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Brian Belcher appointed new RRU Canada Research Chair

November 14, 2013

An expert in rural resource development was appointed Nov.14 by the federal government as Royal Roads University’s newest Canada Research Chair (CRC). The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology) made the announcement at the University of Calgary.

At Royal Roads, Brian Belcher is the new Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Research Effectiveness, becoming the university’s first Tier 1 Chair, a role with a seven-year renewable term. Tier 1 Chairs are given to outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields. Belcher is the former director of the Centre for Livelihoods and Ecology (CLE) at Royal Roads and he teaches in RRU’s Doctorate of Social Sciences Program.   

“Dr. Belcher provides an excellent example of the role and value of RRU’s unique approach to applied, professional research,” said Allan Cahoon, president and vice-chancellor of Royal Roads University. “As our new Canada Research Chair, Dr. Belcher will foster investigation and discovery that informs professional practice and can readily be brought into the classroom.”

“Our newest Canada Research Chair will make an important contribution to research methods worldwide,” said Matthew Heinz, dean of the faculty of social and applied sciences at Royal Roads University. “His work will lead us to a deeper understanding of how to identify and enhance the impact of research.”

“The relationship between science and society is changing, with greater engagement among researchers and civil society, and high emphasis on impact,” said Belcher. “My role as Chair is a great opportunity to build on the strong, applied, impact-oriented research focus at RRU, and to help ensure that knowledge translates into action.”  As Chair, he will link closely with other Canadian collaborators and with an international consortium (the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) that focuses on agriculture and natural resources management for poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability.

Belcher’s previous research work aimed at understanding and improving the role of natural resources in meeting development and environmental objectives.   A Canadian citizen with a BSc in Biology (Ecology), a master’s degree in natural resources management and a PhD in forestry (economics and policy), Belcher has extensive resource management experience that includes monitoring rural resource use in Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as Canada.

Royal Roads currently has three Tier 2 CRCs: Ann Dale, CRC in Sustainable Community Development; Phillip Vannini, CRC in Innovative Learning and Public Ethnography and George Veletsianos, CRC in Innovative Learning and Technology.

Today’s announcement included 135 new and renewed chairholders at 41 postsecondary institutions receiving funding from the federal government.

Canada Research Chairs

Established in 2000 by the federal government, the Canada Research Chairs program invests $300 million per year to attract and retain accomplished scholars from around the world as part of a national strategy to make Canada a top nation for research and development. The Canada Research Chairs program invests $300 million per year to attract and retain academics in a variety of disciplines.  http://www.chairs-chaires.gc.ca