Barbara Neis

Member of the Order of Canada,
John Lewis Paton Distinguished Research Professor,
Department of Sociology
Co-Director of the SafetyNet Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research,
Principal Investigator on the Community-University Research for Recovery Alliance
INCO Innovation Centre 3046,
Phone: 709 864 7244

Research Interests

Since the introduction of the cod moratorium in Newfoundland and Labrador, Barb Neis has become a familiar presence in many of the outports affected. She has developed considerable expertise in the fields of work, health and labour in coastal settlements as a primary investigator on several university projects that take their lead from the pressing social and economic needs of local people. Her efforts to decrease the health risks to workers in crab processing plants are particularly valued and she has played an important part in opening channels of communication between fish harvesters and processors, and fisheries and health scientists, social investigators and policy-makers. In recent years a Trudeau Foundation fellowship enabled her to conduct research with applications in maritime settlements in and beyond Canada, though sensitivity to the global dynamics of pressure on fish stocks have long characterized her work. Neis’ dual concerns for social welfare and for the natural environment are furthered in research across disciplinary and geographical borders which draws upon feminist scholarship. She is currently developing a new national research partnership looking at employment-related geographical mobility including in fisheries, oil and gas, mining, the service and other sectors.


Neis first taught as a contractual instructor in the Sociology Department at Memorial in the 1980s. Now with a substantial record of publishing, presentations at international conferences and research (funded by SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR, CRIAW and CURA), she takes pleasure in encouraging graduate students embarking on their first research. She holds Memorial’s highest distinction the John Lewis Paton Distinguished Professorship, in addition to having been a Trudeau Foundation fellow. Her scholarship and activism has been recognized in the Margaret Lowe Benston Award (1993) and the Atlantic Centre of Excellence in Women’s Health Leadership Award for Women’s Health in Atlantic Canada (2002). In 2008 she received an honorary degree from the University of Tromsø and in 2017 was made a member of the Order of Canada.


  • B.A., Honours, Glendon College, York University, Toronto, 1975
  • M.A. Memorial University, St. John's, 1980.
  • Ph.D.University of Toronto, Toronto, 1988.

Select Publications

Photo credit: Sheilagh O'Leary


Maritime Studies Research Unit

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000