Geoscience, multidisciplinary and Northern academia research grants recipients
Grants recipients for fiscal years 2021–2023
Funding for GEM-GeoNorth grants is allocated through a competitive call for proposals process (solicited proposals). Outside of these calls for proposals, unsolicited proposals may be considered if they are directly aligned with the GEM-GeoNorth outputs or outcomes, or both, subject to availability and time.
Find out about the recipients by grant category:
Geoscience research grants
Expanding diamond target areas and characterizing deep deposits in Canada’s North
Full title: Expanding diamond target areas in Canada’s North — Characterizing super-deep diamond deposits and their indicator minerals
Proponent: University of Alberta
Plain language summary: This study uses new technology to determine geologic time scales of kimberlites to assist in identifying indicator mineral chemistry. This analysis can then help to find super-deep diamond deposits.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: Canada’s global position as a diamond supplier is slipping. This project offers new data and technology to evaluate existing deposits to potentially create new mines. Diamond production is an important economic pillar for the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Determining rock sequence ages in the Canadian Cordillera to interpret significance of mineralization
Full title: Terrane exhumation in central Yukon and its significance for overlap assemblages in the northern Canadian Cordillera
Proponent: Memorial University of Newfoundland
Plain language summary: This project will support laboratory studies of rocks near Faro, Yukon, to determine their bearing on potential minerals prospectively. This will be done with a laser ablation split-stream method.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: This project will better inform land-use decision makers for future exploration programs. There is currently a knowledge gap on the geologic evolution and history in this region of the Yukon.
Determining the potential for water supply sources from unfrozen ground features (taliks) in permafrost environments
Full title: Numerical assessment of groundwater resource sustainability of river talik systems within continuous permafrost environments
Proponent: Université Laval
Plain language summary: This project will provide critical insights into the potential for groundwater pumping from river talik systems in permafrost environments in Northern Canada to inform water supply stakeholders and to support Northern economic development initiatives. The objective is to assess the potential of river talik systems as water supplies, using Salluit, Quebec as a well-documented example. Guidelines for evaluating other sites will be developed.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: Northern communities will be better able to consider groundwater in river talik systems as a viable water supply. Governments can set guidelines and protocols to adapt to effects of climate warming on Northern communities.
Statistical analyses of surficial deposits with geochemistry to map locations of deposits of precious, critical and base metals
Full title: Predictive mapping for base and critical metal exploration: Correlation of first-order crustal-scale structures and metamorphic bedrock with metal associations in surficial deposits using multivariate statistical analyses and principal component analysis
Proponent: Cape Breton University
Plain language summary: This project will analyze new data from the GEM-2 program to determine the geologic structure of the underlying, deeply eroded rocks. This will be accomplished through a geochemistry analysis of the surficial deposits. The goal is to identify and locate potential deposits of precious, critical and base metals.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: The project will provide an accessible, well-illustrated guide (print and digital) to how lake sediment and till studies are used in environmental assessment and exploration. It will provide examples of using this type of data for planning in infrastructure or land-use projects.
Using artificial intelligence to determine the reworking of sediments in proglacial and postglacial environments to pinpoint deposits of economic interest
Full title: Effect of proglacial and postglacial processes on till composition and dispersal patterns: A data integration study
Proponent: University of Waterloo
Plain language summary: The proposed research aims at understanding the effect of proglacial and postglacial processes on surficial till composition. We propose to combine existing detailed field data and geochemical analysis with innovative machine learning techniques to classify samples by field characteristics and composition and tease out effects of surficial processes (i.e., glacial, proglacial or post-depositional, or a combination of these processes) on groupings and patterns.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: This research will directly contribute to a collaborative project with the Government of the Northwest Territories for an underexplored yet prospective region to pinpoint potential mineral deposits. This project will benefit the Northwest Territories Geological Survey and the local community of users.
Determining the geological timing of the Athabasca–Slave Rivers corridor crustal structures
Full title: Defining the tectonic architecture and protolith magmatic affinity of the Paleoproterozoic south-western Slave River margins using titanite, apatite and zircon U–Pb geochronology as well as zircon Hf–O isotope geochemistry
Proponent: University of British Columbia
Plain language summary: Using geochronology and isotope geochemistry, the study will identify structural shear zones in the underlying geologic structures. This information will help to inform mineral exploration as well as support the documentation of Canada’s seismic hazards in the Athabasca–Slave corridor.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: The findings may be used by all Northerners to assist with mineral exploration and inform local policy and decision makers. The research will also complement the oral Indigenous natural history of the region, more specifically relating to the geology that influenced the formation of the east and north arms of Great Slave Lake.
Geologic dating of metamorphic rock to determine the relationship with gold formation in mountain-building events
Full title: Application of in situ Lu–Hf in garnet and Rb–Sr in mica geochronology to understanding the source of orogenic gold-related fluids and the timing of eclogite exhumation in the Yukon
Proponent: University of British Columbia (Okanagan campus)
Plain language summary: This project will use an advanced analytical method to determine the age origin of garnet- and mica-rich rock formations (eclogite). This new direct dating will be used to assess any possible related gold formation.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: This study will further refine the mineral potential in the eastern Yukon to assist with further economic development of potential mines in the area.
Multidisciplinary research grants
Exploring geothermal energy resource potential in the Northwest Territories
Full title: Assessment of geothermal energy resource potential in the South Slave Region of the Northwest Territories
Proponent: Institut national de la recherche scientifique
Plain language summary: The objective is to assess the regional geothermal potential through a multidisciplinary geoscience research study with a special focus on actual energy needs of local communities and end-users, which will lead to a better understanding of the geothermal energy potential in the region.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: The benefit is to determine areas of geothermal potential in geological structures to provide a source of clean, low-carbon energy. Research in this area can be applied to other areas of interest to supply industry and communities with reliable, affordable and sustainable energy.
Holding the Hard Rock Camp
Full title: Kivalliq Regional Science Culture Camp: Hard Rock Camp
Proponent: Kivalliq Science Educators Community (KSEC)
Plain language summary: The objective is to promote a melding of Inuit traditional knowledge and western-based science knowledge through a land-based science culture camp. Science Culture Camp: Hard Rock Camp, to be held in Baker Lake, from September 7 to 12, 2022, will give 32 students from across the region the opportunity to learn on and from the land, about both Inuit traditional knowledge and western-based science knowledge. The camp will expose young people to science on the land, which may help them consider science as a future career choice.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: The benefit is that Inuit and non-Inuit students living in the North can attend a five-day land program focusing directly on geological studies. Communities and schools have an opportunity to use their own criteria to select their own participants to a camp that highlights the importance of education and promotes Inuit culture. KSEC believes that any opportunity to showcase science knowledge is a net benefit to all who live in the North.
Using geoscience data to support decision making in the Kivalliq region
Full title: Incorporate geoscience data, knowledge and information into the land-use, water and environmental administration system to support decision making for the management of Inuit Owned Lands in the Kivalliq region
Proponent: Kivalliq Inuit Association
Plain language summary: The objective is to redesign and develop a land-use administration application system using the latest technology. The new system will have long-term supportability, and it will have the capability to collect, manage, analyze and distribute geospatial information to support and integrate geoscience data and knowledge to enhance environmental, water, and land management planning and reporting. This will assist the process of decision making for the management of Inuit Owned Lands.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: This project will streamline land-use decisions and permitting in the Kivalliq region. Crucial information can be layered to allow for better decision making. The system will be available to the public, which will allow schools to use it as a learning tool to introduce youth to geosciences, mineral exploration, mine development and environmental management.
Building geological spatial data capacity in northern Manitoba
Full title: Building Northlands Dene First Nation’s geological spatial data capacity
Proponent: Northlands Dene First Nation
Plain language summary: This project aims to strengthen the capacity of the Northlands Dene First Nation (NDFN) to integrate spatial geological data into existing and new information systems, including traditional knowledge, for use in land-use decision making. For the purpose of the project, the work plan has been divided into the following phases: (1) initial capacity assessment, geodata system evaluation and draft system design; and (2) training, education and iterative implementation of geodata system.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: This project will produce publicly available lessons which will document a knowledge-based approach to land management, both for the NDFN and for other Indigenous groups.
Northern academia research grants
Building educational resources for Yukon’s geology
Full title: Building educational resources about and raising the profile for Yukon’s geology
Proponent: Yukon University
Plain language summary: This project aims to increase Yukon educators’, students’, and citizens’ awareness of Yukon’s unique geology using online virtual geology field trips. These field trips serve to build public awareness of earth sciences and provide virtual access to remote locations and geological information in an engaging format.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: The series of regional virtual geology field trips that highlight both the breadth of Yukon’s spectacular geology and the role of mining in shaping the territory will be available. Virtual experiences will serve the public, but also secondary and post-secondary students and educators. Tools and guidance for high school educators to integrate these resources into their curriculum will benefit Northern educators as there will be a detailed resource available for them to grow geoscience capacity in their population.
Growing geoscience capacity in the Northwest Territories
Full title: Growing geoscience capacity across the Gwich’in Settlement Area (GSA)
Proponent: Aurora Research Institute
Plain language summary: The aim of the project is twofold. Firstly, the project will grow the capacity of the Gwich’in Tribal Council staff and Gwich’in beneficiaries to use geoscience data and tools to support informed decision making across the GSA. Secondly, using existing maps as well as geoscience data and tools, permafrost thaw will be investigated. The results will be used in simulation models to identify areas that may be prone to slumping and landslides due to permafrost thaw.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: Identifying areas subject to permafrost thaw with increasing temperatures due to climate change is vital in the North. Infrastructure needs to be developed in areas that will be stable terrain for decades to come. The identification of potential hazard areas can be informative in decision making for many different types of development.
Raising the profile of Yukon geology
Full title: Building educational resources and raising the profile of Yukon geology
Proponent: Yukon University
Plain language summary: Using both existing and new GEM-GeoNorth data and knowledge, the project aims to increase the awareness of Yukon’s unique geological regions and features among educators, students and citizens in the Yukon. The University will develop a series of regional virtual geology field trips that highlight Yukon’s spectacular geology and the role of mining, both past and present, in shaping the territory. Tools and guidelines that demonstrate how educators and practitioners can integrate project ideas and outputs into their curriculum will also be developed.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: Yukon University will develop online virtual field trips that highlight Yukon’s spectacular geology and the role of mining, both past and present, in shaping the territory. This online resource will help to build the geoscience capacity of Northerners.
Building geoscience capacity in the Northwest Territories
Full title: Geoscience capacity building for community-based researchers and monitors
Proponent: Aurora College
Plain language summary: The project aims to build an interactive digital map tool that explains in plain language relevant GEM datasets (e.g., surficial, permafrost, lithological and mineral deposits) and their roles in climate change monitoring and mineral strategy management. The project will also create an instructional video that explains how to use the tool. Another objective of the project is to develop material and deliver courses on the use of geoscience data in climate change or on best practice methodology for the collection of geoscience data samples, or both, to community-based researchers and monitors.
Summarized benefit to Northern Canada: This new tool and instructional video will provide an accessible teaching resource, utilizing multiple datasets. This online resource will help with building the geoscience capacity of Northerners, and will give them the skills and training that they need to participate in many sectors of the economy of Canada’s North.
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