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Alvin Simms, PhD

Department of Geography
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NL
A1B 3X9

Office: SN 2019
Tel: (709) 864-2512
Fax: (709) 864-3119

E mail: asimms[at]

I am a Geographer who utilizes spatial modeling and regional analytic methods to develop decision support systems (DSS) that can be used for regional economic impact analysis and planning. My undergraduate studies were competed in quantitative Economic Geography at Memorial University. Graduate studies, with a focus on Quantitative Geography and GIS/Spatial Analysis, were completed at the University of Calgary. 

Teaching Interests

GIS, Spatial Analysis, Regional Analytics, Medical Geography, Quantitative Methods.     

Research Interests

  • Regional Economic Impact Analysis
  • Demographics
  • Medical Geography (Health Services and Well Being)
  • Spatial Decision Support Systems
  • Modelling Spatial Interactions 
  • Industry and Transportation Supply Chains
  • Downscaling and Spatialization of Input-Output Models
  • Functional Economic Regions
  • Data Mining and Statistical Analysis 

Current Research

  • Analyzing Industry-to-Occupation and Industry-to-Industry Dependencies and Linkages: A Regional Analytical Approach to Understanding the Labour Force Supply Issues in The Atlantic Provinces ACOA APRI grant  
  • An Investigation into the Supply Chain Operation Landscape Serving the Island of Newfoundland; Funding Source Transport Canada
  • Identifying and Using Functional Regions for Economic Development; Funding source: ACOA Atlantic Policy Research Initiative (APRI)
  • Regional Economic Impact Analysis and Industry Supply Chains: An Applied Case Study of Pulp-and Paper, Aquaculture and Mining in Newfoundland and Labrador, NL ACOA
  • Addressing Demographic Change on the Burin Peninsula: Population Attraction and Retention Burin Peninsula, Regional Council of the Rural Secretariat Rural-Urban Interaction in Newfoundland and Labrador; Funding source: Human Resources and Skill Development Canada - Employment Benefit and Support Measures, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • A Multi-level Model of the Effects of Primary Care Reform on Ambulatory Care Sensitive Hospital Outcomes; Funding source: CIHR operating grant
  • Testing the feasibility and process of establishing an online Spatio-temporal information system for chronic diseases in Newfoundland; Funding source: NL-HARP

Publications and Reports

  • Simms A., Freshwater, D., and J. Ward 2014 The Rural Economic Capacity Index (RECI): A Benchmarking Tool to Support Community-Based Economic Development, Accepted for publication in Economic Development Quarterly, SAGE Publications, Winter 2014
  • Freshwater, D, A. Simms, J. Ward (2014) Local Labour Markets as a New Way of Organizing Policies for Stronger Regional Economic Development in Atlantic Canada, ACOA, Moncton (in print)
  • Simms, A., D. Freshwater, J. Ward 2013 The development of a methodology to delineate and classify functional economic regions for regional planning and development: A case study of the Atlantic Provinces. ACOA, Moncton
  • Ward, J., A. Simms 2010 Final Report: Burin Peninsula Rural Secretariat Region: A Demographic Analysis, Rural Secretariat, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Freshwater, D., A. Simms and K. Vodden 2011 Defining Regions for Building Economic Development Capacity in Newfoundland and Labrador, Harris Centre, MUN, October, 2011
  • Murray M., MacDonald D., Simms, A, Fowler K., Felt L., Edwards A. and Gates K.(2006). Community Resilience in Newfoundland : The Impact of the cod moratorium on health and social well-being. A report prepared for Health Canada, Ottawa. 175p


Conference Presentations/Papers

  • D. Freshwater, A. Simms and J. Ward 2014 Examining Economic Development in Atlantic Canada Using Local Labor Markets, USDA ERS Seminar, Feb, 19th, Washington DC D.

  • Freshwater, A. Simms, J. Ward 2013 Factors Affecting Productivity in Local Labor Markets In Atlantic Canada, A paper presented at the 60th North American Regional Science Council Annual Meeting, Nov. 13 – 16, Atlanta, GA
  • Simms A. , J. Ward, D. Freshwater 2013 The Development of an Objective Methodology to Delineate and Classify Functional Economic Regions for Regional Planning and Development: A Case Study of the Atlantic Provinces in Canada. A paper presented at the 52nd Southern Regional Science Association Meetings April 4-6, Washington, DC
  • Simms A., D. Freshwater, J. Ward 2012 Developing a User-Friendly Economic Assessment Tool for Rural Areas: A Case Study of Newfoundland and Labrador, A paper presented at the 51st Southern Regional Science Association Meeting March 21-25, Charlotte, NC

Invited Presentations

  • Simms, A and J. Ward 2014 Demographic Analysis: A Case for Regional Planning and Development in Newfoundland and Labrador, The Jimmy Pratt Foundation, Margaret and Wallace McCain Foundation and The Harris Centre forum on Early Child Education is Prudent Economic Development: An Economic Argument for Quality Early Learning and Care in NL, ST. John’s, NL, April 10th
  • Simms, A. 2014 Demographic Analysis: A Requirement for Regional Planning and Development, CHBA – Housing Forum 2014, St. John’s, NL Feb. 13th
  • Simms, A. 2013 Functional Economic Regions (FERs): A Guideline For Development – Souris FER, North Eastern PEI Regional Development Association, Oct. 17th, Souris, PEI
  • Simms, A., J. Ward 2012 A Regional Economic Profile of the Isthmus of Avalon (Arnold’s Cove, Come-By-Chance and Summerside), Memorial Presents Business Clusters and Regional Development: Fact or Fashion? Arnold’s Cove, Feb. 9th
  • Simms, A. and J. Ward 2010 The Clarenville Functional Region: A Regional Socio-Economic Summary. Clarenville Regional Development Board, Dec. 13th
  • Simms, A., D. Freshwater, J. Ward 2010 Functional Labour Regions and the Regional Economic Capacity Index, Local Governance, Creativity and Regional Development in Newfoundland and Labrador Symposium June 10-12th, Bauline East, NL
  • Simms, A. D. Freshwater, J. Ward 2010 The Regional Economic Capacity Index: An Innovative and Flexible Approach For Labour Market and Regional Diagnostics, Harris Centre Synergy Session, St. John’s, June, 10th