Samantha Darling, Ph.D. Student

BSc. Geography, University of Lethbridge; MSc. Geography, University of Ottawa.



Research Summary:

In 2000, Canada’s northern research was characterized as being in a ‘state of crisis’ with calls for greater investments in training and capacity building to generate knowledge in the North, for the North. Over the last 15 years a number of efforts have been made, both large and small, to enhance northern research capacity and bring northern perspective to northern science. The economic and development context of the Yukon Territory, in northern Canada, makes the region a prime case study to address northern perspectives on capacity building and evidence-based decision-making processes. Mineral resource development has been the main economic driver in the region since the 1800’s. Yet the majority of workforce expansion continues to be in the service and public administration sectors, according to the most recent Labour Market Bulletins from the federal government.

The main objective of my research is to assess progress towards increased northern science research capacity in order to identify ways to bring northern perspective to capacity building and evidence-based decision-making processes. My main research question is therefore: What role does government play in the enhancement of northern scientific research capacity? A thorough examination of the current state of northern science research capacity will use a mixed methods approach to fully appreciate a range of qualitative and quantitative methods. A primary focus will be the roles played by various federal government departments and research networks, as well as established and early career scientists, in the facilitation of these knowledge flows. Finally, the impact of current federal and territorial policy on northern science research capacity will be examined through document analysis, semi-structured interviews, and comparative studies. This project partners with Yukon Government to focus on capacity building programs at the territorial level.


Awards and Scholarships:

Graduate Excellence Award, McGill University (2016)

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

Government of Yukon Research Stipend (2016-19).


Project Publications:

Still to come