The Canadian Sleep Society recently awarded the 2013 Distinguished Scientist Award to Dr. Joseph De Koninck, professor at the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa. This award is in recognition of a scientist who has made significant contributions to the field of sleep research in Canada.
Dr. De Koninck has been involved in sleep and dream research for 40 years now. On the sleep side, his main interests and contributions have been on sleep and learning/memory, sleep motility and positions, biological rhythms and sleep including napping, and sleep disorders particularly insomnia. On the dreaming side, he has studied the socio-cultural, personality, developmental and gender determinants of dreams. His main contributions have been however focused on dreams and adaptation to stress and more recently, nightmares and their treatment. This work was carried out mainly in the context of the supervision of more than 15 doctoral students and more than 100 Honours and Masters Theses. He has also been visiting professor and scholar in several sleep laboratories, notably at the Université de Montpellier (France), the University of California at San Diego, the University of Arizona (Tucson), the University of Adelaide (Australia) and the University of Florence (Italy). He has served the sleep community as President (1999-2002) and Past-President (2002-2005) of the Canadian Sleep Society. During his tenure as President, Ottawa hosted the first conference of the Canadian Sleep Society.
Dr. De Koninck has been a professor of Psychology at the University of Ottawa since 1972 and is currently Emeritus Professor. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association, and was its Honorary President in 1996-97. In 2002, he was recipient of the Prix Adrien Pinard of the Société Québécoise pour la recherche en Psychologie. In 2007 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His administrative positions have included that of Director of the School of Psychology and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences (1978-1987 and 1993-1994. He was Vice-Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research between 1987 and 1990, and Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies from July 1994 through 2004. During the later period, he has served as Vice-President (1996), President (1997) and Past President (1998-1999) of the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) and as Chair of the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies (2001-2002). He is currently also Visiting professor at the University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research and Chair of the Scientific Committee of Montfort Hospital in Ottawa.