Congratulations to Dr. Michael Cunningham who has been selected as the next Donald and Sarah Munro Chair in Engineering and Applied Science.

The Donald and Sarah Munro Chair in Engineering and Applied Science Endowment Fund was established by the Estate of Donald Munro (BSc. ’52 – Civil Engineering) to celebrate and support high-quality research in Smith Engineering. This is a prestigious position for faculty, recognizing reputation and scholarship, development of research in their field, and demonstrated teaching and supervision skills.

Dr. Cunningham’s research program over the next five years will focus on two primary areas:

  1. The discovery and development of new materials designed to promote our evolution towards a more sustainable economy; and
  2. Creating new approaches for delivering m-RNA therapeutics using polymer nanoparticles, targeted initially at, but not limited to, respiratory infections.

Both areas are aligned with research priorities in the Stephen J.R. Smith Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science strategic plan “Driving Curiosity Forward” (SA 2.1 Develop research clusters in areas of international leadership and prestige such as sustainability, resilient infrastructure, climate change, biomedical technologies and intelligent systems) as well as the Queen’s Strategic Plan target areas in renewable materials and human health. There will be an overriding emphasis on steering the research in a direction that will enable real world impact to be realized, both in Canada and internationally, consistent with the objectives of Smith Engineering. Equally important is the education of highly qualified personnel (HQP), including undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting researchers from Canada and abroad, who will learn skills and develop the tools to continue benefiting society for decades to come and position themselves to succeed in a rapidly evolving environment.

Dr. Cunningham is also a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and the Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC). He is the winner of the CIC Macromolecular Science and Engineering Award (2022), Professional Engineers Ontario Research and Development Medal (2021), the Queen’s University Prize for Excellence in Research (2020), and co-winner of the NSERC Brockhouse Canada Prize (2019). With over 230 publications in refereed journals and 32 patents or patent applications, he has considerable experience in successfully bringing products to market and delivering real world impact.

As the Donald and Sarah Munro Chair in Engineering and Applied Science, Dr. Cunningham will contribute both nationally and internationally at the frontiers of engineering and applied science research, showing leadership in the development of graduate students and in research excellence.