Dalhousie researcher receives prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship

- October 18, 2016

Postdoc and Banting Fellow Brendan Haley. (Provided photo)
Postdoc and Banting Fellow Brendan Haley. (Provided photo)

One of Dalhousie’s researchers is Atlantic Canada’s sole recipient this year of a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Brendan Haley was awarded the fellowship by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for his project studying hydroelectric power and other renewable energy sources. His fellowship will be based at Dal’s School for Resource and Environmental Studies (SRES), where he will be supervised by Associate Professor Michelle Adams.

“I am surprised and thrilled to receive this honour so early on in my post-doctoral career,” says Dr. Haley. “It will enable me to conduct important research that I’ve wanted to do for years.”

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships program provides funding to the very best postdoctoral applicants, both nationally and internationally, who will positively contribute to the country's economic, social and research-based growth. Those selected for Fellowships exemplify world-class research capacity at an internationally competitive level of funding. Recipients receive $70,000 a year for two years.  

“I would like to congratulate Dr. Haley on his tremendous achievement,” says Dr. Adams, “His decision to take up the fellowship here at the School for Resource and Environmental Studies, both highlights and — perhaps more importantly — further enhances the level of scholarship found in our unit, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with him both as a scholar and a colleague.”

Transitioning to a low-carbon economy

After the United Nations Climate Conference in 2015, countries around the world are looking for new ways to reduce their carbon footprint and create opportunities for their citizens.

Canada is currently the second largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world, and is one of the few places to produce the majority of its electricity (60%) from hydroelectricity. The country’s successful transition to a low-carbon economy could be determined by how strategically the hydroelectric resource is used.

Dr. Haley’s research project, titled “Maximizing Canada's hydroelectric advantage to promote low-carbon systems of innovation: lessons from the renewable energy sector.” will examine if the current public policies in Nova Scotia promote complementary linkages between hydroelectric imports and other renewable energy technologies.

His project is a timely one. Currently, a hydroelectric transmission link is being built between Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and the Muskrat Falls hydro development in Labrador. It aims to enable future hydroelectric exports to the Maritime provinces and the United States, lower the reliance on fossil fuels and create a back-up for other renewable energy sources.

 “The Nova Scotia energy transition story needs more attention,” says Dr. Haley. “I hope my research informs Nova Scotia energy policy, and provides early warnings or policy best practices for other provinces considering importing hydroelectricity to transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Over the course of his two-year fellowship, Dr. Haley plans to analyze the province’s policy mix, survey the business strategies of Nova Scotia renewable energy firms and draw pan-Canadian lessons from the Nova Scotia experience.

“This fellowship gives me the opportunity to build on my PhD research and improve my research skills by exploring Nova Scotia energy policy,” said Dr. Haley. “Dalhousie’s Resource and Environmental Studies department is the ideal place to do this. The faculty, staff, and students have been very welcoming.”

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship were announced on Monday, October 3. More information and a full list of recipients is available on the website.


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