Academic in Residence

Jump ahead to upcoming events!


Hosted by Signal Hill Campus and operated by the Office of Public Engagement, Memorial University's Academic in Residence (AIR) program invites an academic to visit Memorial University and immerse themselves in the university community through collaborative work and programming.

Throughout the duration of the program, the academic will be expected to participate in campus and public engagement activities. This will allow them to connect with students, faculty, and the public, and share their expertise and research with these new audiences. These activities and interactions with the academic will help to enrich the university and the outside community.

Read about the AIR  Program in the Gazette.

Fall 2023 - Spring 2024: Dr. Richard Shearmur

Dr. Richard Shearmur is Memorial's inaugural AIR, sponsored by the Department of Geography

A picture of Richard Shearmur at Signal Hill Campus

Dr. Shearmur has been professor of economic geography at the McGill School of Urban Planning since 2013, and directed the School between 2017 and 2023. Prior to that he was editor-in-chief of Urban Geography from 2010 to 2017, a tenure which overlapped with his time as professor at the University of Québec's INRS (Institut National de Recherche Scientifique), where he began his academic career in 1998. After his undergraduate degree (Cambridge), and prior to completing his Master's (McGill) and PhD (Université de Montréal), he worked for five years as a real estate consultant in England and France.

The basic question that drives his research concerns the location of economic activity, and, by extension, local and regional economic development (since economic activity must locate, emerge, or remain in places where development is sought). He has undertaken research on regional development policy, on the connection between location and firm-level innovation, on the connection between innovation and local development (with particular focus on more isolated regions), and on how economic activity locates within cities and metropolitan areas. This research has led him to question what is meant by the 'location' of economic activity in a context where economic actors, as well as their ideas, are mobile. It has also led him to consider what a 'periphery' is and how innovation occurs there. He has published over 200 papers on these topics, as well as a variety of reports and books.

Shearmur will be staying in the Signal Hill Campus Graduate Student Accommodations from September 2023 to April 2024.

Keep an eye out: He is being sponsored by the Department of Geography, which will be hosting events for students and others during the Fall, and will also be partnering with the Harris Centre on various events this and next semester.

You can reach Dr. Shearmur at


Upcoming Events


Student Office Hours

A picture of many graduate students sitting in the Yaffle connects space talking to Richard Shearmur

Once a month, Richard will meet with graduate students (those living in the residence as well as others) at lunchtime (food will be provided) in an informal setting to answer their questions about life as an academic. Students will be prompted to come with their own questions on various topics for Richard, and Richard will also focus on various topics that develop as he spends more time here.

Please feel free to reach out to Richard or Mandy ahead of time, with any questions you might want to ask. We ask that students register, to help us plan lunch, but it's not required--students should feel free to drop by whenever they are available, and come and go as they please (but if you do register, you can let us know what you like on your pizza!).

  • Richard's first Student Office Hours took place on September 22nd (Friday) at 12pm, and we had a great time hearing from Memorial's graduate students, who asked questions such as "how do I get published?" and "how can I use the skills I develop in grad school in the world outside academia?"
  • These events take place in the Yaffle Connects space of Emera Innovation Exchange (the space "under the stairs," on the first level).
    • Next event is planned for October 23rd (12pm, Yaffle Connects Space): here's the link to register (or scan QR code, below)
    • And stay tuned for November 28th (12p, Yaffle Connects Space)--check back for registration and more details. 

A picture of Richard Shearmur alongside details of his upcoming event--all information repeated in the text of this webpage


Innovation Conversations

Once or twice a month, we will hold a public programming session that revolves around a sub-topic related to Richard’s research in regional innovation, the impacts of technology on work, urban and regional development, the Ocean Super Cluster, and more.

These sessions will feature guests from both within and outside of Memorial, and will take place in-person (and be live-streamed for those joining via Zoom), usually at Emera Innovation Exchange, but also on St. John's campus.

  • "Canada's Ocean Supercluster Initiative: A National Policy in Regional Clothing?" will take place on 18 October 2023 at 3:30pm NDT on the first level, room 1309, of the new Core Sciences Facilities building on Arctic Ave.
  • Featuring Cathy Hogan, CEO of OceansAdvance, as moderator, and Dr. David Doloreux of HEC Montreal, in conversation with Dr. Shearmur.
  • Parking is available for free on Level 3 of Lot 27.

Scan the QR code below or click here to register to attend this first session.

A picture advertising the first innovation conversation; all details on this image are repeated in the body of the text of this webpage



This page is continuously being updated. Check back frequently for news!

For any general questions about the AIR program, please email Mandy at