Northern Scientific Training Program: Student's Manual 2015-2016

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Introduction

The Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP) is administered by Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR). This manual was designed to assist university students in understanding and preparing an NSTP research report and/or application for funds. The manual is organized by form, section and entry, and contains instructions which will enable university students to complete their forms in an efficient manner, while ensuring they comply thoroughly with NSTP Guidelines. The interactive forms that students must complete are available online.

The Student’s Manual has been revised slightly and those sections that have been modified since last years’ competition have been highlighted. A copy of this manual can also be found on the NSTP Internet site.

Should you have any questions, contact your university's Northern Studies Committee.

I Completing a Student Application for Funds

Students are responsible for completing this form.  All application forms must be completed online.

The NSTP application form can be found on-line.  To assist students in completing the online form, mouse-over instructions have been created for each section.  As well, a Frequently Asked Questions page is available online.

Student information

General

The NSTP provides supplementary funding to Canadian university students conducting thesis research in Northern regions.

If a student is applying from a Community College he/she must have completed two full years of an academic program.  The student must also include a separate sheet demonstrating an intention to go on to a university education.

1. Status:

Students supported by training funds must be Canadian Citizens or have the legal right of a Permanent Resident in Canada.  Students on student or visitor visas or any other kind of visa are ineligible.

2. Academic level:

The student must indicate the degree and the year he/she was enrolled in during the field work portion of the research. For field work done in the summer, the year that was just completed prior to the research should be marked, not the year being entered into in the fall.

3. Are You Applying for NSTP Funding Through Another University?

If a student has applied for NSTP funding through more than one university because they are awaiting acceptance to a new program of study, the other university(s) applied through must be indicated in the space provided.

Discipline, project, role in research

1. Discipline:

Disciplines are grouped under four general science categories.  Student projects should correspond to Human Sciences, Health Sciences, Physical Sciences, or Life Sciences.  The list on the following page should assist the students in selecting the discipline which corresponds with their program of study.

2. Program of study:

As listed on the following page, students should indicate the Program of Study in which their research falls under.  If using the term "other", please specify the program of study.

Programs of study
Human Sciences Life Sciences Physical Sciences Health Sciences
Art Agriculture/Agronomy Chemistry Traditional knowledge, traditional practice
Anthropology Biology Engineering Addiction
Archaeology Botany Geology Chronic Diseases
Communications Environmental Sciences/ Ecology Mathematics Diabetes/Obesity
Criminology Forestry Oceanography Epidemiology
Economics Resource Management Physical Geography Tuberculosis
Education Veterinary Medicine Physics Oral Health
History Zoology Other (specify) Suicide Prevention
Human Geography Other (specify)   Community Health
Law     Environmental Health
Linguistics     Gender and Health (e.g., maternal and reproductive)
Literature     Health Care Services
Management Studies     Northern Healthy Food and Nutrition
Music     Social Dimensions of Northern Health
Philosophy     Other (specify)
Political Science      
Psychology      
Recreation      
Social Work      
Sociology      
Other (specify)      

3. Title of project:

Students should provide a descriptive title for their project.

4. Brief Description of Project Including: Objective, Methodology and Significance to the Student and Keyword Search:

This is a very important part of the application since it explains the student's research project and field component. As such, the student must clearly describe the project objective, the methodology, significance of the research to the student, if this is a continuing project, an indication of where the student is in his/her research, and lastly, how the research is tied to the student's thesis work. The student, not the supervisor, should fill out this section. The description should not be a duplicate of another NSTP project, nor should it be a copy of a project description submitted by another student. The information should be typed in the space provided.

The student should provide keywords that best apply to their research project.

5. Research partners:

The student must indicate who s/he will be working with in the field, if applicable.  Please indicate their name on the first line and the organization/university they are affiliated with on the line below.  This information will assist in forming linkages for researchers working towards a common goal.

Please note that for students at the graduate level Research Partners should be professionals, non-governmental organizations, or companies, etc. that are actively participating in the research project.  Academic supervisors, other students, and technicians do not qualify as "partners" even if they are active participants on the project.

6. Fieldwork location(s):

The student must cite the primary fieldwork location and whenever possible, note a nearby community, a settlement, a landmark such as a mountain range, lake, river, and provide the geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude).  This is to ensure that the student's fieldwork location falls within the NSTP geographical boundary and so the NSTP Secretariat can generate graphs and maps of where students are proposing their fieldwork (http://www.polarcom.gc.ca/eng/content/map).

Period in the North, Funds

1. Estimated Number of Days in the North:

The student must indicate the period to be spent in the North, ensuring that the exact field season dates are recorded.  This allows the Committee to determine the number of days the student will spend in the North, and whether the research falls within a summer or a winter project. For shorter field durations (e.g. under 21 days) the student should explain “why” in Section D: Period in the Field. Even where a shorter sojourn is justified, when possible, students are encouraged to spend a longer time in the field to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the North.

2. Continuing Project from Previous Year(s):

The student must also indicate whether the project is a new one, or whether it is one from the previous year(s).  In the latter instance, the student must indicate whether he/she has received funding under the NSTP or another program for the same project before.

3. Total NSTP Support - Previous Year(s):

If the student was previously funded by the NSTP, enter the amount that was granted.

4. Total Expected Cost of Fieldwork Component of Project:

The student must specify the total expected cost of the fieldwork portion of his/her entire project for this year, not just the portion subsidized by NSTP funds.

5. NSTP Support Requested this Year:

Requested
In this section of the application the student is required to give the dollar amount being sought through NSTP, keeping in mind that the average allocation is between $2500 - $3000.
 
Total Estimated Cost
This column was created to capture the actual (real) costs of the fieldwork component. For instance, if the student is applying for $2500 from the NSTP, this column is where the student would put the full estimated costs for the field work.

6. Other Source(s) and Amount(s) of Funding and/or Support Applied for:

Given the supplemental nature of NSTP funds, it is important to identify other sources of funding and/or support, the amounts received, applied for and the amounts secured (e.g. grant, bursary, scholarship, subsidies).  When quoting a supervisor’s or group grant/fund, please indicate only that portion that will be applied against the individual student research proposed and not the value of the entire grant.  The disclosure of this information is important because it reflects the effort made by a student to obtain appropriate funding for the research project.

Moreover, students should note that they cannot be employed or remunerated for any portion of their research project.  If they are applying for an NSTP grant, external employment or remuneration funds should not be considered a source of funding for any project.

Research Assistantships or other university stipends are not considered as employment in this context.

Supervisor Recommendations

The student's supervisor is responsible for the completion of this section.  Recommendations should focus on how the fieldwork relates to the student's future northern research as well as how the field work will benefit the student.

In the case of a team project, the supervisor should provide individual recommendations for each student's portion of the field work.

Ethical Principles, Research Licence(s)/Permit(s)

Students must be acquainted with the ethical principles of doing research in the North.  The student's signature confirms that he/she has read the booklet Ethical Principles for the Conduct of Research in the North (http://www.acuns.ca/indexen.htm) and that he/she will abide by those principles.

The student must indicate what he/she has done or will do to obtain the local community's approval prior to his/her sojourn in the North, as well as which agency he/she has or will contact to obtain the requisite licence(s)/permit(s).  Obtaining a research licence or permit to conduct research in the North is a legal obligation punishable by fines.

Understanding of this licencing process constitutes an important component of the student's training experience in the North.  It also helps ensure that NSTP funded research will be conducted ethically, and will respect the cultural aspects of northern communities (see: Ethical Principles for the Conduct of Research in the North). The ethical principles requirement has the added benefit of ensuring each student's safety in the field, and promotes the exchange of information on northern projects among scientists and residents of the North.

The student's and the supervisor's signature confirms that the research will be conducted in accordance with the ethical principles.  Students should ensure that the supervisor's name is also typed in this section of the application.
 
The application form has been altered to make is easier to indicate where the student is at in the licensing process.  It is important to identify where and when the licence has been applied for as well as whether the licence has been approved or if it is pending. The disclosure of this information is important because it eliminates any confusion that the representatives from the licensing agencies may have if the project is not indicated on their internal reports which they bring to the NSTP Allocation meeting.
 
FAILURE BY A STUDENT TO THOROUGHLY COMPLETE THIS SECTION WILL RESULT IN A REJECTION OF HIS/HER APPLICATION.

Research Projects In Northern Regions Of Other Circumpolar Countries

In the case of students applying to undertake research in other circumpolar countries, the first step is the completion of the NSTP application.  International projects should meet all the criteria that presently apply to projects in the Canadian North.  In addition, the student must provide the following information on the online form:

  • relevancy of the foreign study to Northern Studies in Canada -- a direct link needs to be seen on how the proposed research will benefit Northern Studies in Canada;
  • relevancy of the foreign study to previous and planned work by the student in the Canadian North;
  • organizational and financial support provided in the host country; and,
  • reference to any authorizations and licences required to conduct research in the host country.

FAILURE TO PROVIDE INFORMATION IN ALL FOUR AREAS WILL RESULT IN A REJECTION OF THE APPLICATION.
 
Note that this justification must be provided each time that a student plans to conduct international research.  Therefore, even if the research is a continuation of previous years, the justification must be provided again.
 
In addition to the criteria listed above, the following geographic location directives should be applied:

  • The research should be carried out in one of the seven Arctic countries as identified in the Arctic Council.
  • The southern limit of discontinuous permafrost (Brown Line) serves as the general boundary.
  • Research projects carried out in all of Alaska, except for the "panhandle" are eligible.
  • Consideration will be given for research carried out in all areas of Greenland (Denmark).
  • For Iceland, eligibility will be determined on a case by case examination.
  • For determination of eligibility of research carried out in Russia, the southern limit of discontinuous permafrost, north of the 58E latitude, will be the effective parameter.  In addition, the entire territory of the Kamchatka Oblast, the Magadan Oblast and Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) will be considered eligible.  Areas outside of the discontinuous permafrost zone but adjacent to the Arctic Ocean will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Applications for support for research in Norway, Sweden and Finland will be considered on a case by case basis ensuring that there is strong relevance to northern studies in Canada.

II Completing a Student Research Report

Once the student has completed the fieldwork portion of their study, he/she should contact the Chairperson of the university's Northern Studies Committee or go to the NSTP website to complete a Student Research Report form.  Students are responsible for the completion of this form.  All report forms must be completed online.

The NSTP report form can be found here. To assist students in completing the online form, mouse-over instructions have been created for each section.  As well, a “Frequently Asked Questions” page is available online.

Student information

NOTE: The NSTP provides supplementary funding to Canadian university students conducting thesis research in Northern regions.

1. Status:

Students supported by NSTP funds must be Canadian Citizens or have the legal right of a Permanent Resident in Canada.  Students on student or visitor visas or any other kind of visa are ineligible.

2. Academic level:

The student must indicate the degree and the year he/she was enrolled in during the field work portion of the research.  For field work done in the summer, the year that was just completed prior to the research should be indicated, not the year being entered into in the fall.

Discipline, project, role in research

1. Discipline:

Disciplines are grouped under four general science categories. Student projects should correspond to Human Sciences, Health Sciences, Physical Sciences, or Life Sciences.  The list on the following page should assist the students in selecting the discipline that corresponds with their program of study.

2. Program of study:

As listed on the following page, students should indicate the Program of Study in which their research falls under. If using the term "other", please specify the program of study.

Programs of study
Human Sciences Life Sciences Physical Sciences Health Sciences
Art Agriculture/Agronomy Chemistry Traditional knowledge, traditional practice
Anthropology Biology Engineering Addiction
Archaeology Botany Geology Chronic Diseases (e.g., cancer, diabetes)
Communications Environmental Sciences/ Ecology Mathematics Diabetes/Obesity
Criminology Forestry Oceanography Epidemiology
Economics Resource Management Physical Geography Tuberculosis
Education Veterinary Medicine Physics Oral Health
History Zoology Other (specify) Suicide Prevention
Human Geography Other (specify)   Community Health
Law     Environmental Health
Linguistics     Gender and Health (e.g., maternal and reproductive)
Literature     Health Care Services
Management Studies     Northern Healthy Food and Nutrition
Music     Social Dimensions of Northern Health
Philosophy     Other (specify)
Political Science      
Psychology      
Recreation      
Social Work      
Sociology      
Other (specify)      

3. Title of project:

Students should provide a descriptive title for their project.

4. Brief Description of Project and Preliminary Results and Keyword Search:

This is a very important part of the report since it contains the progress and the preliminary results obtained from the field research. The student, not the supervisor, must fill out this section.

Brief Description of Project
The student must refer briefly to the project objective, the methodology and how field research was carried out.   The description should not be a duplicate of another NSTP-supported project, nor should it be a copy of a project description submitted when the NSTP funds were applied for.  The information should be typed in the space provided.
 
NOTE: When developing the project description some questions to keep in mind are: Why is this research important? What is uniquely North about this research? Why are you working in this particular geographic location? How does this relate to your thesis?
 
Preliminary Results
The preliminary results should reflect the research that was carried out and how the information is expected to be disseminated.  This section could also include a few sentences on the intention to conduct future field research.

Keyword Search
The student should provide keywords that best apply to their research project.  

5. Research partners:

The student must indicate who s/he worked with in the field.  Please indicate their name on the first line and the organization/university they are affiliated with on the line below. This information will assist in forming linkages for researchers working towards a common goal.

Please note that for students at the graduate level Research Partners should be professionals, non-governmental organizations, or companies, etc. that are actively participating in the research project.  Academic supervisors, other students, and technicians do not qualify as "partners" even if they are active participants on the project.

6. Fieldwork Location(s):

The student must cite the primary fieldwork location, and whenever possible, note a nearby community, a settlement, a landmark such as a mountain range, lake, or river, and provide the geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude).  This is to ensure that the student's fieldwork location falls within the NSTP geographical boundary and to allow the NSTP Secretariat to be able to generate graphs and maps of where students are conducting their fieldwork (see map).

Research Licence(s) and/or Permit(s)

1. Permit/Licence Number(s) and Issuer:

The student (not the supervisor) must indicate the applicable territorial, provincial, federal or other research permit(s)/licence(s) obtained. Also indicate the name of the licensing agency from where the permit/licence was received. The student can choose from the drop down menu or type in organizations, which will then be added to the list.

Understanding the research licensing process constitutes an important component of the student's training experience in the North.  Obtaining a research licence or permit to conduct research in the North is a legal obligation.  Moreover, it helps in ensuring the research is conducted ethically and respects the cultural aspects of northern communities (see: Ethical Principles for the Conduct of Research in the North).  This requirement also ensures the student's safety in the field, and promotes the exchange of information on northern projects among scientists and residents of the North.

2. Information for Issuer:

The student to whom a permit and/or licence was issued, must indicate that he/she has provided the requisite information to the issuer upon completion of the field work.

Period in the North, Report on Funds

1. Number of Days in the Field:

The student must indicate the period spent in the North by ensuring that the exact field season dates are recorded.  This allows the Committee to determine the number of days the student spent in the North and whether the research falls within a summer or a winter  project. For shorter field durations (eg., under 21 days) the student should explain “why” in Section D: Period in the Field. Even where a shorter sojourn is justified, when possible, students are encouraged to spend a longer time in the field to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the North.

2. Continuing Project from Previous Year(s):

The student must indicate if he/she is continuing a project that has, in the previous years, received funds under the NSTP or another funding agency.

3. Total expected cost of fieldwork component of project:

The student must specify the total cost of the fieldwork portion of his/her project for this year, not just the portion subsidized by NSTP funds.

4. NSTP support for this year:

Allocated

In this section of the report, the student is required to give the total NSTP support provided for his/her project the previous year (eg. $2000).

Actual

This column is to capture the actual (real) costs of the fieldwork.  For instance, if the student indicates that NSTP funded $2000 towards the field work, in the “actual” column, the student should indicate the full costs of conducting the research.

5. Other Funding and/or Support Received for the Fieldwork Component of the Project:

The student should identify any other sources of funding and/or support (e.g. grant, bursary, scholarship, subsidies), the amount received and to what component of the fieldwork has this amount been applied to (e.g. transportation, equipment, field guide, etc.). Given the supplemental nature of NSTP funds, the disclosure of this information is important because it reflects the effort made by a student to obtain appropriate funding for the research project.  In the case where the students fieldwork is supported in part from their supervisors research grant(s), the student should indicate only the funding amount for their component of the work. Also, students should not include scholarships, etc. that are used solely for their salary.

Research Assistantships or other university stipends are not considered as employment in this context.

Supervisor comments

The student's supervisor is responsible for the completion of this section.  Comments should focus on the training component of the project, and include a synopsis of the student's previous training to demonstrate how the fieldwork relates to the student's future northern research, as well as reflect how the student has benefited from the research conducted.

In the case of a team project, the supervisor should evaluate each student's progress in light of the experience gained in the North.  Duplication or recycling of a supervisor's comments from the previous year is contrary to the prescribed practices outlined in the NSTP Guidelines.  The supervisor's comments should also be typed within the space provided and not on a separate sheet.

Publications/reports/posters/papers

Information about all publications resulting from NSTP-supported research should be referenced.  Report new publications that have appeared in the past year, as well as any NSTP-supported publications from previous years that have not already been reported.

III Checklist

Before submitting either your Research Report or your Application for Funds, please ensure that you have:

  • input the information using only the spaces provided; (additional information provided will not be taken into consideration unless specifically requested);
  • completed all sections;
  • provided the additional information required for conducting international research or if you are applying through a community college;
  • indicated your licence/permit number or stated the steps you will take to acquire the necessary permit(s)/licence(s);
  • complied with the ethical principles section;

Note:

An incomplete form may result in a refusal of application for funds.

IV Related internet sites

List of interesting links

V Community interactions / engagement / resources

In general, please keep in mind that sharing information and building relationships of trust and friendships in the community are what’s important – being open and outgoing, and looking for ways to be useful in the community and ways to build links with people. This can happen in many ways, depending on the circumstances: participating in community social events; volunteering; going out on the land with local hunters; visiting elders, making presentations to community groups and school classes; being available to answer questions about research; hiring local outfitters and guides.

What is appropriate depends on the project and the relationship that has been developed at the community level. It is strongly recommend that students and/or their professors seek local partners to determine what is appropriate.

Below you will find important resources regarding conducting research in the Territories.

Northwest Territories

Yukon

Yukon Government has produced a Guidebook on Scientific Research in the Yukon that has information on the application process and license requirements. Contact:

Jeff Hunston, Manager, Heritage Resources Unit
Cultural Services Branch, Department of Tourism & Culture
Phone: (867) 667-5363
jeff.hunston@gov.yk.ca
Scientists and Explorers Licence

The Yukon Government’s science advisor has extended an invitation to meet with researchers to assist researchers with making connections within Government and/or help identify opportunities to apply and/or communicate the knowledge developed through their work. Yukon Government is currently developing a research agenda that will provide some guidance for students looking for research topics (available next fiscal year). Contact:

Dr. Aynslie Ogden, Senior Science Advisor
Executive Council Office, Government of Yukon
Phone: 867-667-5431
Email: aynslie.ogden@gov.yk.ca

The Yukon Research Centre (YRC) hosts a number of programs and services with the common goal to develop collaborative research, innovation and outreach that meets the needs of northerners. YRC also provides a number of services supporting research and innovation. These services include: research funding, laboratory space, support space, a residence for researchers, and logistics support. The research centre also has protocol guidelines for doing research with Yukon First Nations. For more information contact:

Clint Sawicki
Director, Office of Research Services
Yukon Research Centre
Phone: 867-668-8772
csawicki@yukoncollege.yk.ca

Nunavut

The link to all information when conducting research in Nunavut can be found through the Nunavut Research Institute.

Other

There are a number of research facilities in the Yukon that are available for use by visiting researchers. For more information on each of these facilities as well as contact information, consult the Canadian Network of Northern Research Operators’ map of northern research facilities.

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