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The Nasivvik Centre at Trent and Laval Universities Receives $1.76 Million from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research


Professor Chris Furgal to Co-Lead Initiative Designed to Increase Aboriginal Health Research Capacity Among Inuit

Thursday, January 24, 2008, Peterborough

A recent $1.76 million funding announcement by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research will enable the Nasivvik Centre, a research initiative co-directed by Trent and Laval Universities, to develop expertise among Inuit and other young researchers to address health and environmental issues in the far north.

“This grant will be used to strengthen training among graduate students and among Inuit in northern communities to support and direct research in the Arctic,” said Dr. Chris Furgal, a cross-appointed professor at Trent University in environment and resource studies and Indigenous studies and co-director of the Nasivvik Centre. “The goal with these funds is to support students to work with communities, and to fund communities and young Inuit researchers to do their own research to address important environment and health challenges such as climate change, contaminants, and other threats to food and water security and their impacts on health in the north.”

Historically, most, if not all, Arctic research has been directed by southern based scientists and there is a need to support Inuit becoming more engaged in and taking control of research being done in the north, on their land. “The Nasivvik Centre works closely with Inuit leaders, community representatives, and students in both the north and south to move along the spectrum from research on Inuit, to research with Inuit and ultimately to research by Inuit,” explained Professor Furgal.

"This significant project will raise the profile of northern environment and health research and training here at Trent, and will encourage Trent students to become interested in these important topics,” said Dr. James D. A. Parker, associate vice president of research at Trent University. “The Indigenous Environmental Studies Program at Trent is gaining a strong reputation for breaking new ground in the areas of community environmental research and training, and the Nasivvik Centre is an important part of this evolution.”

The establishment of the Nasivvik Centre reflects Trent’s strong connection to the north. In partnership with Laval University, the specific objectives of this new funding are to:

Work with Inuit organizations and communities to identify key research needs and priorities in the areas of food, water, and traditional and natural medicines and remedies;
Establish a fund and process for north-south research mentoring and knowledge exchange between Inuit youth/community members and University-based researchers working on Inuit environment and health issues;
Provide funding for undergraduate and graduate scholarships in the area of Inuit environmental health;
Provide seed-funding for the development of new and innovative research projects involving both communities and University researchers to investigate priority environmental health issues; and to
Support the generation, translation and dissemination of new knowledge via the creation of innovative and accessible resources for arctic researchers and communities.


For further information, please contact Professor Chris Furgal at (705) 748-1011, ext. 7953.