Suzuette Soomai, Interdisciplinary PhD student with the EIUI initiative, has been named a recipient of a Michael Smith Foreign Study grant by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Suzuette currently holds a prestigious three-year Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) from SSHRC. The Michael Smith Foreign Study grant will support her research to be conducted at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, Rome, Italy. FAO is a formal partner with the EIUI research initiative at Dalhousie University.
Suzuette’s doctoral research is advancing understanding of the science-policy interface by examining the role of scientific information in policy development for bycatch management by three interrelated fisheries management organizations, namely, FAO, the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), and the Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Suzuette will pursue an internship at the FAO headquarters in Rome this summer, where she will employ a research design also used to collect data at NAFO headquarters, and within DFO. She will interview key personnel involved in the bycatch policy-making process; conduct direct observations at meetings, such as the international Committee on Fisheries meeting; and complete content analysis of relevant documents and publications.
Data collected during the internships will be used to develop information pathway models; network maps of the actors in information production, dissemination, and use; and a methodology for assessing information use. It is expected that the research findings will be applicable to decision-making about other environmental issues and across a range of organizations. In the current climate of economic constraints and public fiscal accountability, her findings may have immediate applicability by governmental organizations with regard to the deployment of resources for the timely production of scientific information for decision making activities.