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Trent University to Aid First Nations Water Management in National $1.6 Million Program


H20 CREATE the first collaborative research and training program to bring Indigenous approach to water infrastructure

Wednesday, August 28, 2013, Peterborough

Trent University will offer Indigenous and watershed expertise in collaboration on the newly funded H20 CREATE Program for Water and Sanitation Security in First Nations, a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary research and training initiative that will enable students to add to their academic achievements the valuable job skills that are necessary in today’s labour market.

“The H2O CREATE program provides an opportunity for Trent University to contribute our expertise in Indigenous Environmental Studies and water management to the pressing issue of safe drinking water in First Nations communities in Canada,” said Dr. Chris Metcalfe, director of the Institute for Watershed Science at Trent. “Students will benefit by working with faculty and industry professionals to develop technical and research skills, along with leadership, entrepreneurship, communication and project-management skills.”

Announced by The Honourable Greg Rickford, minister of State (Science and Technology), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) will fund the H20 CREATE Program, led by Dr. Farenhorst at the University of Manitoba, $1.65 million over six years (2013-2019) through the Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) initiative.

Leading researchers from Trent University, the University of Manitoba, and the University College of the North will establish an innovative and culturally-respectful research training program that will provide a highly-trained labour force and innovative system that is urgently needed to address the Canadian water and sanitation crisis in First Nations communities.

Trent University’s Institute for Watershed Science, along with Trent’s Department of Indigenous Environmental Studies, will collaborate on the H20 CREATE initiative and provide expertise to address skills gaps – by combining technical training through applied water and wastewater research with the professional and cultural skills training required to work collaboratively with First Nations communities.

Potential employers may interact with trainees by providing work terms and student training workshops, as well as by serving as advisors on trainees’ research projects. Undergraduate and graduate level trainees will have excellent opportunities to transition into the workforce after participating through the program in work-study projects in association with tribal councils, First Nations organizations, engineering firms, environmental consultingservices, non-profit organizations, and governments. The H2O CREATE program is the first training program in Canada to combine technical water and wastewater management training with Indigenous theory, law and methodological skills training.

“This team-based training is providing a valuable experience for students and postdoctoral fellows to learn practical skills and to engage in cutting-edge, multidisciplinary and, in some cases, international research,” said Isabelle Blain, vice-president of Research Grants and Scholarships at NSERC. “Exposing our trainees to an innovative, collaborative training environment will enable them to succeed in careers that contribute to the world’s top research.”

Trent participants in H20 CREATE include Dr. Chris Metcalfe, from the Department of Environmental Resource Science/Studies and Dr. Chris Furgal (IES), Dr. Raul Ponce-Hernandez (ERS/Geography), Dr. Tom Whillans (ERS) and Dr. Jim Buttle (Geography). The Institute for Watershed Science at Trent will share organizational responsibilities for the program with the University of Manitoba.

The Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Program supports the training of teams of highly qualified students and postdoctoral fellows from Canada and abroad through the development of innovative training programs that encourage collaborative and integrative approaches, and address significant scientific challenges associated with Canada’s research priorities; and facilitate the transition of new researchers from trainees to productive employees in the Canadian workforce.

NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 postsecondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging about 2,400 Canadian companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects.

About Trent University
One of Canada’s top universities, Trent University was founded on the ideal of collaborative learning that’s personal, purposeful and transformative. Consistently recognized nationally for leadership in teaching, research and student satisfaction, Trent attracts excellent students from across the country and around the world. Here, undergraduate and graduate students connect and collaborate with faculty, staff and their peers through diverse communities that span residential colleges, classrooms, disciplines, hands-on research, co-curricular and community-based activities. Across all disciplines, Trent brings critical, integrative thinking to life every day. As the University prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014, Trent’s unique approach to personal development through supportive, collaborative community engagement is in more demand than ever. Students lead the way by co-creating experiences rooted in dialogue, diverse perspectives and collaboration. In a learning environment that builds life-long passion for inclusion, leadership and social change, Trent’s students, alumni, faculty and staff are engaged global citizens who are catalysts in developing sustainable solutions to complex issues. Trent’s Peterborough campus boasts award-winning architecture in a breathtaking natural setting on the banks of the Otonabee River, just 90 minutes from downtown Toronto, while Trent University Oshawa delivers a distinct mix of programming in the GTA.

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For more information, please contact:  An Kosurko, communications officer, 705-748-1011 ext. 6182


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