Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grants announced

Hatley Castle in front of a mountain backdrop

Four Royal Roads University researchers are one step closer to transforming our natural, online, and legal environments through more than $700,000 of funding through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

The grants were awarded through SSHRC’s Insight Program, which “enables scholars to address complex issues about individuals and societies” to “further our collective understanding.”

Prof. Robin Cox, Insight Grant for youth engagement in climate resilience

School of Humanitarian Studies Professor Robin Cox, program head of the Master of Arts in Climate Action Leadership program, received an Insight Grant designed to spark meaningful youth engagement and leadership in climate action. The project will engage youth living in Greater Victoria and the Mayaguez region of Puerto Rico, in transformative learning and innovation labs to design and implement creative and impactful climate resilience initiatives with their communities. The grant is worth $260,589.

“Focusing on climate change can be overwhelming and paralyzing,” says Cox, who is also the director of Royal Roads’ Resilience By Design Lab. “At the same time, we have many examples of youth demonstrating leadership and a clear commitment to taking action to ensure that their future and the future of the planet is resilient, sustainable, and equitable.”

Children and youth around the world are living with unprecedented uncertainty, complexity and risk, Cox says. They’re also the ones who will disproportionately shoulder the burden of climate change in every aspect of society and the environment.

“This project is designed to inspire and mobilize youth and their communities to move beyond the paralysis and despair climate change can induce, to build the skills, knowledge and capabilities to lead climate actions.”

The project will use a variety of methods including design thinking and social innovation processes to support youth-driven climate initiatives. The initiatives will be shared and communicated through case studies, video and other tools to inspire others to be climate action leaders.

Assoc. Prof. Jaigris Hodson and Prof. George Veletsianos, Insight Grant to study online harassment of diverse researchers

College of Interdisciplinary Studies Assoc. Prof. Jaigris Hodson has been awarded an Insight Grant to study how online harassment affects researchers from marginalized or diverse communities. Working alongside Prof. George Veletsianos, co-applicant and professor in the School of Education and Technology, the project builds on an Insight Development Grant awarded to the researchers in 2018 that examined women academics’ experiences with online harassment. The grant is worth $99,196.

The study will look at researchers beyond the academic sphere to uncover a deeper understanding of the experiences of diverse groups of researchers, including Black, Indigenous and researchers of colour.

“We wanted to extend our previous research to understand how online harassment impacts researchers from diverse backgrounds who work both within and outside academia. If researchers are harassed when they share their research findings online, they may be less likely to share in the future. This has tremendous implications for public access to science.”

Veletsianos, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology and the Commonwealth of Learning Chair in Flexible Education, says while digital technology comes with far reaching benefits, it can also be used to exclude, silence, threaten or harass researchers.

“This research comes at an important time, at a time when there is a growing and wider recognition of the role and impacts of racism, colonialism, and white supremacy in our society” he says.

Dr. Enilda Romero-Hall, associate professor in the Department of Education at The University of Tampa in the United States, will be joining Hodson and Veletsianos as a collaborator on this grant.

Assoc. Prof. Siomonn Pulla, co-applicant on Insight Grant to study legal arguments from 2017 unauthorized fishing charges in Kouchibouguac National Park

Together with Carleton University’s Sébastien Malette, School of Interdisciplinary Studies Assoc. Prof. Siomonn Pulla will examine the historical and doctrinal robustness of the legal arguments from the case of Vautour, Jackie et Al. v. Her Majesty the Queen (T-2097-15). The case involves charges against a Métis family fishing for soft-shelled clams within Kouchibouguac National Park. Despite legal advances, Métis-Acadian communities are struggling to be granted legal status in Canada at the constitutional level. The grant is worth $203,999.

Assoc. Prof. Jaigris Hodson, co-applicant on Ryerson University-led Insight Grant to study anti-social behaviour in social media

In collaboration with Anatoliy Gruzd, lead applicant and director of Ryerson University’s Social Media Lab, College of Interdisciplinary Studies Assoc. Prof. Jaigris Hodson will examine “the dark side” of social media including the proliferation of anti-social behaviours like hate speech and cyberbullying. Working alongside Ryerson Assist. Prof. Jenna Jacobson, the researchers aim to understand the impact these behaviours have on community health and how to minimize their harm without stifling the free flow of information. The grant is worth $167,781.