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NSCC Applied Research

Innovating with Mi'kmaq partners

Mi'kmaw artist, Alan Syliboy, stands in front of the Alutasi, a hybrid vessel wrapped in his art.
Applied Research partnered with Glas Ocean Electric to launch this hybrid vessel. The boat is wrapped in art by Mi'kmaw artist Alan Syliboy.

Being part of Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) means our researchers not only support student growth and businesses through hands-on research, but also use their expertise to support sustainability in our communities. Canadian colleges are experiencing a steady increase in research activity and NSCC is delighted to see this growth also occurring within our Indigenous communities.

To mark the end of Mi'Kmaq History Month, Applied Research would like to highlight some past and upcoming projects we’ve partnered on with the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq, the Unama'ki Institute of National Resources, Mi'kmaw Conservation Group, Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation and Bear River First Nations.

Previous collaborations

Applied Geomatics Research Group (AGRG) has worked on several initiatives with the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation. Recently wrapping up a two-year coastal analysis of the Afton River to address coastal erosion and flooding concerns, AGRG also completed maps of Pomquet Harbour that are being used by the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation to support shellfish aquaculture planning.

Research associate, Jacob Woods, explains how Applied Energy Research (AER) helped Bear River First Nations fulfil proposal requirements for federal funding to build a net-zero carbon community centre:

“Using advanced software, we modelled the proposed building materials, provided energy modelling and offered additional options for offsetting the carbon emissions associated with the building. 

Fostering relationships with First Nations groups is very important to our team. We’re pleased we were able to provide Bear River with the information they required to successfully move their proposal forward.”

Projects about to begin thanks to recent funding 

The Environmental and Agriculture Technology Lab (EATLab) is starting a multi-year project working with The Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq and The Unama'ki Institute of National Resources to increase access and availability of the culturally significant sweetgrass for Mi'kmaq communities. Researchers will work to convert wild sweetgrass into an inland agricultural practice.

In partnership with the Nova Scotia Salmon Association, Mi'kmaw Conservation Group, and the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources, AGRG will use the latest airborne topo-bathymetric lidar technology to gather high-resolution elevation and image data for three estuary-river systems. This four-year project will produce maps that will be used for habitat assessment, both to analyze fish passage to get a better understanding of movement and distribution of invasive species.

Fostering a welcoming environment 

In just the past two years, NSCC has been involved in almost a dozen research projects with Indigenous groups. Through discussions, training and support from the NSCC Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion Department, our researchers continue to learn about the enriched culture of The Mi'kmaw nation. Respecting and appreciating cultural differences make us better research partners.