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Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Award winning Climate Change Adaption Tool brings big data to the local level

Project funded by the Office of Applied Research and Innovation


For Natural Resources Technology instructor Ryan Galbraith and Dr. Nirmil Subedi, a Forest Economist from Natural Resources Canada, the goal was simple: help make large-scale environmental data more useful at the local level. The result is the Climate Change Adaption Tool, which provides farmers and local communities with the environmental data they need to make planting and development decisions.

"There's a disconnect between global climate change data and the local farmer," says Galbraith. "The data that is available is provincial or national, but there isn't much data for local communities. This tool makes big data more local, and can lead to effective environmental and economically sustainable solutions."

Galbraith says this tool can influence environmental stewardship and can prove to be useful in a number of contexts, including helping farmers plan better for changing climates.

On May 7, the two researchers won an Education for Sustainable Development Recognition Award from the Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE).

"We are honoured to receive this award," says Galbraith. "It's a way of getting this kind of work to advance to the next stages and into the hands of the local producers and farmers who need it."

While the tool isn't yet widely available, Galbraith says they couldn't have gotten this far without assistance from the Office of Applied Research and Innovation, which provided financial support through the Sustainable Initiative Fund (SIF). He says their help enables them to develop the tool into an app, making it more accessible for communities across Saskatchewan.

"The Office of Applied Research and Innovation has been very helpful," says Galbraith. "They've supported us to do what we do best. They've been a major champion for the project and we couldn't be more grateful."

The SIF fund was developed to support applied research initiatives that create ecological awareness and/or promote social and economic responsibility.

"This fund was made available to encourage faculty and industry partners to take on more research opportunities that focus on fostering sustainable development and promotes environmental responsibility in Saskatchewan," says June Anonson, acting director of the Office of Applied Research and Innovation. "By supporting this kind of research, we are reinforcing Sask Polytech core values."

Money from SIF goes towards selected projects that contribute to finding practical and innovative solutions to sustainable development challenges. Other SIF projects include:

  • Plant Phenology and archival records project at Wanuskewin Heritage park
  • Colonization potential of broken concrete versus natural cobble substrates by benthic macroinvertebrate communities
  • Assessment of Dragonfly [Odonata] Populations of Conservation Concern in the Saskatchewan River system
  • Proving Aerial Survey Methods for Assessing Forest Regeneration

Learn more about applied research funding opportunities or contact the office operations coordinator at jacquelynn.brown@saskpolytech.ca

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