While it is generally recognized that socio-ecological approaches to Environmental Impact Assessments require social science and humanities perspectives in order to address scientific, technological, managerial, policy, and governance challenges facing assessment processes in Canada, the engagement of expertise from the social sciences and humanities is often lacking. Dr. Ian Stewart, a faculty member in the History of Science and Technology program at the University of King’s College, and EIUI team member, aims to investigate this issue supported by a 2018 Kule Research Cluster Grant, awarded by the Kule Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS) at the University of Alberta.
The $70,000 grant supplies seed money to fund the partnership project, Advancing Environmental Impact Assessment for Canada’s Socio-Ecological Systems, co-led with Dr. Debra Davidson of the University of Alberta. The project aims to create Canada’s first interdisciplinary research network by connecting science and humanities scholars, sources of local knowledge, and governmental and non-governmental organizations across diverse sectors. “This is a great opportunity to harness Canada’s deep expertise within academia across a range of social science and humanities disciplines in a way that is highly relevant to both policy and practice of EAs at federal and provincial government levels,” says Ian. By bridging these diverse groups, Ian and the team of researchers based at several Canadian universities aim to use this uniquely collaborative network to address the increasingly critical ways that Canadian natural resource industries impact global socio-ecological sustainability.
Since it began in 2010, KIAS’s research grants have been dedicated to funding the research activities of over 225 interdisciplinary academic teams and their collaborative projects and has provided over $2.1 million in support for endeavors with the potential for national and international excellence.