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Research project streams

Check out the available research project streams and determine which one(s) you are interested in applying for. Research streams will be added on an ongoing basis, so check back often. Students will be accepted on an ongoing basis up until the application deadline. Interested students are encouraged to apply early.

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed.

Digital Worlds

Digital worlds: An in-depth look

**This research project stream is currently closed for applications**

Number of Students: Approx. 10

UN Sustainability goals targeted: Sustainable cities and communities, Peace, justice and strong institutions, Climate action

Dr. Christian Jacob (Principal Investigator)

Research supervisor:

Dr. Christian Jacob, PhD
(Principal Investigator)

Research Coach: Scout Windsor, MSc Student in Computational Media Design

Computer and video games have become not only more complex, but more realistic. We can enter and immerse ourselves in “digital worlds” using virtual reality headsets. The realism of these artificial, digital environments is approaching the point where one can consider them alternate, complementary worlds — almost indistinguishable from our physical worlds.

This is not the first time computer technology has enabled us to create “digital replicas” of our world. We use flight simulators to train pilots, fly digital airplanes before we build them, enter virtual realms to design cars and perform crash tests; the list goes on. “Digital Twins” that replicate real-world objects are becoming important features of our professional, social, and daily worlds.

In this research stream, students will work in multidisciplinary and collaborative groups to examine and explore “Digital Worlds”, from the state of digital world technology at the intersection of physical and digital realities to ethical and social considerations.

Students from all faculties, disciplines, technical skillsets and research experience levels are invited to participate in this research project stream.

Please contact Dr. Christian Jacob, cjacob@ucalgary.ca, and Scout Windsor, scout.windsor@ucalgary.ca, if you are interested.

Bear

Humans, animals and the environment

**This research project stream is currently closed for applications**

Number of students: Approx. 8

UN Sustainability goals targeted: Life on land, Quality Education

Adela Kincaid

Research supervisor:

Dr. Adela Kincaid, PhD
(Principal Investigator)

Research coach: TBD

Understanding animal-human interactions can make important contributions to sustainability. Blended and transdisciplinary research approaches to animal-human studies should include Indigenous worldviews because they offer a vital and often missing piece to research on human-animal interactions, or human-animal studies (HAS). HAS is crucial to understanding our complicated relationship with animals, spanning important socio-cultural topics, including health, animal and human well-being, consumption, domestication, agriculture, animal ethics, sustainability and wildlife conservation. By providing critical and holistic perspectives on human-wildlife interactions, Indigenous Studies provide a framework for decolonizing animal roles and positioning animals as equitable partners.

In this research project stream, students will work in a collaborative, interdisciplinary team to address research questions related to HAS with an emphasis on Indigenous worldviews. By blending research methods and disciplinary perspectives, students will challenge existing beliefs, incorporate an interconnected worldview and, in turn, provide recommendations towards the broader goals of sustainability and reducing biodiversity loss.

Students from all faculties and disciplines are invited to apply, emphasizing students from Indigenous Studies, Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Science.

Please contact Dr. Adela Kincaid, atkincai@ucalgary.ca, if you are interested in learning more about this research stream.

River and mountains

Conserving and restoring freshwater ecosystems

**This research project stream is currently closed for applications**

Number of students: Approx. 6

UN Sustainability goals targeted: Climate action, Responsible consumption and production, Life on land

Christie Sampson

Research supervisor:

Dr. Christie Sampson, PhD 
(Principal Investigator)

Research coach: TBD

Freshwater ecosystems support more than 100,000 species of plants and animals, including more than 40 percent of the world’s fish species. In Canada, these critical habitats, and the life they sustain, face threats from climate change, habitat destruction, invasive species, overfishing, over-abstraction, and pollution. Growing human populations and ongoing agricultural and industrial expansion pose more risks to these fragile environments. How can we balance the needs of different stakeholders and effectively mitigate the many challenges that come with conserving aquatic ecosystems?

In this research stream, participants will work in teams and use an interdisciplinary approach to explore the science behind the drivers that imperil freshwater habitats. Drawing from the fields of ecology and geography to social science and social justice, students will dive into issues such as land use and water interactions, pollutants, and how a changing climate will affect Canadian waterways. They will have hands-on opportunities to assess the water quality of local streams and discover how scientists monitor the aquatic species that live in our region. They will explore different techniques managers are using to restore habitats and the critical role Canada may play in preserving these essential ecosystems.

Students from all faculties, disciplines, technical skillsets and research experience levels are invited to participate in this research project stream.

Please contact Dr. Christie Sampson, christie.sampson@ucalgary.ca, if you are interested in learning more about this research stream.

Person in a wheelchair about to cross the street

Toward a more accessible Canada: Urban and digital design

**This research project stream is currently closed for applications**

Number of students: Approx. 10

UN Sustainability goals targeted: Sustainable cities and communities, Reduced inequality, Good health and wellbeing

Victoria Fast

Research supervisor:

Dr. Victoria Fast, PhD
(Principal Investigator)

Research coach: Russell Copley

For the first time ever, Canada has federal accessibility legislation. Enacted June 2019, the goal of the Accessible Canada Act (ACA) is to build a barrier-free Canada by 2040. However, there are many systemic barriers to realizing this ambitious and urgent goal. Barriers are everywhere: stairs without ramps, ramps without edge protection, entrances without automatic doors; and are institutionally reinforced through building codes and urban planning and design. These barriers have been amplified in our smart cities, with worrisome digital technologies further marginalizing people with disabilities. For example, Google Maps provides routes for cars, bikes, and has even integrated Uber, but it does not provide navigation support for wheelchair users.

Recognizing systemic barriers limit and often outright prohibit people living with disabilities from participating fully in public life, the government of Canada put out an urgent call for research on building a barrier-free Canada. In response, students in this research stream will work with local and national community partners to identify, understand, and eliminate barriers in our built (i.e., cities) and digital (i.e., apps, data) environments. This research stream is rooted in the supervisor’s and research coach’s expertise in accessibility mapping, data and geographic information science, citizen science, community planning, health equity, and social justice.

We invite students from all disciplines, technical skillsets and research experience levels to apply to our research project, and especially encourage students with disabilities to join.

Please contact Dr. Victoria Fast, victoria.fast@ucalgary.ca, if you are interested in learning more about this research stream.

Indigenous experiences with police

**This research project stream is currently closed for applications**

Number of students: Approx. 6

UN Sustainability goals targeted: Peace, justice and strong Institutions, Sustainable cities and communities, Reduced inequality

Adam Murry

Research supervisor:

Dr. Adam Murry, PhD
(Principal Investigator)

Research coach: TBD

Police officer

Full stream name: Indigenous experiences with the police: Building a community assessment

 

Indigenous Peoples have a complex history with the criminal justice systems of colonial settler states like Canada and the United States. Similar to the counterparts in the African-American/Black community, North America Indigenous Peoples are stopped, arrested, convicted, and detained more often and for longer times than non-Indigenous citizens, per their percentage of the population. Some cities have more troubled police-minority interactions than others, and some of those cities are more proactive in trying to address the problem. In the US, local governmental agencies in Portland, Oregon are working to improve relationships between the police and their Indigenous populations, among others. The first step is to assess what is going on.

This applied research project is a collaboration with the Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing. The goal is to inform the development of community-based assessment tools about Indigenous experiences with the police, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system. The assessment tools will be based on data created during Winter 2021's iteration of Research on Global Challenges. Students will be tasked with developing a topical map to represent relevant constructs, generating focus group protocols and survey items to measure constructs using an iterative consensus model (e.g., nominal group technique), and conducting a content analysis of social media data remaining from 2021's data collection. Students will learn about Indigenous experiences, criminal justice perceptions, skills in content analysis, assessment, data analysis, group work, and presenting on research findings. The work will help to inform political and practice actions at the local government level, with potential applications here in Calgary and Canada.

Applications are encouraged from students in psychology, criminal justice, law, sociology, anthropology and Indigenous studies.

Please contact Dr. Adam Murry, adam.murry@ucalgary.ca, if you are interested in learning more about this research stream.


Past research streams

Winter 2021