June 1, 2020Print | PDF
Andrew Spring, adjunct professor and research associate in northern knowledge networks at Wilfrid Laurier University, has been honoured with the 2020 Young Researcher Ambassador Award by Partners in Research (PIR) Canada. The award recognizes impactful research communication and outreach education efforts by an early-career Canadian scholar.
Spring was recognized for his work conducting and promoting collaborative research with Indigenous communities in the Northwest Territories. Food security has become a pressing issue for northern communities as access to traditional food sources is increasingly threatened by the effects of climate change. As associate director of the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (LCSFS), Spring works closely with Indigenous and government partners to implement research-based adaptive programs and lead monitoring initiatives encouraging stewardship of the land.
“This award recognizes Dr. Spring’s exceptional leadership and his strong emphasis on communicating community-led research about sustainable food systems in the Northwest Territories to citizens and stakeholders in Canada and beyond,” says Alison Blay-Palmer, professor and director of the LCSFS. “Andrew’s work is critical to incorporating Indigenous and northern voices into the academic literature and he is equally dedicated to plain language communication.”
Spring supports community climate change adaptation and research at the UNESCO Tsá Tué Biosphere Reserve in Délı̨nę, N.W.T., and with the Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation in Kakisa, N.W.T.
“I have worked with Andrew since 2014 when he first came to our community to assist us in climate change and food security planning,” says Chief Lloyd Chicot of Ka’a’gee Tu First Nation. “Since that time, he has helped us grow food, map important cultural sites on our land, develop a recycling and composting program, and facilitate numerous on-the-land camps to get our youth engaged in research and learning traditional knowledge. Through our shared research programs, we have had opportunities to share our experiences and knowledge with communities across Canada and the world.”
In the past five years, Spring has helped facilitate more than $3.4 million in research and programming funds. As evidenced by the PIR award, knowledge sharing is a key priority. He serves as knowledge mobilization specialist for the Global Water Futures Project, the world’s largest university-led freshwater research program, and he trains Laurier’s northern-focused graduate students to share their research through podcasting, social media, poster presentations, workshops and the media.
“Dr. Spring is a talented researcher who has quickly become a key part of our efforts supporting Laurier’s strategic goals for climate change research in Canada’s North,” says Jonathan Newman, vice-president: research. “His work underlines his commitment to bringing together different knowledge sets to solve complex problems and actively involving northern communities, particularly Indigenous youth, in research and engagement on the land."
PIR Canada is a non-profit organization that helps communicate the benefits of scientific research to the general public. The annual PIR National Awards recognize and honour excellence in Canadian research as well as a commitment to promoting the benefit of one’s research through public outreach.
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