The University of Alberta’s Engage North initiative and IC-IMPACTS Centre of Excellence are partnering to offer graduate fellowships this summer. The 2017 Community Engagement Fellowship Program offers opportunities for graduate students to work with northern Canadian First Nations and Inuit communities on four-month long community-identified projects, which will help to provide capacity and respond to challenges facing a community’s health, sustainability, and prosperity.
The Community Engagement Fellowship Program has been envisioned to achieve the following:
- Develop awareness and understanding of the unique challenges faced by Northern and Indigenous communities in Canada;
- Develop a trust relationship between the target partner community, Engage North, IC- IMPACTS and the research community as a whole;
- Provide highly qualified talent to tackle community-identified applied projects;
- Create a pathway for knowledge sharing and develop a knowledge mobilization bridge between the community, Engage North and IC-IMPACTS;
- Provide highly qualified assessment and advising on existing technologies that may solve community specific challenges in the areas of infrastructure, water management, and public health;
- Identify capacity building needs and training along with skill development requirements and opportunities to ensure the effective uptake of new technology solutions within the community and to enable enhanced participation by community members in their future economic development.
Applications Open: Monday, February 27, 2017
Applications Close: Friday, March 17, 2017
Acceptance Notification (for Interview Process): Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Interview Dates: Thursday, March 23 and Friday, March 24, 2017
Pre-Departure Briefing dates: May 1-11, 2017 (at the University of Alberta)
Departure to Communities: May 12, 2017
Debriefing Dates: August 24-25, 2017 (hosted at the University of Alberta)
2017 Community Engagement Fellowship Program
In Summer 2017 (May – August), two graduate Fellowship projects will be available in the Yellowknives Dene First Nations (YKDFN) communities of Ndilo and Dettah, Northwest Territories.
Graduate Community Engagement Fellows will engage in an applied employment-style project on a half-time basis. The other 50% of their time will be dedicated to developing a deep understanding of the challenges of the community in relation to IC-IMPACTS thematic research areas; investigating, assessing and advising the community on existing technology solutions that may address their challenges in these areas; and identifying technology gaps that could be developed into specific research projects where innovative, low-resource, customized, and culturally appropriate solutions could be developed to benefit the community and advance the IC-IMPACTS research agenda. As part of their deliverables from the fellowship, they will be required to prepare written research opportunity profiles, as well as provide written assessments and recommendations regarding existing technologies that might address some of the most pressing challenges currently facing the community. Fellows will work in partnership with community members and will report directly to the community regarding their shared project.
Graduate Fellows will be matched with a community advisor who can provide community representation on project results, and can support and guide fellowship projects. Fellows will also be assigned an IC-IMPACTS research mentor as well, who will provide technical and logistical support during the fellowship.
Fellows will also be expected to partake in aspects of community life in order to increase their ability to work constructively with and understand the culture of the community in which they are placed, as well as to gain first-hand experience with the issues currently faced by northern and Indigenous communities. This could include, but is not limited to:
- Spending time out “on the land” hunting, trapping, or fishing
- Participating in community festivals, events, and cultural activities
- Visiting other rural areas to understand community needs
- Building relationships with community elders/leaders
- Engaging with youth and promoting pathways for seeking post-secondary education
- Engaging with young children and acting as healthy role models
During their placement, Fellows will be provided with educational initiatives that will span language, culture, and history of their placement community. The Fellowship Program aims to create a reciprocal and synergistic experience for the Fellow and their community, mobilizing knowledge transfer in both directions. Fellows contribute to the community through their project work, and bring back their firsthand experiences to share with their home communities.
Prior to their placements, Fellows will participate in a comprehensive pre-departure training program. Fellows will also participate in a formal debriefing/re-entry session immediately following the conclusion of their placement.
Logistics & Funding
The following elements are coordinated and funded through the Fellowship program:
- One-week pre-departure training for Fellows in Edmonton, Alberta (first week of May 2017);
- Fellow’s travel and accommodation, if required, to the pre-departure training;
- Fellows’ travel to and from their home community to the placement community at the beginning and end of the placement;
- Debriefing/re-entry session in Edmonton immediately following conclusion of Fellowships (prior to returning to home community) will be held during the last week of August 2017;
- Fellows’ accommodation within the placement community for the period of the fellowship
NOTE: Fellows will be living in community-provided housing, which may involve shared accommodations, and Fellows will be responsible for preparing their own meals;
- A food allowance of $200 per week provided directly to each Fellow on a monthly basis;
- A Fellowship Stipend of $2,000 per month provided directly to each Fellow on a monthly basis; and,
- Other types of support such as language learning opportunities; communications support; and healthcare provisions as necessary.
NOTE: Further details regarding the disbursement of funds by Engage North will be made available to the Fellows upon acceptance to the program.