Effective partnerships and collaborations are essential to Laurier’s northern research portfolio and our success. Working closely with our partners from government, industry, northern communities and other organizations, Laurier continues to build on its capacity in cold regions and water science research. We are involved in a number of partnerships and initiatives which greatly enhance our ability to conduct cutting-edge research in Canada’s North.
A central pillar of Laurier’ northern research initiatives, the longstanding Government of the Northwest Territories (GWNT)-Laurier Partnership is an expanding collaboration between Laurier researchers and NWT user communities.
Formally established in 2010, the 10-year partnership serves to provide new infrastructure and expertise to the GNWT for environmental research and education. The partnership expands the Territories’ capacity to conduct a range of research, inform policy development and to train the next generation of highly qualified personnel needed to manage the territory in the face of emerging challenges from climate change and the impacts of growth and development.
To date, researchers working under the partnership have secured more than $21 million in operating and infrastructure funding for NWT research, from a range of diverse sources, including: the Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF), Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), ArcticNet, Polar Knowledge Canada, the Cumulative Impact Monitoring Program and the Polar Continental Shelf Program, just to name a few.
The partnership was extended in 2019, with a 2020-2030 partnership agreement. The Government of Northwest Territories and Wilfrid Laurier University Partnership Report contains details of the areas of research activity.
Changing Arctic Network (CANet) is an existing network of 12 living laboratories and 19 supporting sites spread throughout Northwest Canada. These state-of-the-science research stations are coupled with neighbouring towns and villages to facilitate knowledge sharing between scientists and local land users. Research through CANet will support the development of predictive tools and evidence-based policy. CANet is funded by the GNWT, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and Laurier.
Laurier is one of eight university partners in the Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN), a collaborative research network bringing together the unique expertise of a team of over 40 Canadian university and government scientists. Funded for five years (2013-2018) through the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research (CCAR) initiative of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, CCRN aims to understand, diagnose and predict interactions of the cryospheric, ecological, hydrological and climatic components of the changing Earth system, focusing geographically on Western Canada's rapidly changing cold interior. Laurier researchers involved in the core team of the CCRN include Jennifer Baltzer, Phil Marsh, and William Quinton.
In 1975, the International Hydrological Program (IHP) National Committees of the USSR, USA, Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Finland, Norway, and Sweden established the IHP working group on Northern Research Basins (NRB). The Regional Working Group on Northern Research Basins was set up to foster research of river basins in northern latitudes. Iceland joined the working group in 1992 and Russia has since taken over the role of the USSR. A yearly symposium and workshop is held every year in one of the eight member countries and Laurier researchers have long served as Canadian delegates.
In August 2019, the Northern Research Basins international meeting was held in Yellowknife, hosted by the Government of the Northwest Territories (GWNT)-Laurier Partnership and the Cold Regions Research Centre.
The Taiga Plains Research Network is comprised of researchers from academic institutions, partners within the federal and Northwest Territories (NWT) governments, non-governmental organizations and northern community leaders. It strives to conduct relevant world-class research on the Taiga Plains and contribute to capacity building and training in these affected communities. Laurier researchers involved include Jennifer Baltzer and Philip Marsh.
Centered around the Mackenzie River, the Taiga Plains is one of Canada’s ecozones, a region that is classified as having distinct ecological, climate and landscape features. The Taiga Plains region covers a significant area of the Northwest Territories and extends into British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon.
It is ideally suited for the study of permafrost thaw since it covers more than 50% of the NWT continental land mass over a wide latitudinal range, includes a wide range of permafrost characteristics and is home to a large proportion of the NWT’s population. Thus, understanding the implications of permafrost thaw-related changes in this region is critical for successful climate change adaptation planning in the NWT.
The Consortium for Permafrost Ecosystems in Transition (CPET) was formed in 2015 among university researchers, government and local community groups, and industrial partners to address the implications of climate-driven and industrial imposed changes to water resources in the southern Northwest Territories (NWT) and the Northeastern BC border region. Funded by an Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Collaborative Research and Development grant with funding and in-kind support from many partners, including Nexen, Geoscience BC, BC oil and gas research and innovation society (BCOGRIS), Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada (PTAC), GNWT and local First Nations groups, CPET aims to expand scientific knowledge and data on environmental changes occurring over this region to accurately estimate future water availability under varied climate and industrial impact scenarios.
Laurier is an institutional member of ArcticNet, a Network of Centres of Excellence of Canada, based at Université Laval. ArcticNet brings together scientists and managers in the natural, human health and social sciences with their partners from Inuit organizations, northern communities, federal and provincial agencies and the private sector to study the impacts of climate change and modernization in the coastal Canadian Arctic. More than 150 ArcticNet researchers and 1,000 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, technicians and other specialists from 34 Canadian universities, and 20 federal and provincial agencies and departments, collaborate with more than 150 partner organizations in 14 countries.
Laurier is a member of the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS), a group of universities and colleges that works to:
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