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(January 25, 2001, Gazette)

Public Policy Research Centre
Open for business

Dr. Sean CadiganDr. Sean Cadigan

By Sharon Gray

With less than a month on the job, Dr. Sean Cadigan feels quite comfortable talking about the goals and future of Memorial’s new Public Policy Research Centre, located at Queen’s College.

“The centre is here to promote research that’s relevant to the wider Newfoundland and Labrador community, of which Memorial is a part, and to assist in policy formation that will benefit that community.”

The centre’s new academic director has a long history with Memorial, and a broad background in policy issues. After completing a BA in history at Memorial in 1985, he went to Queen’s University to do a master’s in history and returned to Memorial in 1987 to do a PhD. After graduation in 1991, he spent two years as an assistant professor at Memorial followed by a post-doctoral fellowship on the multi-disciplinary eco-research project Sustainability in a Changing Cold Ocean Coastal Environment.

“It was through my work as a social sciences post doc on that project that I became interested in policy issues related to the long term trends in the exploitation of northern cod stocks,” said Dr. Cadigan.

The next step in Dr. Cadigan’s career was an appointment at Dalhousie University in History and the Marine Affairs Program, a marine management training program that offers a master’s in marine management.

Dr. Cadigan will have ample opportunity to expand his interests at the Public Policy Research Centre. “We want to promote awareness about the policy relevance of much of the research that happens here at Memorial. The centre is here to try to make communication more effective and give our research a recognizable shape for policy consumers. It’s a place government agencies can come when they want to know what research has been done relating to an issue in public policy.”

The academic director’s role will also involve taking a direct approach in letting the outside community know about the policy implications of research at Memorial.

“We’re open to approach by any member of the university community. Many of the departments in the Faculty of Arts, such as economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, history and folklore, have long experience in issues related to public policy. But we’re also open to anybody within the university community either in approaching and representing what they do to various policy agencies or in developing research initiatives of mutual interest.”

The Public Policy Research Centre was established with the help of $477,000 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. The academic director reports to the university president through the vice-president (research and international relations) and the dean of arts. Part of Dr. Cadigan’s work will be to develop funding sources for future research in areas of public policy. “We’re very interested in developing additional resources, for example partnerships with private sector consultants in areas of mutual interest. A long-term project is to develop funding opportunities for research in partnership with groups such as community agencies that are interested in public policy.”

Dr. Cadigan is currently planning a speaker’s series for the new centre, and future activities will be publicized through the Gazette. He can be contacted at 737-3479 or by e-mail at scadigan@mun.ca.

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