Lakehead Researchers Receive $2.5 Million in Funding for Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic

(February 25, 2011 – Thunder Bay, ON) Minister Goodyear announced today that Dr. Chris Southcott, together with a team of Lakehead researchers, has been granted $2.5 million to investigate the social, environmental, and economic challenges facing Arctic communities in Canada and the rest of the circumpolar world.

This Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funding comes through its Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI) program. The grant will build on existing SSHRC-funded work on northern communities, to establish an international network of researchers from a broad range of disciplines and organizations including communities, government, the private sector, and non-profit organizations. Contributions from other sources increases the total funding for the project to over $6 million.

This team of Lakehead researchers believes that a new approach to resource development is possible in today's northern communities. With recent changes, including self-government, recognition of land-claims, co-management of resources, and environmental regulation, the arctic region and its communities can manage resource development in ways that improve the health and well-being of northern communities while preserving the region's unique environment.

"The project brings the best northern social science researchers in the world together with northern communities to try and find new ways to ensure that a larger share of the benefits of resource development stay in the North with fewer costs to communities," says team leader Dr. Chris Southcott, Professor of Sociology. "The large number of Lakehead researchers involved in the project shows the clear strength of northern social science research at Lakehead University."

Once the network is established, it will fund a series of research projects around themes of sustainable regions, sustainable communities, sustainable cultures, and sustainable environments. The projects will measure and analyze the impacts of resource development and find ways of assisting Arctic communities to deal with these impacts through a range of new and innovative development and policy tools.

According to Rui Wang, Vice President, Research, Economic Development and Innovation, "This significant funding reflects the research excellence and leadership of Lakehead's researchers in northern community studies. The collaboration between our researchers with researchers in other institutions and a number of community and government partners has been critical in winning this research grant and, more importantly, will also assure the success of this Major Collaborative Research Initiative."

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Media: For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Janine Chiasson, Communications Officer, at 807-343-8177 or Or contact Eleanor Abaya, Director of Communications, at 807-343-8372 or

SSHRC is the federal agency that promotes and supports university-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Through its three funding programs – Talent, Insight and Connection – SSHRC enables the highest levels of research excellence in Canada and facilitates knowledge-sharing and collaboration across research disciplines, universities and all sectors of society.

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 8,280 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit

Last updated February 25, 2011