Nunavik Research Centre (Northern Science Award 2018, Community-based research)

Nunavik Research Centre (Northern Science Award 2018, Community-based research)

For 40 years the Nunavik Research Centre, in Kuujjuaq, Quebec, has been conducting community-based science that serves the needs of Inuit. Envisioned, created, and owned by Inuit through the Makivik Corporation, the Centre has been at the forefront of developing research methodologies that incorporate scientific and Indigenous knowledge.

Among the Nunavik Research Centre’s many projects are environmental studies that help protect the health of people in Nunavik. Assisted by local citizens, its ecotoxicological laboratory monitors fish, marine mammals, waterfowl, and caribou for contaminants and heavy metals, and has contributed to the establishment of hunting quotas and limits on the consumption of mercury-containing country food. Its walrus- meat testing program has eliminated the trichinellosis outbreaks that were once common in Nunavik communities.

Many of the Centre’s highly qualified staff are Inuit, and through training and strong links with other research institutions it is helping to develop the new scientists, from both northern and southern Canada, who will form the next generation of northern researchers.

Through its leadership and its dedication to community-based research that uses science, Indigenous knowledge, and partnerships to improve the lives of people in northern communities, and contribute to humanity’s knowledge of the Arctic, the Nunavik Research Centre has won the respect of the Inuit it serves, and of arctic researchers across Canada and around the world.

Left to right: Richard Boudreault (Chairperson, Polar Knowledge Canada), Ellen Avard (Director, Nunavik Research Centre), Her Excellency the Right Honorable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada (photo: OSGG-BSGG)

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