UBC receives $3.5M for research into Canada’s oceans, new projects

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Media Release August 27, 2014

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OceanCanada is one of several UBC projects to receive SSHRC funding. Photo: Ian Mauro, OceanCanada.

University of British Columbia researchers have received $3.5 million for new projects related to oceans, language revitalization, community development and more from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC).

Of the funding, $2.5 million will support new research to examine the future health and economic potential of Canada’s oceans.

OceanCanada is a research collaboration between 15 Canadian universities, non-governmental organizations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), and others and is supported by the SSHRC Partnership Grants program. It was one of 14 Partnership Grants awarded nationwide this year and the only one to UBC. The research council grants were announced today by Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology) at Brandon University.

“SSHRC’s support is crucial to advancing our understanding of the future of our oceans, a critical issue for the people of Canada,” says John Hepburn, UBC vice president, research and international.

The six-year project will look at both the challenges and opportunities facing Canada’s oceans and the coastal communities, including Aboriginal communities that depend on them. Previous research from the UBC Fisheries Centre suggests that as ocean’s warm, fish move to colder waters, indicating that more and more fish could move into Canada’s northern waters. Meanwhile stressors like ocean acidification, marine debris and pollution create new challenges for Canadian fisheries and coastal communities.

“Some regions will see new opportunities while others will likely see fewer fish,” says Rashid Sumaila, research director of OceanCanada and a professor in the UBC Fisheries Centre.

OceanCanada will map out possible future scenarios for our coastal communities so we can prepare and plan for the challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.”

The Canadian economy remains closely tied to the oceans: industries working in, on and around the oceans employ about 315,000 Canadians and contribute more than $26 billion a year to the nation’s wealth.

 

Video: OceanCanada Partnership Project

 

Background

Today’s announcement also included funding for 57 new Partnership Development Grants. UBC researchers received almost $1 million to lead five of these projects:

  • Leila Harris, associate professor at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, will lead a water training, education and research project ($200,000)
  • Rita Irwin, associate dean of the Teacher Education Office, will lead a project on mentoring programs for B.C. teachers ($200,000)
  • Hussein Keshani, associate professor in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at UBC’s Okanagan campus, will examine a new Islamic Garden at the Edmonton Devonian Botanic Garden ($198,259)
  • Patrick Moore, associate professor of in the Dept. of Anthropology, will lead a language revitalization project with a Kaska First Nations community ($183,037)
  • Leonie Sandercock, a professor in the School of Community and Regional Planning, will lead a project on using multimedia for community development on Haida Gwaii ($196,737)

Find other stories about: John Hepburn, OceanCanada, Rashid Sumaila, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, UBC Fisheries Centre

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