Prof. Brady Deaton

Eleven diverse University of Guelph research projects that will advance knowledge in the humanities and social sciences have received more than $1.5 million in federal support.

The announcement was made today on campus by Lloyd Longfield, MP for Guelph. The funding comes from the Insight Grants program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).

Highly prestigious Insight Grants support long-term research initiatives that address complex issues pertaining to people and societies and are awarded after a competitive process. U of G had a 68-per-cent applicant success rate, a significant increase from past years. Malcolm Campbell, vice-president (research), said that increase reflects U of G’s comprehensive research excellence and best practices in crafting research proposals.

headshot of Prof. Sheri Longboat
Prof. Sheri Longboat

“These richly deserved successes highlight that U of G is both Canada’s food university – the nation’s leader in agriculture and food research – and also a leading comprehensive, research-intensive university,” he said.

“As a leading comprehensive university, the University of Guelph has proven strengths across the board. The outcomes with SSHRC Insight Grants are proof positive of those great strengths in social sciences and the humanities.”

With this new federal funding, U of G researchers will study varied topics, including water arrangements between First Nations and Ontario municipalities, the history of oral health, urban social interactions, connections between language and sexism, and the relationship between voice tone and national identity.

“Our talented researchers will improve interactions among people, discover ways to share resources and collaborate for change, and learn from the past to benefit the future,” he said.

Longfield added: “Canada is a global leader in sustainable development. Researchers at the U of G are studying and developing innovative solutions to support a healthy community and ensure a better quality of life for Canadians. It is wonderful to see our government investing and supporting the great research in social sciences and humanities happening at the University of Guelph and around the country. Congratulations to the recipients.”

Prof. Olga Smoliak

Under the largest grant, worth $371,300, researchers from U of G and Western University will study water arrangements between First Nations and municipalities in Ontario.

“On many First Nations reserves across Canada, lack of safe drinking water is a chronic problem,” said Prof. Brady Deaton, Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics, who will lead the project with Prof. Sheri Longboat, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development.

The interdisciplinary team will use quantitative and qualitative methods – including statistical analysis and case studies – to identify the potential for water sharing in Ontario and why communities might engage in such exchanges or not. The goal is to assess water sharing as one possible solution to addressing drinking water quality issues on reserves.

Prof. Amanda Boetzkes

Prof. Olga Smoliak, Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition (FRAN), also spoke at the event Thursday. She will use her $66,409 grant to examine connections between language and sexism. She hopes to learn how gender inequality endures despite social changes in gender relations and values.

Other Insight Grants were awarded to U of G faculty members as follows:

  • Tara Abraham, Department of History, $55,560, entry of psychiatry into medical education and its development as a specialty;
  • Kim Anderson, FRAN, $87,938, language revitalization and identity validation in Indigenous knowledge rejuvenation;
  • Amanda Boetzkes, School of Fine Art and Music (SOFAM), $84,833, artistic ways of perceiving and representing climate change effects on Earth;
  • Christine Bold, School of English and Theatre Studies, $89,370, cultural and creative significance of Indigenous vaudeville performers;

    Prof. Mervyn Horgan
  • Catherine Carstairs, Department of History, $45,425, history of oral health, including social and gender inequality;
  • Kimberly Francis, SOFAM, $191,372, speech sounds and national identity;
  • Alan Gordon, Department of History, $62,822, historical tourism literature;
  • Mervyn Horgan, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, $94,665, urban social interactions; and
  • Nonita Yap (posthumously), School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, $299,771, multi-partner project on best practices for socially and environmentally sensitive non-renewable resource development.