Skip to main content Skip to local navigation

Canada announces $6.1M for York-led international research collaborations

Canada announces $6.1M for York-led international research collaborations

Media Release from June 3, 2024

Three New Frontiers in Research Fund-International grants, with additional $3.2 million from partner countries, to support climate change adaptation and mitigation research in Global South, Scandinavia and Canadian Arctic

Today, the Canadian government announced the 2023 results of the New Frontiers in Research Fund grants (NFRF), including $6.1 million for three York University-led research collaborations that will focus on how vulnerable communities – including those in Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, Kenya, the Philippines, Rwanda, Scandinavia, and Canada’s Arctic region – could mitigate or adapt to climate change.

“Climate change and its various economic and social impacts are observed globally. By supporting game-changing interdisciplinary research and fostering international collaboration for innovative projects, our government is committed to finding innovative solutions that could have a significant impact on some of the world’s most vulnerable populations,” said National Revenue Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, announcing $60 million allocated across 32 research teams through the International Joint Initiative for Research in Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Competition, during an event at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Research funders from Brazil, Germany, Norway, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, collaborated on the initiative. Together, more than $30 million in additional funding was contributed to the research projects by the international funders, according to a Canada Research Coordinating Committee news release.

“Today’s funding announcement highlights our country’s commitment to support international research collaborations led by Canadian academic leaders like York University researchers who engage in incredibly important global projects,” says Amir Asif, York University’s vice-president research and innovation. “I thank Canada and other funding partner countries for their support, and I commend York’s research community for their continued commitment to tackling the most significant threat to our planet and the future of humanity, climate change.”

The projects will examine how changing sea ice and snow conditions in Northern Canada and Alaska are affecting the lives of Indigenous Peoples; how coastal communities in Bangladesh, Ghana and the Philippines can be negatively affected by climate change adaptation programs; and how support for good governance practices can halt biodiversity decline and accelerate nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation in Central America and East Africa.

BioCAM4 – Biodiversity Integration in Climate Adaptation and Mitigation Actions for Planet, People, and Human Health:

Professor Idil Boran, an expert in applied environmental governance and public policy in the Department of Philosophy and a Faculty Fellow at York’s Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health, has secured $3.1 million as the principal investigator and lead for the consortium project. This includes $1.6 million in grants from German Research Foundation and UK Research Innovation – Economic and Social Research Council (UKRI).

The objective of the project is to develop methodologies for mapping Nature-based Climate Action trends worldwide and assessing local opportunities and challenges through deep-dive studies in two biodiversity hot-spot regions: East Africa and Central America, where vulnerable groups and communities are among the most affected by climate impacts, least responsible for it, and have reduced adaptive capacity due to social and economic fragility.

In partnerships with research institutes, non-governmental organizations, and universities in Kenya, Rwanda, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Germany, Netherlands, and the UK, the team will work on outputs to serve as a blueprint for counterparts facing similar risks within low- and middle-income countries. With open-access global databases, toolkits and policy-engagement processes rooted in open and collaborative science principles, the project will generate resources for researchers and practitioners worldwide.

University Professor Dawn Bazely, an ecologist with extensive experience in interdisciplinary research and science policy who served as the director of the Institute for Research Innovation in Sustainability, is the co-principal investigator from York University. Other York researchers on the project’s core team are Faculty of Health Professor Tarra Penny and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Professor Angele Alook. Environmental and Urban Change Professor Felipe Montoya-Greenheck, director of York’s Las Nubes Eco-campus in Costa Rica, is one of the collaborating partners.

Climate Change Adaptation, Dispossession and Displacement: Co-constructing Solutions with Coastal Vulnerable Groups in Africa and Asia:

Migration and critical health psychology scholar, Professor Michaela Hynie, in the Department of Psychology who conducts community-based research in both conflict and environment induced forced migration, will receive $3.1 million, including $1.4 million from the Research Council of Norway (RCN) and UKRI for the project, as its principal investigator. Professor Yvonne Su in the Department of Equity Studies is a co-principal investigator. She is an interdisciplinary migration and international development scholar and the incoming director of York’s Centre for Refugee Studies, which will host the project.

In partnership with research institutes, universities, and community organizations in Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Norway, Philippines and the UK, the project will focus on gendered processes of displacement, dispossession, and other unintended negative impacts of climate-adaptation projects. Focusing on coastal communities of Bangladesh, Ghana and the Philippines, the team will collaboratively develop an intersectional framework for adaptation and build community-centred interventions to avoid maladaptation.

The team will also co-develop low-tech, mobile phone applications and virtual platforms for communities to share and document their knowledge, strategies, innovations and concerns with one another. These tools can help in sharing local community responses, as well as informing future programming and supporting a collaborative, intersectional, contextualized and equitable framework for adaptation.

Climate changed transportation: holistic and Indigenous informed responses to transportation infrastructure, food security and community well-being in the Arctic:

As the principal investigator, York Research Chair in Global Change Biology Professor Sapna Sharma, the inaugural director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research Global Water Academy, whose research interest is in predicting the effects of environmental stressors – such as climate change, invasive species and habitat alteration – on lakes, will receive nearly $3.1 million for the project.

The project will co-develop adaptation measures and technological solutions to decrease the frequency of drownings and accidents in response to hazardous cryospheric conditions for Arctic Indigenous communities, and promote enhanced mobility and food security, in addition to physical and mental health. The main goals of the researchers are to map and forecast safe cryospheric conditions across the Arctic and explore observational and modelling tools to enhance Indigenous capacity in stewarding their land.

With a vision of empowerment, unity and resilience in the face of complex challenges, the research team will co-create knowledge mobilization products for promoting knowledge exchange across generations and communities by transcending transdisciplinary research and community boundaries across the Arctic.

Professor Usman Khan, in York’s Department of Civil Engineering, who studies water resources engineering focusing on research areas including sustainable water-resource management and infrastructure and the impacts of climate change on these systems, and Professor Neil Tandon in the Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, whose climate-dynamics research has helped to clarify the physical processes driving long-term changes in the atmospheric circulation, with implications on Arctic sea ice motion, are co-applicants on the grant.

Share this: