Thompson Rivers University and the City of Kamloops have partnered to create a “researcher in residence” (RIR) position. Funded by Mitacs, a non-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving organizational challenges with research solutions from academic institutions, the outcome of the position and partnership could result in changes to city policies, bylaws, and internal processes or the creation of new services, programs, and partnerships.
Dr. Cheryl Gladu was chosen from a pool of international applicants to hold the RIR job title. Supported by five research interns, Gladu and her team will work closely with the City to identify annual research projects that have a direct impact and relevance to the community. Anticipated areas of research and policy development could include economic recovery from COVID-19, response to vulnerable population needs in the community, and future planning for the cultural sector.
The position also creates opportunities for TRU faculty and students to apply their expertise to city-driven research projects and to co-develop solutions based on community participation and dialogue.
Gladu, a current TRU professor who holds a Ph.D. from Concordia University, has always been interested in the study of human ecosystems, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
“I am excited about the prospect of engaging in very applied research that addresses real problems, in real-time, with people from across the community, and I am excited to begin learning together. When you are dealing with such complex problems with the goal of a healthier community, you really must be able to engage in productive and iterative dialogues,” Gladu said.
Kamloops’ Mayor Ken Christian, believes the program represents the strength of the bond between TRU and the City.
“This initiative is a testament to the intent and efforts of the memorandum of understanding to identify and pursue opportunities for collaboration. The research that Dr. Gladu and her team undertake will inform solutions to pressing challenges facing the municipality and the region and provide local opportunities for TRU students to gain real-life experience,” he stated.
“This is a threshold moment for the university and the City, and a culmination of the work we have been doing together for the past 20 years. This is not just about making the research resources of the university available to the City, but rather it is about working together and co-creating solutions to real-world problems. The new Researcher-in-Residence initiative is all about enhancing the impact of our collective research power,” said Dr. Will Garrett-Petts, TRU’s Associate Vice President, Research and Graduate Studies.