Jay Cullen named 2017 Provost's Engaged Scholar

Congratulations to Dr. Jay Cullen (earth and ocean sciences) who has been named as a 2017 recipient of the Provost’s Engaged Scholar Award.

The award celebrates tenured faculty members who have made significant contributions to community through their integration of outstanding scholarship, inspired teaching and community engagement. These efforts yield positive societal change in many dimensions that affect us all.

A professor of chemical oceanography and an international leader in marine biogeochemistry of trace metals, Dr. Jay Cullen has built a world-class marine geochemistry laboratory at UVic based on almost a million dollars in funding from the NSERC, CFI and other agencies.

Since joining the university in 2003, he has been involved in at-sea data collection through marine research cruises in all oceans of the world, and collaborates widely within Canada and internationally. In response to the scientific questions and public concerns of oceanic contamination from the Fukushima Dai-ichi meltdowns, Cullen instigated and now leads a new marine radioactivity monitoring network called the Integrated Fukushima Ocean Radionuclide Monitoring (or InFORM) network.

This network brings together Canadian and American scientists, governmental and non-governmental organizations including: UVic, UBC, University of Ottawa, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Health Canada, the U.S. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Vancouver Aquarium, David Suzuki Foundation, Raincoast Education Society, Surfrider Foundation, Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, Georgia Strait Alliance and the Living Oceans Society.Through collaborations with these NGOs, more than 600 volunteer citizen scientists have been recruited, forming a vital component of the InFORM network.

A prolific author, Cullen has published approximately 45 papers in top peer-reviewed journals, given more than 100 presentations at scientific conferences and is a regular presenter in the community.

Cullen also makes exceptional efforts to ensure that the results of his research are accessible and shared with the public. This includes writing regular blogs for a lay audience based on emerging research reports and taking part in town hall meetings with citizen scientists from First Nations communities that closely identify with the marine environment and depend on its health for their physical and spiritual well-being—these communities include Bella Bella, Masset, Hartley Bay, Queen Charlotte City, Skidegate, Tofino, Ucluelet, Prince Rupert and Terrace.

Cullen was also one of 72 candidates shortlisted by the Canadian Space Agency to become one of Canada’s next astronauts.

Dr. Jay Cullen, as well as Drs. Cecilia Benoit and Andrea Walsh, were conferred the title of University of Victoria Community-Engaged Scholar on March 8, which they will hold for a period of five years. They also each received a one-time award of $10,000 to support their research, teaching and community engagement.

Excerpted from The Ring