Research Month

Research Month 2018

Below is a glimpse at some of our upcoming events. Questions? Email Nicole MacDougall, Research Administration Officer: Facilitation and Outreach, with any of your research month inquiries.

Research Month 2018 Program
Current version: March 26, 2018

Research Month 2018 Calendar

Cape Breton’s Marine Ecosystems

Live-Streamming Sessions
The following sessions can be viewed through Facebook LIVE. They can be accessed through our Cape Breton University – Research & Graduate Studies Facebook Page.

March 13:    Mountains, Mussels and Fish Genomes ) via the CBU Live-stream YouTube event

March 14:    Cape Breton’s Marine Ecosystems

March 21:    RP Funding Showcase

March 28:    Research from the Ground Up

Sustainability Research at CBU:
Tuesday, March 27 | 2:30pm – 3:45pm | CE 320

Dr. Katherine Jones (Biology): “Top-up thoughts from the Pop-Up Thrift Shop”

A student-run thrift shop would provide multiple benefits to the CBU campus and community by: 1) keeping useful items out of the landfill, 2) providing thrifted household items at affordable prices to our growing numbers of international students, 3) helping our student organizations raise funds for their activities, 4) providing volunteer or paid sales and managerial positions to our students, and 5) bringing the students and CBU community closer together with this social project. As with any new ideas, there have been some challenges to overcome with getting a CBU thrift shop off the ground, so I initially enlisted the Biology Student Society to help with a pilot run of a Pop-Up Thrift Shop and Winter Free-Store on January 15-16, 2018. In this talk, I will briefly present examples of successful university thrift shops and free-stores located at other campuses throughout North America, introduce the background for establishing a combined thrift shop and free-store here at CBU, present some of the stats and interesting findings from our pilot Pop-Up, and make some recommendations to carry this idea forward.

Dr. Bruce Hatcher (Biology): “The relationship between Sustainability and Climate Change Adaptation”

I suggest that the modern concept of sustainability is synonymous with the original concept of stability in ecology, and that there is value in translating ecological theories to inform the development and implementation of sustainable practices during the Anthropocene Climate Change. Central to the idea of stability in an ecological system is negative feedback leading to self-regulation, such that the system stays within defined bounds despite exogenous perturbation and stress. In working towards sustainability in our life practices, we seek to modulate our environments to retain a core quality of life that we know (or think we know) from past experience will keep us comfortable from birth to death, from generation to generation. But, because our long, life time approximates ecological time, we rarely achieve this state of perpetual comfort. Anthropogenic environmental change has greatly upset the relative stability of the ecosystems humans have enjoyed since the Little Ice Age. Modern theories of health in ecological systems focus less on mechanisms that allow them to stay the same in the face of change, and more on the ability to change adaptively such that essential ecosystem functions are retained, even as their components and structures are markedly altered (so called “ecosystem resilience”). As smart animals unable to prevent, or isolate ourselves from increasing, less predictable frequencies and magnitudes of environmental extremes, we might be well-served by redefining the trendy goals of sustainability to align more closely to the more prosaic goals of survival!

Dr. Pat Maher (Communities & Connections): “Cultural Perspectives on Sustainability: Friluftsliv 2.0”

The tradition of friluftsliv is evident across Scandinavia. Scandinavian immigration to Western Canada is also well documented, with a variety of cultural supports to the diaspora well established. This study sought to understand the friluftsliv diaspora in Western Canada and determine whether the connections that individuals and their families have to this uniquely Scandinavian outdoor tradition have any bearing on nature connections in a new ‘place’. Mainstream Canadian outdoor experiences are increasingly ‘managed’ and occur as isolated from, rather than integrated with, daily life. In addition, there are increasing development tensions in the region over pipelines, damns, etc. and these serve to further strain connections to nature for all Canadians.

Dr. Geoff Carre (Psychology): “Environmental Psychology class group projects – lessons learned”

What is the field of Environmental Psychology about? Might class proposals aimed at improving the environment at CBU, or promoting pro-environmental behaviour, have tangible positive effects on our community? The presentation will include a summary of current student proposals in play as we near the end of the first class, and what I have learned about such project-based learning.

Dr. Terry Gibbs and Prof. Tracey Harris (Communities & Connections): “The Sustainability Project: Educating for Community Engagement”
Dr. Barb Glassey (Biology): “Spaces and places: connecting across disciplines”

Keynote: Dr. Imogen Coe  
“Embedding Equity, Delivering Diversity, Saving Science” 
Thursday, March 22 | 1:00pm – 2:30pm | CE 265 (Credit Union Room) 

Despite many years of effort, most recent data (NSERC, Oct 2017 report; NSF Science and Engineering Indicators, 2016) has shown relatively little change in participation and retention rates of women in STEM-educational pathways and careers within the academy.  While there are some small encouraging signs, the low participation rates for women in STEM-based pathways and careers represents a huge loss in earning potential, economic development and empowerment in Canada for women as well as loss in the potential for innovation that is a well documented outcome of increased diversity.   Academia has been particularly resistant to change despite calls from government, funding agencies, industry and business to develop a rich, diverse and STEM-talented workforce.  Other OECD countries have recognized the loss of potential in under-representation and participation of women and have taken different approaches to effecting systemic and long-term change, particularly in academia.  Canada can look to leading practices else where as it builds an evidence-informed, data-driven approach to addressing organizational, institutional, structural and systemic barriers to fully equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM in Canada.  We need leadership from men and women in positions of power and privilege to drive systemic change along with accountability and consequences. Perhaps, most importantly, we need courage.  Data and evidence tell us that embedding equity and delivering on the diversity opportunity by choosing inclusion will ultimately lead to better science.  

Dr. Imogen R. Coe is the founding dean of the Faculty of Science at Ryerson University and a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biology.  She is also an affiliate scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Keenan Research Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital, where her research group studies the biology of drug transport proteins, which facilitate the entry into cells of drugs used in the treatment of cancer, viral infections and parasitic infections.  Dr. Coe is internationally recognized as an advocate for the engagement, retention, recruitment and promotion of girls and women in science. As a Canadian thought leader in this area, she has advised academia, government and industry on best practices to increase equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  She has written about EDI in STEM for publications such as the Globe and Mail, iPolitics and the Huffington Post.  She is also a TEDx speaker and has been invited to give numerous talks to academia, industry and government.  In fall 2016 she was recognized by WXN as one of Canada’s Top 100 Women, in the Trail Blazer category for her advocacy work promoting equity in STEM and in 2017, she was one of the “Canada150 Women” in the best-selling publication of the same name. 

Verschuren Centre Presents: Developing industry solutions and opportunities to grow a sustainable economy
Tuesday, March 20 | 9:00am – 4:00pm | CS 101

The Verschuren Centre was established on a legacy of environmental remediation to bring sustainable industry development to Cape Breton Island.  It is a research, development, and demonstration Centre providing technology development for new industry as well as tech solutions for existing businesses.  The Centre’s work is based on four priority themes: Renewable Energy Production and Storage; Agri-food and Marine Resources Optimization; Aquaculture – production, health and disease mitigation; and Nano-technology Applications. Its many projects are carried out in a collaborative working environment involving over 30 key research personnel — team leads, researchers, students, and administrative staff. An in-depth schedule can be found here.