A scientist investigating the effects of climate change on glaciers and an expert on Aboriginal governance and law in the Arctic have been named Tier 2 Canada Research Chairs (CRCs), strengthening research capacity at the University of Northern British Columbia. Associate Professors Brian Menounos (Geography) and Natalia Loukacheva (Political Science) have each been awarded a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) from the Government of Canada. Each award is valued at $500,000 and lasts for five years.
Dr. Menounos, CRC of Glacier Change, studies the past, present and future response of glaciers to climate change in Western Canada and southernmost South America. “Glaciers are important natural resources for many mountain regions on Earth,” says Dr. Menounos. “Support from the CRC program and UNBC will allow us to continue to quantify how glaciers respond to climate, the importance of glacier runoff in Western Canada, and how quickly these ice masses will disappear from our mountains under future climate change.”
Dr. Loukacheva, CRC of Aboriginal Governance and Law, is examining Aboriginal governance and legal - political issues in the Arctic. She looks at different forms and aspects of Aboriginal governance in Northern Canada and other parts of the Circumpolar North, while investigating the scope of self/public governance, Aboriginal peoples’ rights, and related legal and political developments in the Arctic that are key to Aboriginal communities. “Aboriginal peoples’ role in Arctic developments is of the utmost importance in Canada, in and beyond the Circumpolar North. With support from the CRC program and UNBC, it will be possible to further our understanding of issues topical to Aboriginal communities and their governance, including their nexus with law and politics in the North,” says Dr. Loukacheva.
“UNBC is once again affirming its position as a premier research university for its size in Canada and one of only six research-intensive post-secondary institutions in BC,” says UNBC’s Vice President of Research, Ranjana Bird. “With research concentrating on such fundamental Canadian issues as First Nations affairs and the effects of climate change, these appointments reinforce UNBC’s mandate as being in the North, for the North, our mission as Canada’s Green University, and our responsiveness to the needs of industry and communities.”
The CRC program invests $300 million per year to attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and promising minds and is at the centre of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world's top countries in research and development.
This brings to 11 the number of CRCs at UNBC and represents the first time multiple CRCs have been named to the University since 2005, when Drs. Stephen Déry, Russell Dawson, Kevin Hutchings, and Dezene Huber were all named CRCs at UNBC.
UNBC’s other Tier 2 CRCs include Michael Murphy, Margot Parkes, Youmin Tang, and Sarah Gray. In 2011, UNBC Geography Professor Greg Halseth was appointed the University’s first-ever Tier 1 Canada Research Chair. Last year, Sarah Gray, a professor in the Northern Medical Program (NMP) at UNBC, was named the NMP’s first-ever CRC.