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‘Pursuit of evidence’

International collaborations receive social sciences and humanities funding

By Jeff Green

New federal funding will allow Dr. Josh Lepawsky to expand his research internationally to fieldwork sites in Mexico, Peru and China, and support graduate students.

The associate professor in the Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, received a $207,617 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) on May 28.

“SSHRC funding is crucial to supporting unfettered, public interest research,” said Dr. Lepawsky, one of five Memorial researchers who received a total of $578,665 in Insight Development Grants.

A number of other members of the Memorial community are part of research teams, as co-applicants or collaborators, who also received SSHRC funding through the agency’s 2017-18 Partnership Development Grants and Partnership Grants: November 2017 Competition Awards.

Dr. Josh Lepawsky
Dr. Josh Lepawsky
Photo: Chris Hammond

“This funding enables the pursuit of evidence no matter where the trails lead,” Dr. Lepawsky told the Gazette. “Without SSHRC funding, none of this would be possible.”

International collaborations

Kirsty Duncan, minister of Science and minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, announced more than $158 million in SSHRC funding for more than 800 research projects across Canada during the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Canada’s largest gathering of scholars.

“Without SSHRC funding, none of this would be possible.” — Dr. Josh Lepawsky

Dr. Lepawsky received his funding for a project titled “Where Is Repair?”, or the WIRE project. He’s investigating the literal and figurative lessons to be learned from asking why maintenance and repair remain relatively invisible to economic geography. His collaborators on the project include researchers from the University of Southern California and Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru.

“The WIRE project asks some relatively straightforward empirical questions and some more complex conceptual ones through case studies of maintenance and repair of information and communication technologies in several field sites,” he explained.

“For example, we want to find out about what sort of job prospects the sector offers, for whom, where, and under what conditions. We also would like to figure out how these technologies stand in for both the dreams of technological futurity as well as the nightmares of social and environmental breakdown signified by electronic waste.”

Inclusive learning focus

Dr. Karen Goodnough, a professor in the Faculty of Education at Memorial, received a total of $71,483 in SSHRC funding for a project titled Science Teacher Educators: Inclusive Perspectives and Practices. Co-applicants include researchers from Memorial, the University of Victoria and the University of Ottawa.

“This research is very important because it provides a means to improve initial teacher education,” said Dr. Goodnough, who received the President’s Award for Outstanding Research in 2016.

Dr. Karen Goodnough
Dr. Karen Goodnough
Photo: Submitted

She’ll be studying the perspectives and practices of science teacher educators, who play a critical role in preparing future science teachers.

“Research in this area is minimal at the moment,” Dr. Goodnough said in an interview with the Gazette.

“This research will inform the pedagogy of science teacher education in Canada and internationally, resulting in future teachers who have the knowledge, skills and dispositions to create inclusive learning environments. This is important for K-12 student success in learning science and for the development of positive attitudes towards science.

“It will enable and encourage youth to pursue science and science-related careers, thus contributing to many facets of society that are informed by science,” Dr. Goodnough added.

Worldwide reputation

Dr. Neil Bose, vice-president (research), says the SSHRC funding allows Memorial researchers to undertake important research focused on issues facing Canada and the world, while forging new international partnerships.

“This latest investment further strengthens Memorial’s global profile as a leader for critical humanities and social sciences research,” said Dr. Bose.

“I congratulate the researchers, co-applicants and collaborators on receiving this latest funding, which is awarded through increasingly competitive processes. I look forward to hearing more about their research.”

The full list of Memorial researchers receiving SSHRC support follows below.

Insight Grants: October 2017 Competition Awards

Faculty of Education

  • Dr. Karen Goodnough, Science Teacher Educators: Inclusive Perspectives and Practices, $71,483

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Dr. Arthur Sullivan, Philosophy, Project: Irony, Logic, and Conversation, $57,591
  • Dr. Alex Marland, Political Science, Project: Crossing the Floor and Crossing Lines: Parliamentarian Party Switching and Media Coverage in Canada, $65,310
  • Dr. Catherine Losier, Archaeology, Project: On the Cod Road: Saint-Pierre et Miquelon and Atlantic Networks of the 17th-19th Century, $176,664
  • Dr. Josh Lepawsky, Geography, Project: Where Is Repair, $207,617

Total: $578,665

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