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Research Program

CMN’s purpose is to support the resilience and health of Canada’s mountain peoples and places through research partnerships based on Indigenous and Western ways of knowing that inform decision-making and action.

Combined with contributions from diverse partner organizations, the Canadian Mountain Network (CMN)’s funding from the Government of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence program (April 2019 – March 2024) represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to position Canada as a global leader in mountain systems research at a time when Canada’s mountain systems are undergoing rapid and uncertain change.

CMN's research program currently funds 16 research projects across Canada, which involve 90 researchers, 72 trainees and 66 partner organizations. Of these projects, six are Indigenous-led and at least 40% of CMN funds are allocated to Indigenous-led research.

Drivers of change in Canada’s mountain systems

Informed in part by the first-ever global assessment of the threats to mountain systems (Klein et al., 2019), the Network has identified four critical, interdependent drivers of change in Canada’s mountain systems:

  • Climate Change

  • Land Use Change

  • Policy & Markets

  • Reconciliation

These drivers have the potential to radically affect mountain environments and the livelihoods of and risks to mountain peoples.

Indigenous-led research

CMN has strongly advocated for bringing multiple ways of knowing to the table to inform and enhance decision-making, including Indigenous and Western knowledge approaches. Indigenous-led research is research that is based on Indigenous ways of knowing and doing. Affirming the validity of Indigenous research approaches, as well as building a greater awareness and understanding of those approaches by all network participants, is critical to deliver on CMN’s vision and mission. CMN is working collaboratively with diverse researchers, trainees, and knowledge users across Canada to design and deliver new approaches to research that respect and empower Indigenous knowledge.

Indigenous-led research projects must meet several criteria:

1. Clearly respond to identified Indigenous community needs and research priorities;

2. Funding may be administered by Indigenous organizations or post-secondary institutions;

3. Be led by an Indigenous individual;

4. Receive formal and detailed support from Indigenous community leadership; and,

5. Prioritize community engagement and capacity building, including Indigenous trainee development.

Research Priority Areas

RPA 1
  1. Exploring how Indigenous Peoples apply Indigenous culture and knowledge to decision-making within mountain systems.

RPA 2
  1. Advancing an integrated, continental scale understanding of the impacts of climate change and human activities on mountain systems.

RPA 3
  1. Identifying and developing innovative planning, risk, and governance models applicable to the unique nature of mountain systems.

RPA 4
  1. Exploring opportunities to support the viability and resilience of place-based livelihoods that sustain the resilience of mountain systems.

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