York Professor Ellie Perkins a recipient of Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholars Program

York University has been named in the second round of the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholars Program, which awards funding to Canadian universities working to improve global talent exchange between Canada and other nations.

Ellie Perkins

Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) Professor Ellie Perkins is the lead on the winning project, “Ecological Economics, Commons Governance, and Climate Justice,” and will receive a share of the $12.5-million award going to 23 Canadian universities.

This is an expanded second round of the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program, funded by a $10-million contribution by Canada’s International Development Research Centre and a $2.5-million contribution from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). This additional funding has allowed the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program to expand its reach to more low- and middle-income countries, and fund researchers at multiple stages of their careers to become the next generation of innovative leaders and community builders.

Perkins’ project examines how global climate change unfairly and disproportionately harms those already living in poverty and in polluted, unhealthy environments. As climate change accelerates, these unjust trends threaten cities, public safety, agriculture, infrastructure and human livelihoods worldwide. Since marginalized populations are first and most severely affected, their situated knowledge is crucial for timely and efficient policy-making.

In times of climate change, democratic governance systems must find ways to overcome traditional barriers to the political participation of socially vulnerable populations, including women and the poor. This is central to climate justice. Strengthened democratic governance is also the key to preventing “tragedies of the commons,” where so-called common-pool resources, such as aquifers, fisheries, forests, airsheds and oceans, become less available to people whose livelihoods depend on them.

Such commons are increasingly under threat due to climate change and globalization, but a growing number of scholars see collective resource management as a promising way to build resilience for the marginalized. Ecological economics, which situates economies within material constraints and emphasizes distribution and equity, provides an ideal transdisciplinary theoretical frame for studying these pressing, challenging issues. This project will bring together scholars from around the world to research climate justice and democratic commons governance, in the context of an innovative ecological economics partnership.

“I am absolutely delighted that Prof. Ellie Perkins as been awarded this prestigious grant,” said FES Dean Noël Sturgeon. “Focusing on the unequal impact of climate change on communities in the Global South, it will increase our ability to interact with scholars from around the world. I am especially pleased that our students will benefit from the ability to have access to research and researchers in the Global South on this crucially important issue.”

The winning projects span subject areas as diverse as agriculture, food security, climate change, employment and growth, and maternal and child health. Successful projects were selected by an independent selection committee representing research and funding communities from around the world.

The Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholars Program is managed through a unique partnership between Universities Canada, the Rideau Hall Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada and Canadian universities. It is made possible with financial support from the International Development Research Centre and the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council.

For a complete list of the winning proposals, visit queenelizabethscholars.ca/news.

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