APRIL. 18, 2016 – A team led by Laurentian University’s Dr. Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde has been awarded a grant of $1.65 M under the CREATE program of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The award will support a new program to train conservation professionals for zoos/aquariums and their conservation partners.
Dr. Schulte-Hostedde is Canada Research Chair in Applied Evolutionary Ecology and a Professor of Biology, as well as Founding Director of the Centre for Evolutionary Ecology and Ethical Conservation at Laurentian University.
“Species are disappearing rapidly around the world, and zoos and aquariums are important players in mitigating this loss of biodiversity,” said Dr. Schulte-Hostedde. “We see a growing need for conservation professionals with the analytical and practical skills to do research related to conservation, both in captivity and the wild. This is an excellent opportunity to enhance the capacity of Canada's accredited zoos and aquariums in conservation and research.”
The funded project, called ReNewZoo, will provide training in conservation-related research by leveraging the resources of five major research-intensive zoos/aquariums in Canada, as well as the Canadian (CAZA) and American (AZA) zoo/aquarium organizations. The six-year project is expected to strengthen and support the zoos and aquariums of the future, as research and conservation become critical strategic goals.
The team led by Dr. Schulte-Hostedde will include project co-applicants Dr. David Lesbarreres, Dr. Jacqueline Litzgus and Dr. Gillian Crozier, as well as collaborators Dr. Brett Buchanan and Dr. Chantal Barriault.
"This prestigious NSERC grant is the recognition of the ground-breaking research in conservation and evolutionary ecology from an excellent research team at Laurentian University, led by Dr. Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde. ” said Dr. Rui Wang, Vice-President, Research at Laurentian University. “Their research project is both global in scope and forward-looking, and could change the way zoos and aquariums fulfill their roles in future.”
The award to Dr. Schulte-Hostedde is one of 13 announced by Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. A total of 10 Canadian universities will share in more than $20M in CREATE grants. NSERC established the CREATE program—Collaborative Research and Training Experience Program—to improve mentoring and training of Canadian researchers by supporting communication, collaboration and professional skills, while providing relevant experience in both academic and non-academic research environments.