April 22, 2021Print | PDF
In her role as a research facilitator at Wilfrid Laurier University, Kumudinie Kariyapperuma works with natural sciences researchers to maximize their chances of securing external grant funding for their research.
“I have been a lecturer, a researcher, an international grad student and a woman in science, so I can relate to the busy schedules, challenges and frustrations of the researchers I work with,” says Kariyapperuma, whose position is supported in part by the Government of Canada’s Research Support Fund. “My understanding helps me better assist Laurier faculty to identify funding opportunities, craft and review their grant applications, and create and implement their long-term research agendas.”
It’s not just the challenges researchers face that Kariyapperuma can relate to; she also shares their passion for scientific inquiry. From a young age, Kariyapperuma has been interested in sustainable development and climate change mitigation. She completed her Master of Science in Agroforestry at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, her home country, before immigrating to Canada in 2004 as a Commonwealth Scholar to complete her PhD in Land Resource Science at the University of Guelph.
“I was, and am, very passionate about mitigating agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and climate change,” says Kariyapperuma, whose PhD thesis focused on agriculture and nitrous oxide emissions. “I have always believed that conservation could not just mean staying away from natural resources because people would be unwilling to do so. But if you use those natural resources sustainably, then you achieve conservation while also servicing the economy. That’s why I got into this field.”
“Research benefits our families, our society and the world. That's what drives us." - Kumudinie Kariyapperuma
Kariyapperuma continues to collaborate on leading-edge research and published her latest paper on carbon modelling in December 2020. Staying active in her scholarship enhances her work at Laurier, as it gives her valuable perspective on the Canadian and global research landscapes. In addition to her career in academia, Kariyapperuma is a mother of two young girls and volunteers for organizations such as Strong Minds Strong Kids, Psychology Canada, Guelph Youth Singers and the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program.
One of the highlights of Kariyapperuma’s time at Laurier was working with Professor Shohini Ghose to successfully apply for the Ontario Chair for Women in Science and Engineering, awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). Under tight time constraints, Kariyapperuma and her colleagues in Laurier’s Office of Research Services helped Ghose refine her application, secure industry partners and prepare her for the Chair interview.
“Shohini was so enthusiastic in applying for this opportunity and I was really happy that she was recognized with the NSERC Chair,” says Kariyapperuma. “I was delighted not only for Shohini herself, but for all women researchers in science and engineering.”
Whether applying for a national chair or a small grant, Kariyapperuma is deeply invested in the success of all Laurier researchers. Her collegial spirit helps her find joy in her many pursuits.
“I am a person who feels happy when I see someone else is happy,” says Kariyapperuma. “When a grant applicant is successful, that makes me happy. When I help a family or individual file their tax return and they are excited, that makes me happy. I do all of these things because I find joy in helping others.”
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