Grad Students Named Vanier Scholars

September 25, 2013 - News Release

Two University of Guelph PhD students have received Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, the most prestigious doctoral awards in Canada.

Warren Dodd and Lisa Ohberg were among 165 recipients of the awards announced this week by Greg Rickford, minister of state (science and technology). Worth $50,000 a year for up to three years, the scholarships recognize leading Canadian and international doctoral students at Canadian universities.

"The recipients of these prestigious awards are carrying out research that promises to produce breakthroughs in many fields and make significant contributions to enhancing Canada's social and economic growth,” Rickford said.

Dodd is pursuing a collaborative PhD in epidemiology and international development studies -- a Canadian first offered at U of G.

“It’s because of this unique program that I decided to complete my doctoral studies here,” he said. “I am thankful for the strong support and training I have received at U of G and the space that has been provided for me to pursue my interdisciplinary research interests.”

Dodd studies small-scale farming households in southern India and connections among labour migration, health and food security. “My hope is that my research will contribute to broader dialogue around the use of epidemiology as a tool for community development and engagement in both local and international contexts,” he said.

His work is part of a larger interdisciplinary and multinational project funded by the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund that involves researchers across campus. The research is supervised by Prof. Cate Dewey, chair of the Department of Population Medicine, and sociology professor Sally Humphries, director of the international development studies program.

Dodd is also a project manager at the Research Shop/Institute for Community Engaged Scholarship, where he works on several local community-based research projects. A former U of G President’s Scholar, he earned his bachelor’s degree in international development in 2011.

Ohberg studies local food systems and community food security with geography professor Evan Fraser. “I feel delighted and honored to be receiving this prestigious scholarship,” she said. “I am excited by the possibilities this scholarship opens for my research as well as the opportunity to deepen my connection to communities of research and practice. I am very grateful.”

Ohberg says many Canadians working on food systems are looking at local and community-based approaches. “My research explores the role of these place-based approaches to food security in the development of a more sustainable and just food system.”

Originally from the Toronto area, Ohberg earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resource management and a master’s degree in geography from the University of Toronto.

The highly competitive Vanier Graduate Scholarships were created by the federal government in 2008 to attract and retain world-class doctoral students. Nominees are evaluated by multidisciplinary peer-review committees and selected by Canadian and international experts.

The scholarships are administered by Canada’s three federal research granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or

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