April 17, 2007 11:39 ET

Northern Research at the Forefront for SSHRC

New grants will invigorate northern social and environmental research

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 17, 2007) - With the advent of International Polar Year (IPY), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) has announced close to $700,000 in grants to support research on Canada's North by academic experts working in collaboration with community and government partners.

The diverse projects will add a human perspective to IPY-sponsored research by examining past and present conditions in Northern communities as well as their potential for social and economic development. Topics range from the impact of Northern issues on foreign policy, to Inuit cultural history, to the economics of sport tourism. Several projects will focus on environmental issues, including Northern perspectives on climate change, social impacts of resource development in the Mackenzie Valley, and management of the Hudson Bay beluga population.

"SSHRC-supported research will improve our knowledge of the history and cultures of the North and its peoples and help chart a path for the future of Arctic and Northern communities," said Chad Gaffield, president of SSHRC. "This new research will enable a better understanding of the unique communities and environment of the North."

The Northern Research Development program was designed to help develop and revitalize Canadian research in and on the North. Since the program's creation in 2003, SSHRC has invested $3.2 million to support research on Northern communities, history, social dynamics and languages.

Seventeen new projects received grants. They involve university researchers from a dozen universities across Canada, as well as partners from federal, provincial and territorial government agencies, professional associations, and Aboriginal governments and organizations.

"The North is vast, the issues affecting it are complex, and its importance not well understood," said Gaffield. "We are pleased to contribute to a growing national and international research effort that acknowledges the cultural, ecological, and geopolitical importance of this vast region."

Visit the SSHRC website ( for a list of successful candidates.

Note to editors: SSHRC is an independent federal government agency that funds university-based research and graduate training through national peer-reviewed competitions. SSHRC also partners with public and private sector organizations to focus research and aid the development of better policies and practices in key areas of Canada's social, cultural and economic life.

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