Campus Life

Two U of L professors receive renewed Canada Research Chair funding

Dr. Kristine Alexander, a University of Lethbridge history professor, and Dr. Locke Spencer (MSc ’05, PhD ’09), a U of L experimental astrophysicist, will continue their leading-edge research with the renewal of their Tier 2 Canada Research Chair funding.

The renewals were part of a recent announcement, made by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, minister of science and sport, about significant investments in the Canada Research Chairs Program to attract and retain some of the world’s most promising researchers. In addition to providing more than $156 million for 187 new and renewed chairs from the most recent competition, Duncan announced an investment of $210 million over the next five years to add 285 new chairs. The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) is also providing $6.8 million in new funding for research infrastructure for 28 chairs at 18 institutions.

"Our government is committed to promoting equity and diversity within research and to supporting the next generation of research leaders,” says Duncan. “These prestigious Canada Research Chairs are improving the lives of Canadians and pushing the boundaries of human knowledge, helping ensure a bright future for Canada.”

The renewal of $500,000 over five years for Spencer will allow him to continue to advance far-infrared instrumentation for upcoming space missions. He will be directly involved in the development of the Canadian contribution to the European/Japanese Space Infrared telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA). The funding is accompanied by $150,000 from the CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund to develop astrophysical instrumentation to explore the universe’s far-infrared region.

“I am very excited that this renewal of my research chair has taken place at this time as we prepare to move to the new Science and Academic Building,” says Spencer. “I am very grateful to my colleagues in Arts & Science, Physics and Astronomy, and Dr. David Naylor's Astronomical Instrumentation Group in particular, for their support and encouragement.  I am incredibly grateful to the variety of students who have been (and remain) along for the ride and have helped to explore this space.”

Alexander’s research chair renewal of $500,000 over five years enables her to continue conducting historical research looking at the effects of colonialism, imperialism and armed conflict on children and adolescents. She uses interpretive methods from across the social sciences and humanities to better understand how the lives of young people have been shaped by warfare, colonialism and material inequalities tied to gender, geography, ability, class and race.

“I’m thrilled that my renewal application has been approved, and I appreciate the support I continue to receive from my colleagues and students at the U of L,” says Alexander.

The funding allows Alexander to continue to ask important questions about young people, colonialism and war, while providing research and training opportunities for U of L students through the interdisciplinary Institute for Child and Youth Studies. She is currently working on multiple books about young people, globalization and war, and is organizing a workshop about global histories of youth to be held in Lethbridge in July, 2019. The workshop will feature cutting-edge research by U of L graduate students and scholars from around the world.