Carleton University faculty received approximately $1.5 million from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grants to fund inquiry into topics ranging from pandemic misinformation and reducing corporate greenhouse gas emissions to youth mental health and the Sixties Scoop. A total of 24 Carleton researchers will benefit from the grants, which were announced today.

“The SSHRC Insight Development Program is essential for researchers who are developing new areas or techniques in their research,” said Rafik Goubran, vice-president (Research and International). “Carleton’s notable success in this competition speaks to the leadership and calibre of our award-winning researchers in important areas such as Indigenous issues, climate change, health and wellness and sustainability.”

SSHRC’s Insight Development Grants support research in its initial stages. The grants enable the development of new research questions, as well as experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches and ideas.

As Canada moves into the second year of the pandemic, public health attempts to control the novel coronavirus have been confronted by two specific problems that started long before 2020. The first is the systematic underfunding of public health institutions that has led to an erosion of public trust. The second is a media ecosystem in which misinformation, conspiracy theories and rumours travel faster and farther than accurate information.

Michael Christensen, professor in the department of law and legal studies, will use SSHRC funding to develop a new way to understand and address these problems, and specifically the related persistence of vaccine hesitancy and anti­vaccination campaigns. His project offers a nuanced approach for understanding the cultural narratives that connect vaccine misinformation to other social and political issues, such as right-wing politics and religious ideology, leading to online communities resistant to fact checking.

The climate crisis is one of the most critical emergencies of our time. It is estimated that just 100 corporations are responsible for 71 per cent of all carbon emissions. Reducing corporate greenhouse gas emissions requires behavioural change that has traditionally been driven by financial incentives.

Prof. Leanne Keddie, Sprott School of Business, will use SSHRC funding to measure the effectiveness of incorporating social and environmental targets into executive bonus plans using artificial intelligence. Roughly 40 per cent of the S&P 500 use these types of incentives, but there is little understanding of who influences their use, when they might be misused, what the effects are, and how best to use them.

Prof. Stefania Maggi, childhood and youth studies and the department of psychology, will receive funding to look into the paradoxical situation involving young people and climate change. Young people are told that they are the future, and at the same time are denied meaningful participation in key processes of decision making. Though global youth activism has grown exponentially, its impact has been minimal. This frustration leads to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and disempowerment.

Maggi’s project aims to assess the extent to which climate change is causing emotional distress among Canadian youth and help develop a social media campaign to promote resilience and emotional wellbeing.

The Sixties Scoop has become synonymous with Indigenous child displacement practices that spanned from 1951 until 1991, where Indigenous children were taken from their families and placed in non-Indigenous homes. While the Sixties Scoop has been the topic of recent academic attention, the connection between survivors and their experiences in the criminal justice system has not been explored. Carleton’s Natasha Stirrett, professor in the institute of criminology and criminal justice, is using SSHRC funding to explore the role of criminalization and punishment in the specific experiences, resiliencies and struggles of Sixties Scoop survivors.

Practically, this project will lead to community mobilization, knowledge transfer and policy recommendations on child welfare and the criminal justice system for individuals, frontline workers and organizations to understand how social problems resulting from the removal of children and the systematic targeting of Indigenous families are criminalized.

Media Contact
Steven Reid (he/him)
Media Relations Officer
Carleton University

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Tuesday, August 31, 2021 in
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