SRES Research Legacy Scholarship

PLEASE NOTE - the Legacy Scholarship Award is not available for the 2021/2022 Academic Year. Please check back for September 2022 intake.


After 40 years of research excellence SRES is pleased to announce the creation of a new scholarship for highly qualified students interested in the Master of Environmental Studies program. Eligible students would pursue research in one of the five topic areas described below.


Eligibility for the SRES Legacy Scholarship is limited to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Other interested candidates should contact the faculty member to discuss alternative funding sources.


Each scholarship is valued at $18,000 per year for two years and is unencumbered – recipients are not required to undertake any TA or RA work as a condition of taking up these scholarships.

We will work with Legacy Scholarship recipients to pursue additional external scholarships. Should additional scholarship support be secured, Legacy Scholarship funds will be used to top up to a maximum of $24,000 per year for years in which additional funds are secured.

How to Apply

Interested students must contact the SRES professor associated with the project(s) they are interested in as soon as possible, ideally before December 1. Professors can nominate one candidate per project. Although numerous potential project topics are generally on offer, only one may be funded to start in the Fall of 2022. As such, the project to be funded will depend on the preference of the strongest candidate who applies. If there are no adequately strong candidates, none will be awarded.

Current Research Topics

Exploring Technological Platforms to Enhance Equitable Environmental Governance at a Global Scale

Project lead and contact: Melanie Zurba

Effective mechanisms for bridging global environmental governance institutions where decision-making and governance principles are established with the experiences, knowledge, and worldviews of Indigenous peoples, local communities, and conservation practitioners are increasingly being recognized as necessary for building governance systems that are equitable, inclusive, and adaptive. Many scholars and environmental governance practitioners have articulated that establishing spaces for dialogue and interaction between governance actors who hold different values, worldviews, and experiences can significantly enhance environmental governance decision-making processes and build governance assessments and frameworks that are more relevant to those working at local scales. However, generally there is a lack of coordination and collaboration among these actors to create these spaces effectively. This project responds to need for developing new technological spaces where cross-scalar, multi-directional, and iterative dialogue can occur to create opportunities for development and recognition of capacities of local and regional governance actors, improve and effectively assess approaches to developing and applying governance assessments and frameworks, and facilitate shared learning that can enable long-term, iterative, and equitable problem-solving within environmental governance practice.

Queers, Closets, and Man Camps: Gaining an understanding of the impacts of major natural resource extraction projects on 2SLGBTQ+ persons in Canada

Project lead and contact: Alana Westwood

Mines, hydroelectric dams, and other major resource extraction projects often house workers in camps that impact both local communities and the workers living in them. Impact assessment is the legal process where a major natural resource project must predict its environmental, social, health, and economic impacts before it can be approved for construction. It is known that these “man camps” can cause harm to Indigenous women and girls, however, almost nothing is known about the impacts on local 2SLGBTQ+ persons and workers. The research, to be undertaken with non-profit and government partners, will ask: (1) Do major projects predict impacts on 2SLGBTQ+ persons, and are their perspectives included during public consultation? (2) Are existing guidelines for gender-based analysis sufficient to predict impacts on 2SLGBTQ+ persons? and (3) what are the experiences of 2SLGBTQ+ persons working on major projects? Research techniques will include document analysis, surveys, interviews, and/or oral history.

    Illuminating 'Dark Taxa' for Freshwater Assessment and Conservation

    Project lead and contact: Andrew Medeiros

    Biodiversity loss and degradation of freshwater ecosystems has been accelerating worldwide. Changes in land-use, direct exploitation, environmental change, and pollution are the most pressing direct drivers of this decline. Our ability to monitor and predict these consequences of human disturbance is reliant on accurate, reliable, and cost-conscious mechanisms for routine monitoring. However, the successful conservation and management of freshwater ecosystems is hindered by ‘dark taxa’, such as non-biting midges (Chironomidae), a group of species which is ecologically abundant and important, yet their identification is difficult, time-consuming, and requires a high level of expertise. Here, we propose a means to illuminate critical information derived from chironomid indicators for bioassessment often disregarded as too complicated for routine use by policy and decision-makers. Thus, this project seeks to evaluate (speed, cost, reliability, robustness) of two different approaches; 1) morphology-based bioassessment, and 2) deep-learning image recognition approaches for automatic identification of biological indicators.

    April Showers Bring August...Algae Blooms?

    Project lead and contact: Heather Cray

    Lakes and waterways closed on the nicest days of summer. Reports of illness, contaminated drinking water, and pets getting sick. In recent years, it can seem that the spectre of blue-green algae looms whenever the water is warm enough to swim, and these risk advisories are increasing in frequency. But what do Halifax Regional Municipality residents know about the toxin-producing algae and the risk factors for cyanobacteria blooms? With increasing climate warming and additional nutrient loading, addressing blue-green algae blooms will require action on the part of local officials and landowners themselves. So what are people willing to do about it? There are options available, including lake and shoreline restoration and municipal limits to lawn fertilizer application, but these require a combination of funding and changes in behaviours. This project will explore residents’ knowledge of blue-green algae blooms and their perceptions of various options to prevent future blooms.