Prof Earns Award to Research Biocultural Diversity

December 14, 2009 - News Release

A University of Guelph integrative biology professor has received an international research grant to investigate biocultural diversity within aboriginal cultures in India.

Prof. Steven Newmaster was awarded the $80,000 Millennium Development Goals research grant for 2010 to 2012 by the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute to work with three aboriginal communities in assembling biodiversity knowledge and applying it to an engendered cultural approach to environmental sustainability.

The research project is a joint venture between the University of Guelph and the Centre for Biocultural Diversity in Chennai, India.

“This award speaks strongly to Guelph’s commitments to internationalism and Aboriginal Peoples as well as sustainability,” said Michael Emes, dean of the College of Biological Science.

The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute is a binational organization that promotes understanding between India and Canada through academic activities and exchanges. The institute aims to achieve gender equality and reduce poverty by focusing programming on sustainable development as well as other United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

“The award will allow us to establish an internationally recognized interdisciplinary research program in biocultural diversity,” said Newmaster. “For this specific project, we will integrate gender equality such as equal participation of women and men as decision-makers and reduction of inequalities between women and men in access and control of natural resources. This interdisciplinary approach will respond to increasingly urgent global imperatives to know and protect both cultural and biological diversity.”

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