The work of a pair of Memorial University researchers has gotten a major boost thanks to a $1.9 million investment from the federal government’s Canada Research Chair (CRC) program.
Dr. Beverley Diamond, director of Memorial’s Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media and Place (MMaP), has been renewed as the university’s Canada Research Chair in traditional music/ethnomusicology. Meanwhile, Dr. Mario Blaser, an associate professor of archeology, has been appointed as Memorial’s new Canada Research Chair in Aboriginal Studies.
The announcement was made on Wednesday, Sept. 23, by Gary Goodyear, the federal minister of state (science and technology) during an event at the University of Guelph in Ontario. In total, the federal government is investing $159.1 million to fund 181 new or renewed Canada Research Chairs at 45 Canadian universities.
As a tier one Canada Research Chair, Dr. Diamond is receiving $200,000 annually for seven years, for a total of $1.4 million. Tier one chairs, tenable for seven years and renewable, are for outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields.
Dr. Blaser is receiving $100,000 annually for five years, for a total of $500,000 for his work as a tier two chair which is tenable for five years and renewable once. Tier two chairs are for exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field.
Memorial is now home to 26 Canada Research Chairs studying diverse topics such as healthy aging, Irish history and cold ocean systems.
“The exemplary work of these dedicated researchers has put Memorial on the map,” said Dr. Ray Gosine, vice-president (research) pro tempore. “Our university is home to international experts on issues affecting people, communities and industries around the world. I congratulate both Bev and Mario on their successful Canada Research Chair appointments and I look forward to following the excellent research that they will undertake in their Chairs.”
As the country’s first and still only tier one Canada Research Chair in a music discipline, Dr. Diamond, who is cross-appointed with Memorial’s Faculty of Arts and School of Music, is internationally recognized for her work as an ethnomusicologist.
She said her Canada Research Chair renewal will allow her to further study indigenous music cultures.
“The privilege of serving for seven more years as a CRC will hopefully enable me to finish books that emanate from two large-scale research projects,” she said.
Those projects include an examination of indigenous modernities while the other will focus on the social history of audio recording in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Of equal importance, the renewal will hopefully provide time and resources to take the MMaP Research Centre into a second phase of development as we try to make it serve effectively as an enabler of community-based research initiatives.”
Dr. Blaser’s research will build on his work and collaborations with colleagues and Aboriginal leaders from North and South America.
“This position and the infrastructural support that comes with it will allow me to focus on a life commitment and passion: learning from and with aboriginal communities how to nurture a meaning of good life that is inclusive and sensitive to the wonderful diversity that exists on Earth, both human and non-human,” he said.
The Canada Research Chair program offers eligible Canadian universities the opportunity to nominate outstanding researchers for professorships in areas that will further overall research priorities and maximize their contributions as centres of research and research training.
“Canada’s government is investing in science and technology to strengthen the economy, improve Canadians’ quality of life and create the jobs of tomorrow – today,” said Minister Goodyear. “The Canada Research Chairs Program helps attract and retain the best researchers from the country and around the world to Canadian universities, which has direct benefits for our communities.”
The 181 chairholders targeted in the latest round of appointments will conduct research in many different fields, with potential benefits for policy-makers, business, health and education, as well as Canadians in general.