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By Jeff Green

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) is investing more than $700,000 into research focused on areas ranging from Indigenous science to better understanding sport officials’ mental health.

Projects are led by researchers based in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, School of Social Work and the Faculty of Education.

The investments come from several SSHRC programs such as Insight Grants, Partnership Development Grants and Aid to Scholarly Journals.

The funding was announced on June 16.

‘Meaningful partnerships’

“We live in a complex society and it is crucial to continue advancing critical knowledge of our ever-changing world,” said Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research).

“Through investments by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, our teams will be able to make new discoveries, create meaningful partnerships with community members and showcase their expertise to the world. I thank our federal partners for this support and congratulate our latest recipients on securing their funding. I look forward to the outcomes of their work.”

‘Long-lasting community’

Dr. Max Liboiron is seen wearing a black shirt, black vest and glasses.
Dr. Max Liboiron
Photo: Submitted

Dr. Max Liboiron, associate professor, Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, is receiving a major SSHRC Insight Grant, valued at $398,458 for the project, A pluriverse of Indigenous sciences.

“The primary goal of the research is to articulate the main tensions and innovations of using Indigenous quantitative methodologies in academic, Western-dominated spaces,” Dr. Liboiron told the Gazette.

“Many Indigenous scientists are already doing this work, but it isn’t published or shared widely because it’s usually considered to be outside of proper scientific methods — bringing in the methods and habits of the social sciences is a way to open that up.”

The project team will analyze two intersecting spheres of Indigenous methodologies: everyday practices of doing science and collectives. Dr. Liboiron says while these areas are not separate, they allow the team to investigate Indigenous methodology at two scales.

“Ninety-five per cent of the funding from this award will go directly to students, staff and Elders, which is truly necessary for building a long-lasting community around Indigenous approaches to quantitative research,” they noted.

“You need an intergenerational cohort like this to disrupt colonial pathways of knowledge creation.”

Building strategies

Wearing a wine-coloured dark and tie, Dr. David Hancock smiles.
Dr. David Hancock
Photo: Submitted

Dr. David Hancock, associate professor, School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, is receiving a Partnership Development Grant valued at $187,414 for the project, Exploring sport officials’ mental health.

Research has shown that sport officials – such as referees, judges and umpires — experience common mental health disorders, including alcohol abuse, eating disorders and anxiety. In fact, 30 per cent of them quit each year and 80 per cent of new sport officials quit within three years.

“We are losing far too many sport officials every year and without immediate intervention, we’ll reach a point where youth sport competitions are cancelled due to the lack of qualified officials,” Dr. Hancock told the Gazette during an interview.

As part of his research, he will collaborate with members of the sporting community and other researchers to build strategies to improve mental health.

“The biggest focus is understanding the stressors sport officials feel that influence their mental health, along with strategies they use to cope with those stressors,” Dr. Hancock noted.

“We are partnering with several provincial and national organizations on this grant, through which, we hope to learn about organizational strategies or interventions that can be enacted to improve sport officials’ mental health.”

Journal support

Three researchers are also receiving SSHRC’s Aid to Scholarly Journals grants. They are:

A number of other Memorial researchers are co-applicants, collaborators and partners on other projects.

SSHRC is the federal research funding agency that promotes and supports research and training in the humanities and social sciences.

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