Small Grants Program

Small Grants Program 2021-22

GIER’s call for the Small Grants Program (SGP) is now open!

The Guelph Institute for Environmental Research (GIER) is pleased to launch the 2021-2022 Small Grants Program (SGP). The GIER SGP has two main objectives in line with the goals of GIER: (1) Enhance the reputation of the University of Guelph with respect to environmental research and scholarship; and (2) Support the development of interdisciplinary environmental research. GIER is particularly interested in proposals that address one or more of the following strategic areas:

  1. Human-Environment Systems
  2. Indigenous Environmental Research and Engagement
  3. Environmental Arts meets Environmental Sciences
  4. Environmental Communication & Knowledge Translation


Tenured or tenure-track faculty at the University of Guelph may apply for a small grant to support any environmental research or scholarship.  


Researchers may seek funds in support of:

  • Collaborative, interdisciplinary grant proposal development in environmental research and scholarship
  • Matching funds for environmental-themed grant proposals to external funders, particularly for interdisciplinary projects
  • Direct costs of environmental research/scholarship, including:
  • Salary/stipend support for Highly Qualified Personnel –undergraduate students, graduate students, or postdocs;
  • Data collection, including travel for fieldwork, research supplies, etc;
  • Knowledge mobilization activities, such as:
  • Workshops or conferences hosted at UofG;
  • Other knowledge translation and mobilization activities

How much?

Up to but not exceeding $15,000 per application.

More information and instructions to apply here.

Small Grants Program 2020-2021

For its 2020-21 Small Grants Program competition, GIER has recognized seven interdisciplinary research projects that tackle human-environmental crises with scientific rigour, creativity, and empathy. These are our 2021-21 Small Grants Program awardees:

  • Profs. Brittany Luby (History) and Andrea Bradford (Engineering) will further develop the Manomin Project, a community-engaged research initiative committed to restoring ancestral crops and revitalizing cultural foodways in Anishinaabe-Aki.
  • Profs. Ryan Norris, Elizabeth Gow (Integrative Biology), and Lee Niel (Population Medicine) will assess the costs and benefits of unsupervised outdoor access for cats thought a combination of ecology, welfare science, and custom-built technology.
  • Profs. Sheri Longboat (Environmental Design and Rural Development) and James Longstaffe (Environmental Sciences) will work with the Oneida Nation of the Thames community to integrate knowledge and build capacity around environmental risk assessments.
  • Profs. Olaf Berke (Population Medicine) and Lorna Deeth (Mathematics and Statistics) will assess how disparities in the socio-economic environment can cause and amplify health inequalities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Prof. Jesse Popp (Environmental Sciences) will evaluate best practices in environmental monitoring to develop more holistic frameworks that Indigenous stewards and Western scientists can use to foster meaningful and respectful collaborations.
  • Profs. Shoshanah Jacobs and Karl Cottenie (Integrative Biology) will develop Squirrel Life, a citizen science project that provides experiential learning opportunities, generates valuable monitoring data, and encourages people to connect with their environment.
  • Profs. Stefan Kremer, Dan Gillis (Computer Science) and Geneviève Ali (Environmental Science) will design and test machine learning models to predict river flows and floods and engage with relevant stakeholders to effectively mobilize their findings.

Small Grants Program 2019-2020

With an investment over CAD 100,000, GIER held a Small Grants Program competition in 2019-2020, calling for projects that support the development of interdisciplinary environmental research. Our congratulations to all 2019-20 awardees! We look forward to seeing the impact these new projects will have on the way we understand and manage our environment.

Intrigued about what kind of projects got selected? Scroll down for an overview of each project!

  • Dr. Michael Denk (Chemistry) received funding to develop a new green approach to remove chlorinated hydrocarbons (e.g. pesticides, heavy metals) from water and soil. Dr. Denk’s project will allow for the remediation of contaminated water and soil. Dr. Denk will collaborate with experts in Engineering, Agriculture, and Toxicology.
  • Drs. Craig Johnson (Political Science) and Kirby Calvert (Geography, Environment and Geomatics) are working together to establish an international network of researchers to study the ecological and social impact of the rapidly expanding global supply chain for solar panels, wind turbines, and chemical batteries. This is critical as society balances climate change mitigation with the impacts of renewable energy technologies.
  • Dr. Amanda Boetzkes (Fine Arts and Music) will be working in Narsaq, Greenland to convene cultural theorists, Inuit-based organizations, geologists, glaciologists and other climate scientists, in order to theorize the political rationales and ethical dispositions that inform cultural responses to climate change. This project will include intermodal forms of site-specific knowledge exchange and public engagement with Greenland-based organizations.
  • Drs. Stefan Kremer (Computer Science) and Genevieve Ali (Environmental Science) are finding a synergy between their areas of expertise (machine learning and ecohydrology, respectively) to design a new machine learning model to predict the flows and floods of the Grand River. They state flood prediction needs to be rooted not only in hard science (physical processes) but also in social science (effectively communicating prediction results to stakeholders).
  • Drs. Philip Loring (Geography, Environment and Geomatics) and Nicolas Brunet (Environmental Design and Rural Development) will be working with the Shawanaga First Nation to explore the impacts of fish hatchery methods. This project combines the study of cultural practices, food security, natural resource management, and Indigenous law to improve declining walleye stocks in Georgian Bay, Ontario.
  • Drs. Thomas McIlwraith (Sociology and Anthropology), Shoshanah Jacobs and Sarah Adamowicz (Integrative Biology), Nicolas Brunet (Environmental Design and Rural Development), and Dan Gillis (Computer Science) are coming together to establish a Northern research hub at the UoG. These researchers aim to increase the quality and breadth of research conducted in northern and arctic areas, engaging researchers and Indigenous peoples and communities directly.
  • Drs. Claudia Wagner-Riddle and Kari Dunfield (Environmental Sciences), Helen Hambly (Envirnmental Design and Rural Development), and Alfons Weersink (Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics) are teaming up with other universities and more than 20 stakeholders to create awareness of the importance of soil health and soil wealth. They aim to engage scholars from disciplines not traditionally involved in soil research and promote inter-disciplinary research on soil through networking and increased awareness.
  • Catherine Bush (English and Theatre Studies) will work in collaboration with researchers from Integrative Biology, Geography, Anthropology, and Art History and Theory to explore the role of imagination in the way we view and respond to the climate crisis. Professor Bush proposes that it is through the collaboration of arts practitioners, social scientists and natural scientists that we can most effectively imagine climate futures and discover new ways of interacting in the present.

Banner photo credit: Diane Borsato.

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