Aller au contenu

Best Doctoral Thesis Award

The Best Doctoral Thesis Award acknowledges the excellence of a doctoral thesis in each of the three major research areas: Natural sciences and engineering, health sciences and arts, and humanities and social sciences.

The evaluation criteria are contribution to the advancement of knowledge (originality and significance), recognition of research value in the discipline(s), and potential for a career in research.

2021 Recipients

Isabelle Dufour

Medicine and Health Sciences

Keeping seniors out of the emergency room... for their own good!

This is the fifth time this year that Yvonne, 71, has gone to the emergency room for breathing difficulties. Each time, the medical team feels like they are putting out a fire. If only the elderly patient was closely monitored by the right resources, her condition would be much more stable!

In the jargon, Yvonne is a "major geriatric user of emergency services". These people, of whom there are many in Quebec, make their health condition more fragile because of the lack of continuity in the care they receive. They also overload the health care system.

For her thesis, doctoral student Isabelle Dufour studied the problem. Under the direction of professors Catherine Hudon, Nicole Dubuc and Maud-Christine Chouinard, she analyzed some 260,000 files of seniors whose health condition is conducive to ambulatory care. This in-depth analysis enabled her to divide this geriatric clientele into five profiles, a classification that helps to better understand their needs and the resources that can be useful to them.

This thesis is of great scientific value and marks the starting point for a new way of planning geriatric care. The relevance of the study, the rigor of execution and the quality of the writing are all qualities attributed to this work. No wonder this young researcher's expertise is already in demand!

The Université de Sherbrooke is proud to award Isabelle Dufour the Award for the Best Doctoral Thesis in the Medicine and Health Sciences category.

Michel-Alexandre Rioux

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Youths under the Director of Youth Protection: sports to prevent slippage

Aggression, violence, theft... conduct disorders are likely to appear in many young people who are under the responsibility of the Director of Youth Protection. What if there was an effective and active way to promote their rehabilitation?

Michel-Alexandre Rioux's multidisciplinary and innovative thesis proposes sports as a means of intervention for young people with disruptive behaviours. Under the supervision of Professor Catherine Laurier and Professor Miguel Terradas Carrandi, the doctoral student surveyed and analyzed scientific literature in order to better understand the benefits of sport on their behaviour. He also conducted a field study based on an ice hockey activity. All of his work led to a better understanding of the rehabilitation process of young people, while emphasizing the importance of considering their context and their singular experience.

The doctoral student, who wrote his thesis in the form of four scientific articles, each at different stages of the project, stands out for his use of various research paradigms and methods.

With an excellent potential as a popularizer and already world-class publications in the bank, Michel-Alexandre will certainly continue to make a name for himself.

 The Université de Sherbrooke is pleased to award him the 2021 Best Doctoral Thesis Award for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences category.

Joanie Van de Walle

Engineering and Natural Sciences

When protecting cubs puts an entire species at risk

The devastating effect of intensive hunting evokes poignant images, like those of trawlers emptying the oceans with their giant nets. The sight of a mother bear wandering peacefully with her cubs obviously does not arouse the same feeling of indignation. And yet!

For her thesis under the direction of Professor Fanie Pelletier, Joanie Van de Walle studied the maternal behavior of Scandinavian brown bears. She wanted to know if human activity, mainly hunting, could influence reproductive strategies in the wild.

Her research revealed a surprising fact: where regulations prohibit the killing of bears accompanied by their cubs, females adopt reproductive behaviors that go against natural selection. Indeed, to avoid being in the sights of hunting rifles, mothers keep their cubs with them longer and even avoid males during the reproduction period! The interval between birth cycles is therefore longer, which has an impact on the total population of this species.

By revealing this indirect effect of hunting on animal behavior, Joanie is making a major contribution to the knowledge of wildlife evolution and management. Her thesis also demonstrates excellent statistical analysis skills and uncommon scientific maturity. This solid communicator is resolutely dedicated to a prolific career.

The Université de Sherbrooke is honoured to present Joanie Van de Walle with the Best Doctoral Thesis Award in the Engineering and Natural Sciences category.