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Schulich Law PhD Student Named One of Dal’s OpenThinkers

Posted by Amanda Kirby-Sheppard on March 18, 2024 in News, Marine & Environmental Law Institute, Research, Students
Mohamad Alikhani (Photo by Danny Abriel)
Mohamad Alikhani (Photo by Danny Abriel)

Congratulations to Schulich Law PhD student Mohamad Alikhani on being named one of Dalhousie University’s 16 OpenThinkers that make up the 2024 cohort. Alikhani will share his research, which focuses on how Canadian laws and policies can be improved to ensure an ecologically sustainable future for offshore wind energy, through his monthly OpenThink blog posts

The OpenThink Initiative, offered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, returns for its fifth year. The program provides PhD students from across the university with the communications skills and platform needed to share their research more widely, to inform public discourse, and to influence policy. Guided by communications experts from Dalhousie, the University of King's College, and NATIONAL Public Relations, OpenThinkers receive training in how to reach public audiences and share their knowledge.

In turn, they become ambassadors for graduate studies at Dal, as well as for their own work, by sharing their research and ideas via social media, blogs, public speaking opportunities, media interviews, articles, and op-eds. They also receive a $1,500 scholarship and are eligible to apply for OpenThink funding to travel to relevant conferences and workshops.

“Throughout my studies, I’ve been thinking about the emerging offshore wind industry in Canada - how can I contribute to the related legal and policy framework and how can I share the result of my study with the public and people who are interested in my research,” says Alikhani. “The final months of my program aligned perfectly with being accepted as an OpenThinker at Dalhousie.”

For the two decades before joining the Schulich School of Law, learning and practicing law were both integral parts of Alikhani’s life. He earned a PhD in oil and gas law, a master’s degree in energy and environmental law, and a master’s degree in international commercial law. He was also a legal advisor in the petroleum industry for more than 10 years.

His master’s thesis research at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and the renewable energy course he took there, inspired him to continue his academic pursuits in the areas where energy law and environmental law intersect. It was the distinguished professors in energy law, climate change law, and international environmental law that attracted him to the Marine & Environmental Law Institute at the Schulich School of Law.

“I have researched various issues related to renewable energy laws and policies, climate change, sustainable development, and marine spatial planning,” he explains. “My thesis critically analyzes the Canadian policy and regulatory framework related to offshore wind energy. I also get insights from international law and conduct a comparative study through a critical review of the practices of other countries experienced in this sector and marine management.” 

The results of his research inform Canada’s current planning for the development of offshore wind energy. Alikhani will be publishing blogs throughout the year that will share his ideas, opinions, and insights, as they develop. 

“This initiative provides me with an opportunity to communicate effectively with the public and give back to the community,” says Alikhani. “I hope I can grow my reach, meaningfully engage with others, and make an impact.”

Follow Alikhani’s OpenThink blog to learn more.