Lakehead University receives funding for research partnership development

Lakehead University researchers are receiving $384,374 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for several research projects that will have an impact in various areas of Ontario.

Some of these projects will establish a network of collaborative campus-based “living laboratories” to examine issues of importance to people and their environments in the Lake Superior watershed, and use Indigenous research methodologies to develop new understanding of children’s self-regulation and literacy development.

Dr. Charles Levkoe, Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Food Systems and Associate Professor in Health Sciences at Lakehead University, is leading a partnership that will receive $188,106 over the next three years.

These community-campus collaborations will explore how postsecondary institutions might play a stronger role in advancing sustainability goals (including health and social and environmental justice) in the Lake Superior Watershed by turning higher education institutions into hubs for interdisciplinary “living laboratories” that integrate teaching, research, place-based experiential learning, and community engagement.

The project brings together three universities to serve as hubs (Lakehead University, University of Minnesota Duluth, Algoma University) and numerous community organizations and First Nations as partners through the new Lake Superior Living Labs Network. More information is available at livinglabs.lakeheadu.ca.

These partners are all situated on the Lake Superior watershed and are already pursuing projects that tackle social and environmental problems. The Lakehead Superior Living Labs Network will lead to greater collaborations between these organizations, and more integrated, systemic and impactful solutions to shared questions around water, land, climate, energy, and community and individual wellbeing in the region.

Dr. Sonia Mastrangelo, Associate Professor in Education (Orillia) and co-investigator Dr. Meridith Lovell-Johnston are receiving $196,268 to spend three years using Indigenous research methodologies to develop new knowledge and understanding of self-regulation practices and literacy development, in partnership with the Kwayaciiwin Education Resource Centre (Monika Orzechowska) in Sioux Lookout and the Self Regulation Institute (Dr. Lisa Bayrami). Self-regulation is a framework for understanding stress and managing tension in order to cope with the challenges of daily life.

Being able to self-regulate is crucial to healthy child development including mental health, learning, resilience, and caring relationships in families, schools and communities. When self-regulation is compromised, so is literacy development.
Literacy rates in the north are lower than provincial averages and there are a rising number of students dealing with mental health challenges that impact academic achievement. This project will investigate whether promoting self-regulation through culturally appropriate techniques such as storytelling will help to improve well-being, literacy outcomes and overall school success. The research study adopts a holistic approach, engaging teachers, children and community members.

“Thank you to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for funding these important projects,” said Dr. Andrew P. Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation. “They will provide new opportunities for collaboration and unique opportunities for student involvement and will also have a direct impact on wellbeing in Ontario.”

Funding from SSHRC also generates support from the federal Research Support Fund to offset the indirect costs of research incurred by universities.

In 2018/19, Lakehead University will receive nearly $2 million in assistance from the Research Support Fund to support the indirect costs of research, which includes costs for supporting the management of intellectual property, research and administration, ethics and regulatory compliance, research resources, and research facilities.

Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2019 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities and in 2018 Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the fourth consecutive year. Visit www.lakeheadu.ca.

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