News Releases

UWI Team receives CAN$ 2 million grant

For Release Upon Receipt - July 14, 2009

St. Augustine

An international research team co-directed by Professor Patrick Watson, Director of The Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES) at The University of the West Indies (UWI), will participate in a unique $2 million international research partnership that will respond to pressing environmental issues in Canada and the Caribbean.

In partnership with the Canadian Fisheries, Oceans and Aquaculture Management (C-FOAM) at the University of Ottawa, the UWI/SALISES team will execute a project entitled “Managing adaptation to environmental change in coastal communities: Canada and the Caribbean”. Professor Watson’s team, which includes Dr Michael Sutherland, Dr Michelle Mycoo, Dr Sandra Sookram, Dr Sonja Teelucksingh, Dr Aldrie Henry-Lee and Mr Martin Franklin, will focus on the socio-economic impact of sea-level rise on selected Caribbean locations.

The project was awarded the grant by the International Community-University Research Alliance program (ICURA), a collaboration between the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). ICURA awarded a research grant of just under CAN $2 million over a five-year period. Approximately half of the sum awarded will be allocated to UWI/SALISES.

A team of sixteen researchers, led by C-FOAM Research Associate, Professor Daniel Lane and Professor Watson, along with seventeen partner organizations, will work to develop new insights on how protected areas can maximise the delivery of equitable benefits, how to manage human-wildlife interactions and improve the governance of protected areas. Most importantly, the project aims to mobilise knowledge-sharing among academic researchers and community organisations. The project will focus on vulnerable coastal communities whose livelihoods will be most affected by these changes. The selected communities are located in the Caribbean and in Canada's Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic regions. Within these regions, particular attention is given to the impact of rising sea-levels and storm surges. The research teams aim to build the capacity of local communities to face the inevitable consequences of climate changes and will develop community awareness of the environmental threat, proposals for new infrastructure and tools for creating adaptation and mitigation strategies.

“This initiative illustrates superbly how social sciences and humanities research can have a direct impact on societies through community-university partnerships,” said Chad Gaffield, President of SSHRC. “The ICURA program is funding leading-edge international research collaborations that will bring global perspectives to the analysis and understanding of social, economic, environmental and technological issues.”

The SALISES/C-FOAM project was one of four successful projects to receive funding from ICURA, which was designed to benefit projects in the developing world to undertake research on global issues. The three other successful research projects, selected from over 100 applications through a rigorous peer-review process, will focus on the impact of poverty on the environment, services for at-risk youth, and mental health.

IDRC and SSHRC are Canada-based institutions. The IDRC works in close collaboration with researchers from the developing world to generate and apply new knowledge to the challenges of international development, and to build healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous societies. The SSHRC is a Canadian federal agency that promotes and supports university-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Through its programs and policies, SSHRC enables the highest levels of research excellence in Canada, and facilitates knowledge-sharing and collaboration across research disciplines, universities and all sectors of society.


For more information about the IDRC/SSHRC grant, please contact SALISES at (868) 662 2002 Ext. 2391 or 2038, or