Ashlee-Ann Pigford, Ph.D. Student

BAhonours (Anthropology), University of Alberta; MSc (Nutrition and Metabolism), University of Alberta.


Interests: Knowledge flow, Knowledge translation, Arctic research, Innovations ecosystems


Research Summary:

Engaging an innovation ecosystems approach to enhance the translation and integration of northern scientific research

Translating scientific research into effective policy is a complex process and this is particularly apparent in the Canadian Arctic given the varied interests of northern stakeholders who come together to address issues of local, national, and international significance. Recognizing that poor knowledge flow and low innovation characterize the Arctic knowledge system, there have been repeated calls to strengthen the Arctic science-policy interface and to develop improved methods for linking research and policy processes. To assist in bringing together Arctic science and policy, this research aims to examine innovation ecosystems (IE), which are the dynamic and interactive networks that shape the way that societies generate, exchange, and use knowledge. An IE approach will facilitate an examination of the position and roles of local and public actors, the linkages and intersections between actors and institutions involved in knowledge production, the factors that influence the creation of policy-relevant research, and the translation of findings into effective public policy. This research is timely because despite recent intensification and investment in Arctic research, Northerners assert that research repeatedly falls short of its stated aims and that knowledge is poorly integrated into policies that reflect the values, interests and needs of Arctic communities. An IE approach complements current participatory and capacity building methodologies and offers a promising, but as of yet under-explored way to understand the complexity of knowledge flow in the Canadian Arctic. Therefore, the question guiding this research is: How can an IE approach strengthen the application, translation and integration of Arctic scientific research evidence into effective policy in Canada? This research has the potential to inform policy and strategic discussions to enhance the ways that knowledge flows from research into meaningful Arctic outcomes.


Awards and Scholarships:

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canadian Graduate Scholarship: Doctoral (2017-2020)

Graduate Excellence Award, McGill University (2016)

NSERC-CREATE Environmental Innovation Research and Training Program Graduate Student Stipend, McGill University (2016-19).

Graduate Student Mobility Award, McGill University (2016).


Project Publications:

Pigford, A., Darling, S., Hickey, G.M. (2018). The need to better unpack the transaction costs associated with northern research in Canada. Arctic Yearbook: 491-499 [online].

Pigford, A., Hickey, G.M. and Klerkx, L. (2018). Beyond Agricultural Innovation Systems? Exploring an Agricultural Innovation Ecosystems approach for niche design and development in sustainability transitions. Agricultural Systems 164: 116–121.

Pigford, A., Hickey, G.M. and Klerkx, L. (2017). Towards innovation (eco)systems: Enhancing the public value of scientific research in the Canadian Arctic. Arctic Yearbook [online].


My full list of research publications prior to joining the lab can be found on Google Scholar.