Five UBC SPPGA Faculty Awarded SSHRC Funding for Projects

UBC’s School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA) congratulates professors Rashid Sumaila (SPPGA; Institute for the Ocean and Fisheries), Timothy Cheek (SPPGA; History), Milind Kandlikar (SPPGA; Institute For Resources Environment and Sustainability), Navin Ramankutty (SPPGA; IRES), and Heidi Tworek (SPPGA; History) whose projects were awarded funding through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Partnership Development, Partnership Grants, and Insight Grants.

A total of 44 projects led by UBC researchers have been awarded combined funding of $9.7 million. For SPPGA scholars, this funding will support research and partnerships that address sustainability challenges, extrajudicial detentions in China, decolonizing world news, and digital governance in Canada.

SSHRC Partnership Development Grants provides support to teams who are working in a formal partnership and are intended to either develop research and related activities in the social sciences and humanities, or to design and test new partnership approaches for research and related activities that may result in best practices or models that can be adapted by others. SSHRC Partnership Grants support formal partnerships between academic researchers, businesses, and other partners that advance knowledge and understanding on critical issues of intellectual, social, economic, and cultural significance. SSHRC Insight Grants aim to build knowledge and understanding about people, societies and the world by supporting research excellence in all subject areas eligible for SSHRC funding.

We look forward to seeing the impact our professors will make due to this funding. You can read more about their projects below:

Led by Director and Professor William Cheung (Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries) and co-Director Dr. Rashid Sumaila (Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries; School of Public Policy and Global Affairs), the “Solving Sustainability Challenges at the Food-Climate-Biodiversity Nexus” (Solving-FCB) has received a SSHRC Partnership Grant of $2,499,940. The goal of the proposed 6-year Partnership is to support and facilitate the development of viable FCB solutions that explicitly consider their complex social and ecological contexts. The Solving-FCB Partnership brings together world-leading scholars and practitioners from academic institutes, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, and government agencies to undertake transdisciplinary research that examines policies and human actions at the intersection of achieving food security, climate mitigation and biodiversity conservation goals.

As Dr. Sumaila stated: “this new SSHRC sponsored ‘Solving FCB’ Partnership means a lot to me because it gives our team, consisting of academics and non-academics, senior and early career scholars, with different backgrounds from five continents to bring our collective minds to bear on a very important and difficult challenge in the intersection of Food-Climate-Biodiversity.”

Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Timothy Cheek and Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Guldana Salimjan (SFU), the Xinjiang Documentation Project (XDP) has received a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant of $200,000 to continue collecting, assessing, preserving, and making available to the public documentation and materials regarding extrajudicial detentions, state policy, and other developments in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Northwestern China. Over the next two years, XDP will continue to serve as a permanent repository hosting documentation connected to the development of China’s ethnic policies and practices in Xinjiang as well as providing compassionate public education regarding this ongoing crisis. The project’s goal is to uplift the voices of survivors and community members working to shed light on this crisis, create a reliable resource to combat state-sponsored erasure of evidence and partisan presentations of events, and ultimately support future truth and reconciliation efforts.

Co-applicant and Professor Heidi Tworek has received a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant of $197,891 for the project, “Decolonizing World News: A Collaborative Study of the Non-Aligned News Agencies Pool.”

Researchers will examine the formation, structure, operations, experiences, impacts, and legacies of the Non-Aligned News Agencies Pool (NANAP)—the first Third World-led global information network dedicated to the democratization of world news. That includes digitizing new bodies of sources, historical investigations of NANAP, and writing policy reports that explore the implications of their historical findings for contemporary news provision around the world.

Co-applicants and Professors Milind Kandlikar and Navin Ramankutty were awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant of $222,160 for the project, “Climate Change and Civilization Collapse.”

Co-applicant and Professor Heidi Tworek was awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant of $258,643 for the project, “Digital Governance in Canada: Politics, Players, and Struggles for Influence.”

Tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Twitter, Microsoft, and IBM have expanded their lobbying and government relations staff dramatically as they seek to influence regulations, set agendas, sell products to the government, and shape future markets for their technologies and services. Meanwhile, civil society organizations struggle to have a presence in policy debates and in public services that crucially affect their communities.

Researchers will examine the relationship between tech companies and the Canadian government in the context of policies like artificial intelligence, content regulation, copyright, and election communications. This study will enhance public insight into the role and influence of digital platforms in government, highlighting the barriers to participation that civil society groups face, as well as successful strategies employed  by tech companies and civil society organizations to influence a growing range of policy and service provision areas.