Education and research investment for northern communities

Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan’s International Centre for Northern Governance and Development were joined by members of the Government of Saskatchewan and Cameco Corporation to announce new investments in research and education for northern Saskatchewan.

Shortly after noon today, the Honourable Rob Norris, Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration (AEEI) announced a Government of Saskatchewan investment of $1 million for the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development to help northern students study, stay and succeed in their northern communities. The funds will be used to expand a new Master of Northern Governance and Development program that enables northern Saskatchewan students to remain in their communities while completing their degree, and to deliver community-directed research that will seek innovative solutions to governance and development challenges facing northern Saskatchewan communities.

Immediately afterwards, Gary Merasty, VP of Corporate Social Responsibility at Cameco Corporation, announced that Cameco would match the Government's funding commitment with a $1 million investment of its own. The Cameco funding will be used by the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development for graduate student internships, research support, scholarships, and distance-learning support including the establishment of a new state-of-the-art video conference facility. This new ‘Cameco Portal to the North' will enable northern graduate students to connect to the classroom via video conference while remaining in the north. Cameco's funding will be distributed over a five-year period.

An additional investment of just under $60,000 was pledged by the federal government's Mitacs-Accelerate program, an initiative that connects students with real world partners and builds industry interest in funding research. Notably, the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development is the first Prairie institute within the social sciences to receive funding under the Mitacs-Accelerate initiative. This recognition is testament to the forward-thinking model of education-industry partnerships being undertaken in the MNGD program.

Greg Poelzer, Director of the ICNGD, said: "We are thrilled to receive this level of investment from the Government of Saskatchewan and Cameco Corporation. It really demonstrates that government and industry want to work together to affect real change in northern Saskatchewan."

"The provincial government places a high priority on training for Saskatchewan people, including First Nations and Métis persons, to meet the needs of our growing economy and to put our talents to work at home," said Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration Rob Norris. "Our support for the International Centre for Northern Governance and Development will help ensure our post-secondary system is characterized by excellence, innovation, inclusion and accountability so that all Saskatchewan residents can experience the Saskatchewan Advantage first-hand."

"Collaboration between industry, academia and governments will ensure tomorrow's leaders have the tools they need to flourish," said Cameco's VP of Corporate Social Responsibility, Gary Merasty. "The road to sustainable development and long-term prosperity requires the participation of all stakeholders. One way to encourage that involvement is to support innovative programs because they empower people to make a difference."

Cathy Wheaton, a Master's student who is taking the MNGD program from her hometown of La Ronge, said "educational opportunities for northerners have always been limited and the MNGD program is really the first of its kind at this level. Now I can take a Master's degree without leaving La Ronge where I plan to live and work upon completion of the program. Programs like this will train northerners like myself to contribute even more to our communities in the future as well as hopefully steer governance and development initiatives in the right direction to the benefit of the north and the Province of Saskatchewan."
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