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Together for Wildlife grants support wildlife research

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:33 PDT, Thu May 26, 2022

The province will provide as many as six research grants of $25,000 to university graduate students to help guide effective wildlife stewardship in B.C. and support the goals of the Together for Wildlife strategy.

"The more we understand about wildlife and how they interact with the ecosystems around them, the better our decisions on wildlife stewardship and biodiversity conservation will be," said Josie Osborne, Minister of Land, Water, and Resource Stewardship. "This research funding supports students and draws together the expertise of academics, First Nations, and other partners to gather the knowledge and data needed to make well-informed, collaborative decisions about wildlife management."

The Together for Wildlife strategy was released in 2020 and is built around a shared vision of thriving wildlife and resilient habitats that will support and enrich the lives of all British Columbians. The $150,000 for these research grants is an important step toward realizing the strategy's vision.

"Our government is committed to supporting graduate students and the studies they pursue. I am proud of our graduate students, as they are shaping a brighter future for our province," said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. "These research grants will help graduate students undertake wildlife research that will have an impact on our lives, in our communities, and for our future."

The B.C. government and the Interior Universities Research Coalition (IURC), with the support of the Minister's Wildlife Advisory Council, worked together to establish the Together for Wildlife research fund. The IURC is made up of the University of Northern British Columbia, Thompson Rivers University, and the University of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus).

Graduate students from any B.C. post-secondary institution can apply. Preference will be given to proposals with a partnership involving at least one of the three IURC institutions.

"This grant program presents exciting opportunities for our graduate students to develop valuable skills and expertise, build important multi-stakeholder collaborations and do research that will have an impact," said Janice Larson, director, Tri-University Partnership Office for the Interior Universities Research Coalition. "With the partner universities' strengths in wildlife research and our key regional presence, the IURC is pleased to advance B.C.'s wildlife stewardship objectives."

Research project proposals must include partnerships between multiple academic institutions and collaborations with Indigenous communities. The resulting data will be accessible for use by communities and researchers.

The call for grant proposals will focus on more than a dozen research themes that align with the goals of the Together for Wildlife strategy. These themes include:

• Ecosystem restoration and habitat enhancement

• Indigenous knowledge related to wildlife and wildlife habitat

• Effects of human activities on wildlife and the regulation of such activities

• Impacts of natural disturbance, such as wildfires, and climate change

• Impacts of resource use, such as mineral extraction, on wildlife and habitat

• Wildlife diseases and health

The call for research proposals will be issued on May 30. Successful applicants will be notified in August.

The Together for Wildlife strategy was developed with Indigenous Peoples, rural communities, academic institutions, and a wide range of stakeholder organizations to foster transparency and collaboration. 

Investing in research supports Goal 2 of the strategy, which notes that collecting and sharing data drives better decisions about wildlife management. Key priorities of Goal 2 include improving support for scientific research and building stronger partnerships with the academic community.

To learn more about Together For Wildlife: www.gov.bc.ca/togetherforwildlife

Additional information about the Together for Wildlife grants, research themes and the application process will be available on Monday (May 30) online.

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