Thompson Rivers University

TRU to become research hub for ecosystem recovery

August 22, 2018

Lauchlan Fraser

We see them just about everywhere—on the sides of mountains after a logging operation has wrapped up, and on hillsides marked by mining—wherever we extract resources, we disturb the environment.

To limit this disturbance and restore ecosystems requires coordination between government, researchers, industry, Indigenous groups and community stakeholders.

Dr. Lauchlan Fraser is at the forefront of research that will aid in this recovery process, as TRU’s first ever NSERC Industrial Research Chair (IRC) in Ecosystem Reclamation. This investment, valued at more than $2.5 million, creates a research hub for ecosystem recovery and environmental sustainability at TRU, one that supports the development of reclamation technologies, tools and protocols that can be exported globally. The establishment of an IRC at TRU provides project funding for trainees and new researchers to study soil amendments, biodiversity and climate change in the context of ecosystem reclamation.

“We will advance and enhance research currently taking place to find ways to increase the speed with which we can restore disturbed ecosystems,” Fraser explained. “We’ll be moving into new research areas, pushing forward and expanding the envelope of our understanding.”

Partners that have supported TRU in the establishment of the IRC include Metro Vancouver, New Gold New Afton, Teck Highland Valley Copper mine, Genome British Columbia, the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Arrow Transportation, Geoscience BC, Kinder Morgan Canada, and the BC Cattlemen’s Association.

Along with these industry and community pledges, valued at nearly $1.8 million, the IRC includes a federal investment of $875,000, and is one of the largest research grants in TRU’s history.

Industrial Research Chairs are intended to create mutually beneficial collaborations between Canadian universities and private or public sector partners leading to advancements that result in benefits for Canada and Canadians. These prestigious federal awards also provide enhanced experiential learning environment for graduate students.

Fraser, along with a dedicated team of researchers and administrators, has been building toward this initiative for three years. “I’m very grateful for all the support that TRU has provided. This has been a huge team effort.”

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