UBC Okanagan lands new Canada Research Chair, $350,000 in research funding

Researcher Mary Clare Kennedy from UBC Okanagan’s Faculty of Health and Social Development was today named the Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Substance Use, Policy and Practice.

Dr. Kennedy’s research examines the social-structural aspects of health among people who use drugs and evaluates the implementation and effectiveness of novel harm reduction interventions, including safe supply programs and innovations in supervised consumption service delivery.

She is currently co-leading the scientific evaluation of the Safer Alternatives for Emergency Response (SAFER) initiative. This Health Canada-funded safe supply pilot program in Vancouver aims to reduce overdose risk through the prescription of pharmaceutical alternatives to the unregulated drug supply, and serves as a low-barrier point of access to the continuum of care for people who use drugs.

Dr. Kennedy is also currently co-leading a CIHR-funded study investigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on supervised consumption service delivery, access and outcomes in Vancouver and Surrey.

The Canada Research Chairs Program was established by the federal government in 2000 to promote excellence and innovation in research by rewarding the country’s leading academics and attracting the best research minds in the world to study at Canadian universities. Chair holders are some of the world’s most accomplished and promising minds.

The announcement came as part of a larger funding announcement by the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.


In addition to the new research chair, seven UBC Okanagan researchers and their collaborators were collectively awarded nearly $350,000 in funding today from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council‘s Insight Development Grants.

Read the SSHRC announcement

Insight Development Grants support research in its initial stages. The grants enable the development of new research questions, as well as experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches and/or ideas. Funding is provided for short-term research development projects of up to two years that are proposed by individuals or teams.

Researchers will use the funding to explore everything from experimental digital cities to the impact of evolving public discourse on the perceived credibility of sexual assault disclosures.

SSHRC Insight Development Grant recipients

Jonathan Cinnamon (Community, Culture and Global Studies)
The experimental digital city: Learning from the Kelowna model of smart urban innovation
Co-applicant: Agnieszka Leszczynski (Western University)

Manfred Elfstrom (Economics, Philosophy and Political Science)
Mobilizing the Mountains: Natural Resources and Popular Protest in Appalachia and North China

Roberto Filippello  (Community, Culture and Global Studies)
Queer Threads: Critical Fashion Practices in Contemporary Palestine (2010-2022)

Gabrielle Legault  (Community, Culture and Global Studies)
The Strength of Our Ancestors: A Youth-led Investigation of Urban Indigenous Identities
UBC Collaborator: Donna Kurtz  (Nursing UBCO)
Collaborator: Kendra Langrish

John Lyon (Community, Culture and Global Studies)
Tense and Aspect in Nsyilxcn: Linguistic and Syilx Perspectives on Meaning
UBC Co-applicants: Jeannette Armstrong (Community, Culture and Global Studies)
Christine Schreyer (Community, Culture and Global Studies)
Collaborators: Maxine Baptiste (En’owkin Centre), Tracey Bonneau

Emily Murphy (Creative and Critical Studies)
Modernist Remediations: Embodiment, Technology, and Cultural Memory
Collaborator: Lydia Vermeyden (St. Francis Xavier University)

Leanne Ten Brinke (Psychology)
Emotional Survivor Effect: How Evolving Public Discourse Impacts the Perceived Credibility of Sexual Assault Disclosures
Co-applicant: Alysha Baker (Okanagan College)
Collaborator: Emily Lloyd (University of Denver)