Our Changing World is the theme of this year’s Research and Innovation Week being held virtually by Lakehead University

February 25, 2021 – Thunder Bay and Orillia, Ont.

Lakehead University’s 16th annual Research and Innovation Week will be held from March 1 to 5 and this year it’s virtual, meaning you can enjoy all of the festivities from the comfort of your home.

This year’s theme is Our Changing World. We've all heard the catch-phrases: In these unprecedented times, we are all in this together, to try to flatten the curve, while adjusting to a new normal.

Our world is changing. Living through a global pandemic has radically changed so much of our daily lives. We look to scientists, political leaders, artists, and intellectual thinkers for direction, as they work tirelessly to improve health and well-being, drive us toward social equity, and aid us in discerning fact from fiction.

These are uncertain times, but as we pivot in these uncharted waters, we look to research and innovation to help us understand and appreciate this new world.

With this year's Research and Innovation Week being virtual, Lakehead’s researchers and guest speakers are ready to showcase research and innovation excellence and the positive impact it has on Our Changing World.

This year Lakehead University invites you to attend some or all of the following events.

Research and Innovation Week will begin on Monday, March 1 at 11:20 am with the Opening Ceremonies and keynote talk with Bob McDonald, host of CBC's Quirks and Quarks. In his talk, Surviving the Third Millennium, McDonald will discuss global issues facing us now and in the future such as climate change, water supply issues, droughts, floods, and energy shortage. 

Can we engineer our way through another thousand years of civilization? MacDonald says yes, and Canada is in a position to lead the way.

At 7 pm on Monday, Lakehead’s Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies will host a talk by Dr. Herman Pontzer, Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Research Associate Professor of Global Health at Duke University, called Hotter and Sicker: Climate Change, Human Health, and the Tangled Evolutionary Roots of Our Species' Dependence on External Energy.

Dr. Pontzer’s talk will describe the dual crises of climate change and chronic, or non-communicable, disease, which have emerged worldwide as the global economy has industrialized over the past two centuries. 

In this discussion, Dr. Pontzer will examine humans’ dependence on external (non-metabolic) energy expenditure (e.g., fire, fossil fuels) as a common, root cause in these modern crises.

There will also be a series of 10 research showcase presentations exploring How Research is Contributing to the Achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

This includes a keynote panel discussing the Role of Research as an Agent of Climate Action Initiatives, moderated by Dr. Andrew P Dean, Vice-President Research and Innovation, with panelists, Dr. Adam Cornwell, Department of Geography, Dr. Ellen Field, Faculty of Education, Dr. Lindsay Galway, Canada Research Chair in Social-Ecological Health, Ledah McKeller, Sustainability Coordinator, Lakehead University, and Summer Stevenson, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Thunder Bay, from noon until 1:30 pm on Tuesday, March 2.

In the same speaker series, Dr. Todd Randall, Dean of Science and Environmental Studies, will moderate a panel discussion called Turtle Conservation in Ontario: Challenges and Opportunities in a Rapidly Changing World.

Happening on Tuesday, March 2 from 1:45 to 3:15 pm, this discussion will feature panelists Tricia Robins, Park Ecologist, Parks Canada - Bruce Peninsula National Park; Sara Solaimani, Public Outreach Education Officer, Parks Canada - Georgian Bay and Ontario East Field Unit; Dr. Stephen Hecnar, Professor and Researcher, Department of Biology, Lakehead University; Dr. Linda Rodenburg, Director, Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning, Lakehead University.

On Wednesday, March 3 from 7 to 8:30 pm, Dr. Linda Ford will describe Mirrwana and Wurrkama Theory: an Indigenist Research Methodology, as part of Lakehead University's Indigenous Speaker Series.

Mirrwana and Wurrkama Theory: an Indigenist Research Methodology describes her life’s work in social science, humanities, and the educational discipline field. Dr. Ford has practiced in community service, research, teaching and learning.

This seminar will highlight key areas that include Australian Aboriginal engagement, Indigenist research background, an Aboriginal methodology, Mirrwana and Wurrkama theory.

Dr. Ford is a Traditional Owner Rak Mak Mak Marranunggu woman from Kurrindju. She is from Kurrindju in the Finniss River and Reynold River regions southwest of Darwin in the Northern Territory, Australia.

She is an Associate Professor and a Principal Research Fellow in the Northern Institute in the College of Indigenous Futures, Arts and Society located in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.

There will also be two virtual art tours hosted by Dr. Pauline Sameshima, called Arts to Change the World!, happening Monday, March 1 and Wednesday, March 3, from 5 to 6 pm. Dr. Sameshima is a Professor in the Faculty of Education, Canada Research Chair of Arts Integrated Studies, and curator of GALLERIES@LAKEHEADU.

Please join Lakehead in launching its internationally juried art exhibition focused on the theme of Our Changing World! Select artist talks from the juried exhibition will happen on both days and some of the featured artists will share their projects.

Throughout the week, IGNITE will showcase four research stories through short videos launched on Lakehead’s social media platforms at 1 pm each day.  Like and share these videos for a chance to win daily prizes.

The Research & Innovation Awards of Excellence Ceremony will be held on Thursday, March 4 from 5 - 6:30 pm in a virtual format.  During the reception, Lakehead celebrates its outstanding researchers and students, as well as acknowledges its valued research partners and sponsors’ contributions.

Register now at lakeheadu.ca before spaces fill up.




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Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8177 or mediarelations@lakeheadu.ca.


Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked, once again, among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean’s 2021 University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2020 World Universities Rankings for the second consecutive year, and 98th among 766 universities from around the world in THE's 2020 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.