by SSHRC. The recipients are selected from post-secondary institutions across Canada, bringing forward the very best ideas and research about people, behavioiur, human thought and culture.

In addition to the Talent Award, SSHRC’s Impact Awards recognizes academic excellence through the Insight Award, the Connection Award, the Partnership Award and the Gold Medal Award, SSHRC’s highest research honour.