International Research Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change

OTTAWA, Dec. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Four Canadian organizations have launched a research initiative to explore how people in Canada and in developing countries can deal with the impacts of climate change. The International Research Initiative on Adaptation to Climate Change is a $12.5-million collaboration between the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Global attention has focused more on the science of climate change and mitigation strategies, with relatively fewer efforts dedicated to adaptation. To help address this research gap, the Initiative has issued a call for proposals to study how humans and natural systems are adjusting to actual and expected changes in climate. Up to five teams comprising researchers from Canada and the developing world will receive up to $2.5 million each over five years.

"Climate change is an urgent global challenge," says IDRC President David M. Malone. "This initiative will help determine how vulnerable populations in Canada and in the developing world can best cope with changes to their health, environments and livelihoods."

"Indigenous peoples worldwide - including First Nations, Métis and Inuit in Canada - are among the first to experience the effects of climate change," says Dr. Malcolm King, Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health. "This initiative offers an opportunity for researchers worldwide to help these vulnerable populations adapt and even improve their lives in the face of climate change by bringing together Western scientific methods and a respect for the traditional knowledge that has served indigenous peoples well for countless generations."

"Canadian researchers in the social sciences and humanities, with the support of SSHRC, have helped to build a strong foundation of Canadian innovation and expertise on the human dimension of climate change," says SSHRC President Dr. Chad Gaffield. "This new international collaboration will enable us to jointly develop new knowledge and capabilities in key areas, and to enhance the contributions of social sciences and humanities research to meeting the needs of Canadian and developing communities in the midst of climate change and adaptation."

"Exploring the impact of climate change on communities in Canada and around the world is critical to improving the quality of life of those who are most vulnerable," said Dr. Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC. "This initiative will give the scientific community a unique opportunity to collaborate internationally and to intensify efforts that will ultimately lead to effective management and adaptation to a changing environment."

Researchers are invited to visit www.idrc.ca/iriacc for more information, including how to submit proposals. The successful projects will be announced in 2010.

About IDRC

Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is one of the world's leading institutions in the generation and application of new knowledge to meet the challenges of international development. For nearly 40 years, IDRC has worked in close collaboration with researchers from the developing world to build healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous societies. www.idrc.ca

About CIHR

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health-care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 13,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada. www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca

About SSHRC

SSHRC is the federal agency that promotes and supports university-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Through its programs and policies, the Council enables the highest levels of research excellence in Canada and facilitates knowledge sharing and collaboration across research disciplines, universities and all sectors of society. www.sshrc.ca

About NSERC

NSERC is a federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators to the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports some 28 000 students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 11 800 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.

www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca

SOURCE International Development Research Centre

For further information: For further information: Isabelle Bourgeault-Tassé, Senior Media Advisor, IDRC, (613) 696-2343, ibourgeault-tasse@idrc.ca; David Coulombe, Media Relations, CIHR, (613) 941-4563, mediarelations@cihr-irsc.gc.ca; Trevor Lynn, Communications Manager, SSHRC, (613) 992-7302, Cell: (613) 302-9879, Trevor.Lynn@sshrc-crsh.gc.ca; Martine Perreault, Media and Public Affairs Officer, NSERC, (613) 996-7238, martine.perreault@nserc-crsng.gc.ca

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