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Research opportunities for students

Projects and chairs funded by Sentinel North can provide opportunities for master's, doctoral and post-doctoral students to pursue their research projects in a dynamic and innovative transdisciplinary setting.

The list below is updated each new session based on the Sentinel North projects posted on Université Laval's Placement Site (SPLA). We also invite you to consult the Research Projects to identify which project(s) that interest you, and to contact the principal investigators for any information request.

 

Ph.D.

 

Machine learning, AI, climatology
QAUJIKKAUT: an on-line advanced foresight tool of extreme meteorological events and natural hazards in Nunavik

Director: Thierry Badard

Climate change can have serious consequences for the sustainable development of northern communities and for tourism, industrial and governmental activities in the North. Appropriate decision-making for mitigating and adapting to these impacts can be achieved by the collection and analysis of data related to these impacts and also by the study of the factors driving them.

The objective of the Qaujikkaut ("warning" in Inuktitut) project is to develop an online tool for early warning of extreme weather events and natural hazards in Nunavik. This tool will be based on real-time data from the SILA network of environmental monitoring stations operated by the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN) and the Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC – Department of Environment) in Nunavik.

The main objective of the successful candidate will be to perform predictive modelling and achieve advanced foresight of problematic environmental conditions in Nunavik. Using the Qaujikkaut database set up y other students, and machine learning and artificial intelligence approaches such as Decision Tree Learning (Rokach and Maimon, 2008), the Ph.D. student will develop algorithms for detecting beforehand extreme meteorological events and related natural hazards based on climate indicators and their thresholds. He/She will be supervised by Thierry Badard and co-supervised by François Laviolette and Richard Fortier.

Position offered as part of QAUJIKKAUT : outil en ligne d’anticipation hâtive des événements météorologiques extrêmes au Nunavik basé sur le réseau SILA de stations de suivi environnemental

For more information

Population health, medical science
Mobilizing and transferring knowledge between northern communities and Sentinel North

Director : Holly Witteman

For knowledge transfer and mobilization to be effective between research teams and the community, community knowledge must be integrated into research projects and the knowledge generated from the research must be returned to the community in an understandable and useful way. To achieve this, in addition to having commitment from the research team and granting agencies, it is also important to have expertise in community engagement and knowledge transfer and mobilization. In this project, researchers, designers, and students from Université Laval will work with northern communities to optimize the transfer and mobilization of research knowledge in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.

First, we will identify representative ongoing and recent research projects as case studies. We will then conduct interviews with community members and researchers to identify which approaches contribute to the success or failure of research knowledge transfer and mobilization. Based on what we have learned, we will then conduct co-design workshops that will allow community members and researchers to collaborate to create useful and usable knowledge transfer tools and strategies for all involved.

Finally, with the help of North Sentinel project leaders and community partners, we will optimize the tools and strategies developed. Our project will provide a clear direction on how to ensure knowledge transfer and mobilization in northern regions and will also build a solid foundation for communication and community-based research.

Position offered as part of Mobilisation et transfert de connaissances entre les communautés nordiques et Sentinelle Nord

For more information

Geomatics, computer science, AI
New Data Mining Methods for Geospatial Big Data

Director : Thierry Badard

A PhD position is available at the Department of Geomatics Sciences of Laval University. During his project, the student will design and develop new software solutions to process and analyse big geospatial data. These solutions will be based on the most recent innovations in big data, artificial intelligence (i.e. machine learning) and data mining techniques.

This PhD project is part of a larger research project funded by the Sentinel North Strategy, itself supported by the federal government's Canada First Research Excellence Fund. The main objective of this research project is to understand how the disruption of ecosystems affects microorganisms in Arctic soils. The project will use a microbial in situ culture system, called Ecochip, for measuring the growth of microorganisms in their natural environment that also enables acquiring and transmitting real-time environmental metadata. The PhD candidate will join the research team responsible for the development of innovative approaches to analyse the huge amount of data stemming from EcoChips, but also from other data sources (winds, temperatures, pollutions, humidity, imagery, etc.). These tools will enable the research team to evaluate the impact of environmental changes in the North and effectively add value to the microorganisms found in these environments, which will greatly improve our understanding of the changes occurring in the Northern environments and their impact on human health.

Position offered as part of QAUJIKKAUT : outil en ligne d’anticipation hâtive des événements météorologiques extrêmes au Nunavik basé sur le réseau SILA de stations de suivi environnemental

For more information

 

Master's

 

Biology, bioenergetics
Effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on snow goose bioenergetics

Directors : Cristoforo Silvestri, Pierre Legagneux

We are looking for a passionate student with training in microbiology who wishes to pursue his or her master's degree to conduct a multidisciplinary project on the bioenergetics of Greater Snow Geese, a migratory species that naturally fattens in the spring in Quebec before breeding in the high Arctic. In 2020, COVID-19 confinement reduced disturbance, which appears to have benefited geese that reached body condition earlier than control years.

Objective: to compare feeding behavior, lipid physiology, gut microbiome composition, endocannabinoid, and related lipid levels and bioenergetic markers from geese captured before (2019), during (2020) and after (2021) COVID lockdown. Some validations on different tissues will be performed beforehand.

Laboratory analyses: several approaches will be favored during this project: gut microbiome composition will be measured using 16S rDNA sequencing, endocannabinoids and related lipid mediators will be assessed using LC-MS, blood corticosterone and lipid levels will me quantified using immuno-assays and liver, muscle, adipose mitochondrial levels will be quantified by qPCR.i/p>

Desired skills: Autonomy; Strong interest in laboratory work; Interest in ecology; sense of initiative; ability to work in a team; good knowledge of English

Location of studies: The student must be registered at Laval University, Quebec City

Scholarship: The student will be offered a scholarship of 18 000$/year for 2 years. We encourage students to apply for scholarships from external organizations.

Deadline to apply: December 15, 2021. Project start date before September 2022.

Please send your CV, transcripts and a brief cover letter showing your interest in this specific project to cristoforo.silvestri@criucpq.ulaval.ca and pierre.legagneux@bio.ulaval.ca

Population health, medical sciences
Mobilizing and transferring knowledge between northern communities and Sentinel North

Director : Holly Witteman

For knowledge transfer and mobilization to be effective between research teams and the community, community knowledge must be integrated into research projects and the knowledge generated from the research must be returned to the community in an understandable and useful way. To achieve this, in addition to having commitment from the research team and granting agencies, it is also important to have expertise in community engagement and knowledge transfer and mobilization. In this project, researchers, designers, and students from Université Laval will work with northern communities to optimize the transfer and mobilization of research knowledge in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions.

First, we will identify representative ongoing and recent research projects as case studies. We will then conduct interviews with community members and researchers to identify which approaches contribute to the success or failure of research knowledge transfer and mobilization. Based on what we have learned, we will then conduct co-design workshops that will allow community members and researchers to collaborate to create useful and usable knowledge transfer tools and strategies for all involved.

Finally, with the help of North Sentinel project leaders and community partners, we will optimize the tools and strategies developed. Our project will provide a clear direction on how to ensure knowledge transfer and mobilization in northern regions and will also build a solid foundation for communication and community-based research.

Position offered as part of Mobilisation et transfert de connaissances entre les communautés nordiques et Sentinelle Nord

For more information

Questions?