Federal support for northern studies 

By Karen Herland

Climate is just one of many reasons to head North.

Researchers in communications, geography, sociology, anthropology and fine arts have all taken advantage of the Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP).

“There are even some history students. There are archives in the North that aren’t available on line,” said Lorna Roth (Communications Studies), acting chair of Concordia’s Northern Studies Committee.

Each of the 40 universities across the country that can access NSTP funds offered through the department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has a committee to review applications.

Roth benefited from the program when doing graduate work on First Peoples broadcasting (Journal, Oct. 13, 2005). When she returned to Concordia as an LTA in 1992, she got involved. She chaired it for nearly a decade and has taken it over again while current chair Peter Van Wyck (Communications Studies) is on sabbatical.

The program provides funding of up to $3,000 to graduate students, or, more recently, advanced undergrads, who need to travel to the far North to complete their research. Initially intended for pure scientific researchers, the program has expanded to the social sciences and arts.

The NSTP supports up to 3,000 researchers across Canada each year. Funding is generally provided for transportation, accommodations, and, in rare instances, interpretation.

Those involved in Northern Studies can also take advantage of the Association of Canadian Universities Northern Studies.

“ACUNS is a council of universities who meet to discuss common interests and common challenges,” said Roth. She will be attending a two-day meeting of members in mid-October in Saskatoon. The event will be followed by two more days of presentations by student researchers whose work focuses on the North.

“ACUNS has developed an excellent set of ethical guidelines which respect the intellectual property and knowledge of Northern communities.”

Researchers who benefit from NSTP funding are required to obtain prior permission from the communities they intend to work in.

Details about NSTP requirements will be available at an information session on Oct. 4 at 3 p.m. in GM-910. Applications are due by the end of October. For more information: news.concordia.ca/studentlife/011643.shtml.


Concordia University