Nunavut organizations receive $3.5 million for community-led research
“This type of research grant is huge because it enables us to do research within our territory”
Four Nunavut organizations will share a $3.5-million federal grant to conduct community-led health and well-being research in the territory.
The Aqqiumavvik Society in Arviat, the Qaggiavuut Society for the Performing Arts in Iqaluit, the Ilisaqsivik Society and Ittaq Research Centre in Clyde River and the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre in Iqaluit will split the grant evenly.
Together, the organizations form a research network called the Nunavut Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research.
The grant, which is distributed over five years, comes from the Institute for Indigenous Peoples Health through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The IIPH helps develop research capacity in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and supports partnerships between communities and health research groups.
“This funding provides support to community-based organizations with a history of developing research programs and will focus primarily on providing financial support and mentorship to students and learners,” a news release said.
It’s the first time the grant has been awarded in Nunavut.
“It’s a testament to what we are all capable of as Nunavummiut when we work together. We have brilliant methods, tools, and approaches to research and knowledge in our communities. We see this as an opportunity to work together in Nunavut to support our students, collect the evidence that addresses our health questions, and elevate strong promising practices into our systems and further to the rest of Canada and the circumpolar world,” Gwen Healey Akearok, Qaujigiartiit’s executive and scientific director, told Nunatsiaq News.
Qaujigiartiit will oversee the research conducted by the award-winning organizations, Ceporah Mearns, director of the Nunavut NEIHR and a research associate at Qaujigiartiit, told Nunatsiaq News.
“Being eligible for this type of research grant is huge because it enables us to do research within our territory, as opposed to it being situated in the south and southern researchers coming up to the North,” Mearns said.
“We are in a really good position that we are able to host this and to conduct research in our communities by our community members.”
Mearns also said the grant will help fund research already being done by each organization and support the development of new projects.
“If there’s, for example, a land-based program that is taking place and we know that it’s contributing to the health and wellness of young people, we want to be able to record that and say that this is working and addressing the needs of this community, so action can be taken to continue to provide support [to] programs like that,” Mearns said.
The Nunavut NEIHR has several objectives, which include supporting community-based health research in Nunavut, developing an environment that will support Inuit community leadership in health research, and creating a foundation for future generations of researchers from Nunavut.
“Research today is so important for action, especially in our communities. We want to be able to do research with a purpose, to do research for action. With the grant that we have received for the NEIHR, we are enabling our communities to be able to do that,” Mearns said.
The funding may be renewed for two further five-year periods.