May 7, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario
Today, we are announcing that a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in support of the United Kingdom-Canada Inuit Nunangat and Arctic Region Research Programme was signed by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, United Kingdom Research and Innovation, POLAR Knowledge Canada, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Parks Canada Agency, and Fonds de recherche du Québec.
With rapid changes to the Arctic climate, there is a pressing need to understand and respond to the resulting environmental, social and economic impacts. The MOU focuses on working in partnership on the development and administration of the new research programme, which aligns with National Inuit Strategy on Research objectives and actions. Broadly, research funded under this programme will focus on changing Arctic ecosystems and the impacts to Inuit communities and beyond, and will explore innovative and practical mitigation and adaptation mechanisms and technologies to enhance resilience to environmental change.
Parties will work together through a steering committee to co-develop all aspects of the programme. Parties are committed to:
- Establishing programme research priorities,
- Supporting capacity building among Inuit,
- Co-developing calls for proposals,
- Establishing a joint proposal selection process,
- Ensuring the ethical conduct of research.
The parties are working to finalize the details of this new programme. A call for research proposals will be forthcoming this spring.
“Securing respect and support for Inuit self-determination in research is pivotal for improving the effectiveness and impacts of research conducted in Inuit Nunangat. The research program developed through this partnership supports the co-development of the program’s research priorities as well as partnership between Inuit and other researchers in the conduct of research. The United Kingdom-Canada Inuit Nunangat and Arctic Region Research Program raises the bar for the conduct of research in Inuit Nunangat, setting a new standard for how Inuit, governments, research institutions, and researchers work together.”
— Natan Obed, President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
“Canada is committed to Indigenous self-determination in Arctic research as a pivotal element for strengthening capacity building, education, networking, and resilience. This will help ensure that research conducted in the Arctic is impactful, and useful to governments, as well as the Indigenous Peoples and communities, whose traditional territories are being studied. This international collaboration highlights the invaluable role of Indigenous knowledge in the transformation of Arctic science.”
— The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs
“POLAR is focused on contributing to the development of a sustainable knowledge economy in the North that is based on self-determined research so that communities are empowered to make the best evidence-based decisions. This partnership is a step towards these goals.”
— Jennifer C. Hubbard, President and CEO, Polar Knowledge Canada
“Climate change continues dramatically to alter the Arctic. We face a pressing need to understand and respond to the environmental, social, economic, engineering, infrastructural and cultural impact of that change and to do so in collaboration with those most affected. This new partnership with UK Research and Innovation will bring together researchers across the United Kingdom, Canada and in the Inuit communities themselves, combining the skills and knowledge of all the partners. It will value and respect everyone’s contributions equally, marking a bold new approach to Arctic research. I look forward hugely to seeing this important initiative develop and bring us together to meet the challenge and protect our environment.”
— Professor Christopher Smith, International Champion, UK Research and Innovation & Executive Chair, Arts and Humanities Research Council
“The NRC looks forward to supporting the United Kingdom-Canada Inuit Nunangat and Arctic Region Research Programme through collaborative applied research and development, focused on pressing issues affecting the Arctic and northern regions.”
— Mitch Davies, President, National Research Council of Canada.”
“The Fonds de recherche du Québec are proud to join forces with the group of Inuit, Canadian and British partners to support the development of a multi-year multidisciplinary research program, in co-construction with representatives of Inuit communities according to their priorities and their research governance. For research to have an impact in Inuit communities, it is important that their representatives be involved throughout the stages of the research process. I look forward to hearing about the projects that will result from the calls for proposals.”
— Rémi Quiron, Chief Scientist of Québec, Fonds de recherche du Québec
“Parks Canada is pleased to support the international application of the National Inuit Strategy on Research. Championing Inuit self-determination in research benefits present and future generations, as we work together to protect the High Arctic in the face of climate change.”
— The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
- Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) is the national representational organization protecting and advancing the rights and interests of Inuit in Canada.It developed the National Inuit Strategy on Research (NISR), which identifies areas for partnership and action that can strengthen the impact and effectiveness for Inuit of research in Inuit Nunangat (the Inuit homeland).
- United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of the government of the United Kingdom. This activity involves four of the councils of UKRI: The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the Economics and Social Research Council (ESRC).
- Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR) is a Government of Canada agency responsible for strengthening Canadian leadership in polar science and technology.. It is headquartered at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus, which it operates, in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.
- National Research Council Canada is Canada’s largest federal research and development organization. It’s Arctic and Northern program will focus on four main research themes: housing, health, food and water.
- Parks Canada Agency is responsible to ensure that Canada’s national parks, national historic sites and related heritage areas are protected and preserved for current and future generations.
- The Fonds de recherche du Québec promote and provide financial support for: research; for the dissemination of scientific knowledge; and for the training of researchers in the fields of natural sciences, mathematical sciences, engineering, health and social sciences in Quebec.