Expert Q&A on UVic climate research

Science, Human and Social Development, Engineering, Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, Fine Arts, Law, Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, Graduate Studies

UVic has expanded its research expertise in climate, environmental change and sustainability. Credit: UVic Photo Services

The heat dome. Wildfires. Torrential rains. Destructive flooding. Climate change has profoundly impacted our world this year. After COP26, British Columbia continues to experience extreme weather that resulted in the BC state of emergency.

It is timely that the University of Victoria has expanded the breadth of expertise by actively recruiting new research chairs in the impact area of climate, environmental change and sustainability. This cluster hiring of Canada Research Chairs, UVic President’s Chairs and Impact Chairs reflects UVic’s steady commitment to tackling the climate crisis through interdisciplinary initiatives such as the Climate Sustainability and Action Plan and UVic in the Anthropocene. The research chairs contribute to implementing Aspiration 2030, UVic’s research and creative work strategy.

Lisa Kalynchuk, UVic’s vice-president of research and innovation, elaborates on the importance of transformative research in achieving the university’s sustainability goals and building a better world.

Lisa Kalynchuk is speaking at podium to UVic researchers.
Lisa Kalynchuk, UVic's vice-president of research and innovation. Credit: UVic Photo Services

Q. What are the key impact areas in Aspiration 2030?

A. In Aspiration 2030, we are thinking big and we want to make a difference not only for the university, but for everyone on the planet. That starts with knowledge but also honouring our sense of place, which comes from the history of the Indigenous lands we live and work on. We commit to actively support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action. UVic’s expansion of climate and sustainability work is extremely timely. With British Columbia at the forefront of climate events such as the recent floods, fires and heatwaves, it is crucially important we focus on actions and implement solutions for a sustainable future.

Q. What are the new research chairs focusing on in their climate-related research?

A. Our research chairs—we now have more than 20 in this research strength—range from scientists examining ocean ecosystems to nature-based solutions and projects that are grounded in traditional ecological knowledge. We have business researchers examining sustainable development on an international scale and engineers exploring global water sustainability and urban planning for systems change. Their work is in fundamental science, fine arts and social sciences.

Seven UVic researchers stand together at a university event.
(L-R) Loren McClenachan, Christina Hoicka, Julia Baum, Lisa Kalynchuk, Heather Castleden, Cynthia Milton, and Astrid Brouselle. Credit: UVic Photo Services. 

Q. Why is it important now to convene climate and sustainability researchers and other UVic staff?

A. Our outstanding scholars are working in critical areas of high societal impact around climate change, environmental change and sustainability. They need to know each other. They need to know about and understand the work that is happening across campus and find opportunities to collaborate. Our office and others are purposely creating space for this to happen. We have high hopes that collectively, we can create the solutions we need to tackle this grand, global challenge.

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Keywords: climate, research, community, clean energy, awards, health, graduate research, fisheries, environment, oceans, Indigenous, research, sustainability, water

People: Lisa Kalynchuk

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