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Sobey School faculty at 2021 Research Expo

Date Published: March 8, 2021


Saint Mary’s University held its annual Research Expo on March 5, 2021, via Zoom. This year’s online event looked different from the usual in-person expo, but the online format allowed some of the University’s most exciting faculty research to be shared through quick three-minute pitches to the audience.

Four faculty members from the Sobey School of Business were featured in this year’s expo.

Here are some brief snapshots of their research presentations.


Yigit Aydede, Associate Professor of Economics

Mobility and Covid-19 Spread: Why is it so hard to analyze the relationship?


Yigit Aydede

It’s a puzzle governments around the world are seeking to solve as they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic: how effective are mobility restrictions in preventing or slowing the spread of the disease?

Dr. Yigit Aydede and his research team were selected by the Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health Research Coalition to help understand the environmental factors at play in local transmission rates of COVID-19. The study uses data about the positivity rates and mobility changes in Montreal, Toronto, and New York City. Three time-varying metrics – correlation, elasticity and delay – measure the effect of social mobility on the spread.

The project’s methodological framework is the first that can be easily applied to understand the local differences in the efficacy of mobility-related public health policies in fighting COVID-19 transmission.

Read the profile of Dr. Aydede's COVID-19 research on the Research Nova Scotia website.


Claudia De Fuentes, Associate Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Crowding in or crowding out? Analysis of innovation government support for firms located in Canada


Claudia De Fuentes

Dr. De Fuentes’s research examines five Canadian public funding programs, including the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agencies Business Development Program, to answer three questions:

  1. Do public subsidies stimulate additional private investment in innovation for firms in Canada?
  2. What is the connection between firm innovation dynamics and firm financial structure?
  3. What are the effects of government support instruments at different stages – innovation intensity, employment, highly qualified employees

The research is funded by Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. The study examines whether the firms that receive funding are investing in more research and development and whether these funds contribute to job creation, innovation, and new innovative behaviour by the firm.


Daphne Rixon, Associate Professor of Accounting

Measuring SDG Performance in Co-operatives and Credit Unions


Daphne Rixon

Dr. Daphne Rixon’s research seeks to measure the performance of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in co-operatives and credit unions.

The primary goals of the project are to identify which SDGs are most applicable for the co-operative sector and to develop an online repository for the data and to create benchmarks. The secondary goal is to contribute to capacity and knowledge of the national co-operative industry association to support the sector to advance the SDGs in their member co-operatives.

The study uses participatory action research with 16 co-operatives and credit unions, representing small, medium, and large co-operatives. The most relevant SDGs for co-operatives were found to be reduced inequalities, decent work and economic growth, and sustainable cities and communities.

The project developed a list of 50 metrics, which were then narrowed to 25 by participants through an online survey. The next step will be to issue a national survey of co-operatives in Canada to get feedback on the sector-supported 25 metrics. This could serve as an additional nudge for co-operatives to start collecting data and working on improving performance with the SDGs.

Dr. Rixon’s research was recently highlighted in University Affairs magazine.


Ather Akbari, Chair of the Atlantic Research Group on Economics of Immigration, Aging and Diversity

Immigration in Nova Scotia: Who Comes, who stays, who leaves and why?


Ather Akbari

Dr. Ather Akbari’s research is conducted for the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration and examines immigration to Nova Scotia and the factors that lead to success.

The first project report used 2016 Canadian Census data to study general mobility patterns of Nova Scotia immigrants. The second report presented a literature review on mobility motivations of individuals and their location choice. The third and final report analyzes the results of an online survey of immigrants who arrived in Canada during 2011–2018 with either the intention to go to Nova Scotia or who lived in Nova Scotia at some point during the eight-year period.

The study found that economic immigrants who arrive with their families have a greater tendency to stay and establish roots in Nova Scotia. It also highlighted the importance of employer involvement and strong social connectedness in ensuring immigration success.

Read more about the study on the Research and Papers Library page of the Atlantic Research Group on the Economics of Immigration, Aging and Diversity website.

Dr. Akbari's research has also been featured on news.smu.ca.

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