Pushing the Boundaries of Possibility:
November 23, 2006
Source: Memorial University of Newfoundland
Dr. Jeffrey Pittman’s pioneering research looks at how the trend toward more environmental disclosure could impact companies’ financial standing. Linguist Dr. Yvan Rose is spearheading the development of innovative software that will make crucial data available to those working in speech disorders and language acquisition around the world.
Their fields may be dramatically different, but the Memorial University researchers do have one thing in common – they were both recognized with Petro-Canada Young Innovator Awards. The awards, each worth $25,000, will advance their ground-breaking research.
Creating shareholder value
Dr. Jeffrey Pittman, a professor in the Faculty of Business, studies what investors most value on financial statements. He is conducting research into Canadian natural resource firms that now provide environmental disclosure in their financial statements; the goal is to estimate the impact on the credit ratings of public debt issues.
Dr. Pittman believes the research will interest both managers and academics by identifying how firms can lower their borrowing costs through environmental reporting.
"As a relatively new scholar, I deeply appreciate Petro-Canada’s support of my research," Dr. Pittman said. "This award will provide essential resources to help me analyze the impact of environmental reporting on firms’ financing costs."
Advancing our understanding of speech
Dr. Yvan Rose is a phonology researcher and linguistics professor. His research explores the cognitive and physiological aspects of speech, and how children acquire language. He says learning to talk is a complex process during which a number of problems can arise that have articulatory, acoustic or cognitive roots.
Using funds from the Young Innovator Award, Dr. Rose is completing the development of a software program, Phon, along with a team of computer science experts at Memorial. The software will power a database called PhonBank that makes it possible for researchers and practitioners to compare disordered speech data with typical adult speech, see quickly where discrepancies are occurring, and explore possible causes. The database will be available internationally and free to use.
"The need is so big for something like this. There has never been a comprehensive computer program to enable phonological and phonetic analysis of speechacquisition," Dr. Rose explained. "I am honoured and grateful that Petro-Canada has seen value in this work. This award will help in its advancement."
"The research undertaken by Dr. Pittman and Dr. Yvan Rose demonstrates the world-class innovation and initiative found at Memorial University," says Petro-Canada’s East Coast Vice-President Bill Fleming. "Their leading-edge work will result in practical value to our province and the global community. We congratulate both award recipients and wish them success in their research projects."
Petro-Canada is a strong supporter of Memorial University. The Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award Program was created in 1995 as part of a $500,000 contribution to its Opportunity Fund campaign. The award recognizes and fosters the work of outstanding and innovative young researchers at Canadian universities, colleges and major research institutes.
Memorial University, the largest university in Atlantic Canada, is committed to teaching, research and community engagement, and while our interests and expertise continue to diversify, we maintain an unwavering commitment to fostering ingenuity to address the challenges that face our province and our country.
Petro-Canada is one of Canada’s largest oil and gas companies, operating in both the upstream and the downstream sectors of the industry in Canada and internationally. The company creates value by responsibly developing energy resources and providing world class petroleum products and services. Petro-Canada is proud to be a National Partner to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Petro-Canada’s common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol PCA and on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PCZ.
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For more information, please contact Ivan Muzychka, manager, communications, Division of Marketing and Communications, Memorial University at 737-8665 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Veronica Curtis, communications advisor, Petro-Canada at 778-3919.