Lakehead University professors receiving $470k from SSHRC for important research

October 29, 2021 – Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ont. 

Seven professors at Lakehead University are receiving a total of more than $470,000 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to fund their important research projects.

Dr. Daniel Krupp, Assistant Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies at Lakehead Orillia, is receiving an Insight grant of more than $94,000 to examine inequality and competition.

Dr. Daniel Krupp

“Our research finds that local competition amplifies the effect of inequality on conflict, and that this interaction may occur as a consequence of relative deprivation,” Dr. Krupp said.

“This means that people who are in direct competition with each other will feel greater relative deprivation than those who are competing with a broader swath of the population.”

Dr. Krupp and his team hypothesize that competition – not similarity or fairness – drives relative deprivation.

This project will test their hypothesis by building a series of mathematical models to formalize the effects of inequality, the scale of competition, and similarity on the evolution of conflict.

“With these models, we can study the ways in which similarity foments conflict when it is associated with kinship and the extent of local competition,” Dr. Krupp said.

This research will help bring understanding to the psychology of relative deprivation and be of interest to social scientists, civil servants, and members of the public.

Dr. Lida Fan

Dr. Lida Fan, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Lakehead Thunder Bay, is receiving an Insight Development grant of more than $63,000 to study the Prospect of Upward Mobility hypothesis. This hypothesis assumes that low-income people tolerate inequality in wealthy countries like the US and Canada because of the hope that they, or their offspring, may make it up the income ladder.

“In this research we will cast doubt on the Prospect of Upward Mobility theory by exploring alternative explanations within the Canadian context,” Dr. Fan said.

“The purpose of this inquiry is to reveal whether individuals see upward mobility as unrealistic in many instances, or they see the barriers of upward mobility and limited choices available but have given up the chance to challenge the situation.”

The results of this study may contribute to the understanding of public tolerance toward inequality and redistribution, and offer new information about a comprehensive set of determinants of public attitudes towards inequality in the contemporary Canadian context.

Dr. Ellen Field, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead Orillia, is receiving an Insight Development grant of more than $52,000 to study climate change education practice in Ontario and policy in Canada.

Dr. Ellen Field

“In schools across Canada, teachers decide how they will integrate, discuss, or avoid climate change education on a daily basis,” Dr. Field said, adding that there can be ramifications with how teachers decide to discuss it in class.

Focusing on comprehensive national data on climate change education, this research will provide further depth and context by monitoring the policies of jurisdictional climate change education, such as within the Ministries of Education and school boards across Canada.

Dr. Field and her team, Dr. Paul Berger from Lakehead and Dr. Andrea Drewes from Rider University, will also examine teachers’ personal and professional beliefs on climate change education and how those views inform their decisions about the inclusion/exclusion of climate change content and how they deliver that content.

Researchers will also profile case studies of transformative and transgressive climate change education in Ontario schools.

This research will provide a more holistic picture of teacher practice that accounts for teachers’ beliefs and factors that teachers identify as influencing their integration, or lack of integration, of climate change education. It will also document how climate change education is already occurring in transformative ways in some pockets.

“This will inform policy responses and professional development directions. The research will contribute to scholarship in the emerging field of climate change education internationally and nationally through academic scholarly contributions,” Dr. Field said.

This study will support two graduate assistants completing MEd programs for the full duration of the research. Dr. Field will support the students as full members of the research team and they will participate in all stages of the project.

Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation congratulated each of the researchers and thanked SSHRC for funding these import projects.

“These Insight grants will do exactly what they are intended to do – provide insight into important questions that range from environmental education to inequality to understanding stress for post-secondary students, and everything in between.”

The Research Support Fund is a federal funding program for post-secondary institutions in Canada to support some of the costs associated with managing research funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

In 2020/21, Lakehead University received nearly $2 million in assistance from the Research Support Fund to support the indirect costs of research, which includes costs for supporting the management of intellectual property, research and administration, ethics and regulatory compliance, research resources, and research facilities.

New SSHRC Grants 2020-21

Total amount awarded:  $470,233

Insight Grant (Three-Year Grant)

Dr. Daniel Krupp, Interdisciplinary Studies – Orillia, “Relative Deprivation: Clarifying the Effects of Inequality, Competition, Similarity, and Fairness”, $94,408.

  • Co-applicant:  Dr. Sandeep Mishra, University of Guelph

Insight Development Grants (One- to Two-Year Grants)

Dr. Lida Fan, School of Social Work, “Misconception of the Theory, or the Weak Without a Weapon? Explaining the Puzzle of Public Perceptions on Income Inequality”, $63,655.

  • Co-applicant
    • Dr.  Nazim Habibov, University of Windsor

Dr. Ellen Field, Faculty of Education (Orillia), “Educational Policy and Practice in an Age of Climate Uncertainty”, $52,746.

  • Co-applicant - Dr. Paul Berger, Faculty of Education
    • Collaborator - Dr. Andrea Drewes, Rider University


Dr. Sandra Jeppesen, Interdisciplinary Studies – Orillia, “Counter-mapping COVID: Grassroots Visualizations of Data on the Margins”, $72,995.

  • Co-applicant - Dr. Michael Hoechsmann
  • Collaborators
    • Dr. Emiliano Treré, Cardiff University
    • Dr. Paola Madrid Sartorett, Jönköping University

Dr. Dwight Mazmanian, Department of Psychology, “Gaming, Virtual Competence, and the Virtual Workforce”, $58,360.

  • Co-applicant: Dr. Alexander Serenko, Ontario Tech University (University of Ontario Institute of Technology)

Dr.  Aislin Mushquash, Department of Psychology, “Daily Stress and Coping Among Emerging Adults as They Begin and Finish University: Examining Within and Between Person Patterns Across Time”, $74,430.

  • Co-applicant
    • Dr. Abby Goldstein, University of Toronto
    • Collaborators
      • Cheryl D'Angelo, Lakehead University
      • Irene Pugliese, Lakehead University

Dr. Carlos Zerpa, School of Kinesiology, “Investigating the Nature of ‘Transfer Shock’: What Role does it Play in Postsecondary Education?”, $53,639.






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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 2022 University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2022 World Universities Rankings for the third consecutive year, and in the top 100 of 1,115 universities from around the world in THE's 2021 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit