The Natural Resources Institute is interdisciplinary. We integrate knowledge gained from the natural and social sciences to develop holistic perspectives on environmental and natural resources management problems. Research conducted at the NRI may have an economic, social, or ecological perspective, or may integrate all three disciplines.

The NRI also encourages a diverse culture that respects differences and similarities among nationalities and academic backgrounds. Students and faculty are from all over the world, and it is typical to hear a number of different languages in the hallways.

The NRI does not have undergraduates, but we regularly partner with other departments, such as Environment and Geography, to include undergraduates in some courses and to integrate undergraduates into field research.

John Sinclair

Dr. Sinclair is a professor at the University of Manitoba’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI), where he has worked since completing his PhD at the University of Waterloo in 1991.

Sinclair’s main interest is involvement in non-government initiatives, especially those related to environmental sustainability. His strong committment to these values is reflected in both his research and teaching, which involve the theme of civic engagement in resource and environmental decision-making.

Sinclair teaches courses in environmental assessment, environmental governance, individual and social learning in resource and environmental management and thesis research methods. As well, he lends his valuable field research and teaching experience to the NRI field seminar courses.

One of Sinclair’s current research involvements involves leading the Common Ground Research Forum: A Cross-Cultural Learning Platform for Resource Sharing (CGRF). The CGRF is funded by a SSHRC/Community University Research Alliance grant, and its partners include the City of Kenora, Grand Council Treaty #3, the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg. Building on the community-led initiative of “Common Ground,” the project explores how Kenora and its surrounding First Nations are working together in a unique partnership to plan and manage the use of nearby heritage land.

Sinclair’s passion for environmental stewardship is also demonstrated by his active involvement in various non-government organizations and professional associations. His national commitments include the Canadian Environment Network’s environmental assessment caucus, which he has chaired twice, and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s regulatory advisory committee.

At the local level, Sinclair chairs the University of Manitoba Sustainability Committee, which guided the University Sustainability Action Plan through Board of Governors approval. The University of Manitoba has recognized Sinclair’s outreach activities in the community with awards such as the Campbell Outreach Award. He has also been involved with the Green Action Center, and is a past president and founding board member of Manitoba Model Forest Inc.

Shirley Thompson

Shirley Thompson’s interests lie with food and housing, and water security in northern areas.

Many Aboriginal communities lack adequate infrastructure and food production and distribution facilities such as greenhouses, gardens, livestock or hunting arrangements to ensure local food security.

Dr. Thompson’s food-related research projects include looking at the social economy of food (farmer’s markets, community gardens, community-shared agriculture, etc.) and two students studying country food and food security in Northern Manitoba Aboriginal communities. She also teaches a graduate course that focuses on food security as an ecosystem health and environmental justice issue.

Dr. Thompson recently completed a two-year research project with Environment Canada on finalizing the Canadian loadings methodology to comply with the International Protocol for Climate Change.

She also managed a $48,000 project with the City of Winnipeg and Manitoba Hydro on landfill gas.