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REF NO.: 59

SUBJECT: New funding for employment diversity research

DATE: May 6

Memorial University’s Harris Centre, with funding from the West White Rose Project co-venture partners, has a new research fund available to help better understand how to improve participation of under-represented groups in the resource sector.

The Harris Centre-West White Rose Diversity Research Fund will provide up to $20,000 for research projects related to growing the pool of available qualified workers from under-represented groups in the natural resources sector in Newfoundland and Labrador, including upstream petroleum, mining and metallurgy, renewable energy, forestry, aquaculture and the capture fishery.

'Move the needle'

“The aim of the fund is to give researchers an opportunity to come together with community sector partners to help shed some light on what the challenges and barriers are for various groups, and how we can really start to move the needle on this issue,” said Dr. Rob Greenwood, associate vice-president, public engagement and external relations, and director of the Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development.

“With the current population challenges facing the province, increasing diversity in the natural resource sector is critical – not only will it help address future labour shortages and increase employment options for under-represented groups, but a diverse workforce is shown to foster innovation – something every sector needs more of.”

Barriers to employment

The fund, which focuses on supporting research in collaboration with community groups, is an opportunity to better understand the barriers faced by individuals, and work towards solutions to improve participation and grow the pool of diverse candidates for employment. Memorial University researchers interested in applying for the fund will be required to partner with a community organization working in the field of diversity to access the fund.

“In recent years, there’s been much good work done to increase the pool of diverse candidates, but there’s always room to do more,” said Kathy Knox, manager, regulatory and industrial benefits, Husky Energy. “We recognize that this is an excellent opportunity to partner with the Harris Centre in supporting their efforts in this area and are very pleased to be supporting the initiative.”  

“The research fund is designed to build on the strengths of public engagement, with university researchers and community and industry organizations, combining their efforts and expertise, and working as equal parts of the research team,” said Dr. Greenwood.

Application period open

The Harris Centre will accept research applications from May 6-31, 2019.

Funding for this program has been provided by the West White Rose Project co-venturers, specifically Husky Energy (Operator), Suncor Energy and Nalcor Energy Oil and Gas.

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For more information, please contact Cathy Newhook, manager, engagement and communications, Harris Centre, Memorial University at (709) 864-7918, cathyn@mun.ca.

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