For the second year in a row, a postdoctoral researcher at University of Northern British Columbia has received a prestigious national research award.
Dr. Vanessa Sloan Morgan is the recipient of a 2017-18 Banting Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The award provides $70,000 a year for up to two years of research.
Sloan Morgan's project, entitled Inheritors of the Future: Community-Driven Voices of Youth Contemplating Resource Extraction of Indigenous and Northern Geographies in British Columbia, will examine how youth visions can address the long-term and cumulative impacts of resource extraction on rural and northern communities.
"This project is about highlighting the knowledge and experience that youth bring to the table, and my role, as I see it, is pulling that out and sharing it in a way driven by youth," she said. "I want to find avenues that can create the best space in which to have these conversations where youth can have key conversations with decision-makers and be heard in meaningful ways.
"In research literature to date, there hasn't been much attention on rural youth engagement and decision-making regarding large scale resource extraction," she added. "But at the same time, youth are knowledgeable and influential, and they are going to be the ones inheriting the decisions that are made today."
She is the third UNBC postdoctoral researcher to receive the fellowship. Dr. Maya Gislason was the first recipient in 2013 and worked with Dr. Margot Parkes. Dr. Alison Gerlach received her fellowship in 2017, working with First Nations Studies and Education Professor Dr. Margo Greenwood.
"Post-doctoral research fellows are an important part of our university community, helping to further expand our research capacity in innovative and exciting directions," said UNBC President Dr. Daniel Weeks. "The work that Dr. Sloan Morgan is pursuing with Northern youth from Indigenous and rural areas will not only have an impact on communities in our region but also across the country and around the world."
UNBC Geography Associate Professor Dr. Sarah de Leeuw and Health Sciences Associate Professor Dr. Margot Parkes will co-supervise Sloan Morgan's fellowship. Both are also associate professors with the Northern Medical Program, a distributed site of UBC's Faculty of Medicine MD Undergraduate Program, delivered in partnership with UNBC.
In all, 70 Banting Fellowships were awarded across Canada.