Lakehead University included in the Queen Elizabeth II Scholars Program

March 27, 2017 – Thunder Bay, ON

Lakehead University is one of 23 Canadian universities to be included in the new Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholars Program.

An award of $660,000 has been granted to Drs. Brian McLaren and Chander Shahi of Lakehead’s Faculty of Natural Resources Management in collaboration with Drs. Charles Levkoe and Mirella Stroink in the University’s Faculty of Health and Behavioral Sciences.

Their project is entitled “Agrobiodiversity, Nutrition and Sustainable Marketing of Heritage Crops in Ecuador and Canada,” and is part of an extended collaboration with Dr. Liette Vasseur of Brock University, and ESPOCH, a partnered Ecuadorian university with Lakehead since 2015.

 "Our goal in supporting eight or more Queen Elizabeth II Advanced Scholars with this grant is to increase the international and cultural exchange opportunities in research at Lakehead University,” said Dr. McLaren.

“Researchers will learn how small-scale farming can be supported via market innovations to provide social, economic, ecological, and health benefits. More diverse farms and agroforestry make better use of marginal soils, irrigation, fertilizers, and pest control, and can produce a wider range of products, including organic and traditional food sources,” Dr. McLaren said.

Nationally, more than 450 researchers at the doctoral, postdoctoral and early-career levels will undertake global research, contributing to improved global talent exchange between Canada and other nations.

This expanded second round of the Queen Elizabeth Scholars is the result of a $10 million contribution by Canada’s International Development Research Centre and a $2.5 million contribution from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. This additional funding has allowed the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program to expand its reach to more low- and middle-income countries, and fund researchers at multiple stages of their careers to become the next generation of innovative leaders and community builders.

The Lakehead University project is built on the mandate of the community-based, ESPOCH partner EkoRural, which is to strengthen biodiversity in rural communities, while promoting market innovations. The resulting Alternative Food Networks have a context in Northwestern Ontario, as they seek to bridge rural and urban concerns on food production and consumption in a way that increases resilience and adaptability to expected climate change. Local partners include the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station, KBM Resources Group, and the Local Organic Food Co-ops Network.

Dr. Andrew Dean, Lakehead's Vice-President, Research and Innovation, said the researchers are doing excellent work and he is glad the University is receiving this recognition.

“Congratulations to Drs. McLaren, Shahi, Levkoe and Stroink for being named participants in the Queen Elizabeth II Scholars program. Opportunities such as the QES will continue to enhance our international research reputation.”

For a complete list of the winning proposals, please visit Details of the Queen Elizabeth Scholars’ travel and research are also shared on the #QEScholars tagboard.

The Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholars Program is managed through a unique partnership between Universities Canada, the Rideau Hall Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada and Canadian universities. It is made possible with financial support from the International Development Research Centre and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

The Queen Elizabeth Scholars program aims to activate a dynamic community of young global leaders across Canada and the Commonwealth to create lasting impacts both at home and abroad through cross-cultural exchanges encompassing international education, discovery and inquiry, and professional experiences. To learn more visit




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Lakehead University has about 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. In 2016, for the second consecutive year, Re$earch Infosource ranked Lakehead first among Canada’s undergraduate universities. Visit