Ontario Impact Assessment Award - Student Bursary (up to $2,500)

You can learn more about previous successful award recipients below the application information.

Each year, starting in 2018, the Ontario Association for Impact Assessment (OAIA), has offered a bursary with a cash value of $2,500 to one graduate student (the successful applicant could be enrolled in a graduate program or professional certification in an Ontario College at the graduate level) at a Canadian university or college. The recipient of the bursary also is the recipient of the Ontario Impact Assessment Award.

The Ontario Impact Assessment Award recognizes outstanding achievement for academic contributions in the practice of impact assessment by a graduate student.

Purpose and Field of Study

To encourage the pursuit of excellence in impact assessment, and conducting research studies on impact assessment, environmental assessment, regional assessment and/or regional studies, strategic impact assessment, cumulative effects or related fields such as Indigenous consultation and engagement, public participation and engagement, social impact assessment, economic impact assessment, health impact assessment and/or land use planning.

A cash award of $1,500 is being provided by the OAIA. In addition to the cash award, the recipient has the opportunity to present their research at the annual OAIA conference. To facilitate the recipient’s participation at the annual conference, the award also includes an annual student membership to OAIA and covers the fees and travel expenses to participate in the annual OAIA Conference.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For the 2021 year, OAIA will hold a conference or a webinar series. If it is a webinar series the full $2,500 minus the cost of OAIA membership will be issued to the recipient as there are no expenses associated with travel or registration. If a physical conference is held, then travel expenses as well as Registration expenses for the conference will be deducted.

Award Criteria

  • The applicant must be enrolled as a full-time graduate student in a Canadian university or college at the time the award is presented, and must be doing work on impact assessment or in a related field as noted above;
  • The research must be linked to improving the practice of impact assessment – whether from the perspective of governments (provincial/territorial/federal/Indigenous), regulators, proponents, consultants, Indigenous groups or other interested parties;
  • The applicant must be willing to present their research findings at the 2021 OAIA conference or webinar seriesin English;
  • The applicant must submit a completed Abstract for the 2021 OAIA conference or webinar series;
  • Priority will be given to applicants attending Ontario universities or colleges;
  • The award consists of $1,500 cash, plus membership, fees and travel expenses (up to a total award cash value of $2,500). If fees and travel expenses are less than $1,000, the balance will also be forwarded to the award winner; and
  • The applicant cannot have won the award previously.

Call for Applications

A complete application package must be received electronically by the annual deadline for the call for abstracts for the 2021 OAIA conference or webinar series (May 3, 2021 at 5 PM ET). The call for applications for the Ontario Impact Assessment Award – Student Bursary will be issued annually and simultaneously with the call for abstracts for the annual OAIA conference. The name of the recipient will be announced during the release of the preliminary program for the 2021 OAIA conference or webinar series and the award will also be announced at the 2021 OAIA conference or webinar series.

Application Process

The applicant is requested to submit the following documentation to the OAIA by May 3, 2021 at 5 PM ET. The applications will be tabled to the OAIA Board for consideration. The applicant should submit the following via email to info@oaia.on.ca  with the subject line “Ontario Impact Assessment Award – Student Bursary”:

  1. Student Statement Letter:Prepare a maximum 500 word statement explaining:
  • Applicant’s educational objectives and expected defense date;
  • Applicant’s current research objectives;
  • Applicant’s vision for how the outcome of the research may be used by practitioners;
  • A discussion of how this award would help the applicant attain the above objectives; and,
  • An overview of the applicant’s career ambitions in the field of impact assessment and a discussion of why the applicant wants to work in impact assessment.
  1. Abstract: The minimum 500 word abstract will indicate during which of the webinars the applicant wishes to present. It would also provide an overview of the topic and the perspectives that would be presented. Applicants are encouraged to contact info@oaia.on.ca during the month of September, should they wish to liaise with one of the webinar facilitators or with the OAIA Education Secretary during the preparation of the abstract.
  2. Student Resume:Indicate internships, work and/or co-op experience, academic courses and projects related to the applicant’s intended area of study. Extracurricular activities should be highlighted as an important aspect of the application.
  3. Proof of Enrollment:Please include proof that you are a student at the time of application and will still be a student at the time of the 2021 OAIA conference or webinar series.
  4. Recommendation Letter:All applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from their academic supervisor, outlining why the academic supervisor thinks this work/student deserves funding, how the project benefits impact assessment, and expected defense date. The letter of recommendation should be supplied separately from the application package directly by the academic supervisor by May 3, 2021 AT 5 PM ET. The letter should be emailed to info@oaia.on.ca with the subject line: “Name of Applicant – OAIA Student Bursary – Recommendation Letter”.
  5. Participation Commitment:The applicant must be available to present virtually during the appropriate 2021 OAIA conference or webinar series Failure to present during the 2021 OAIA conference or webinar series may result in forfeiting the bursary. The bursary will be issued to the applicant immediately following the 2021 OAIA conference or webinar series.

OAIA Student Bursary & Ontario Impact Assessment Award Recipients

2020

Jordan Bean is a MES Candidate at the University of Waterloo and recipient of the 2020 OAIA Student Bursary and Ontario Impact Assessment Award for her thesis entitled: Indigenous Partnerships in Impact Assessment: Towards Braided Collaboration. Jordan completed an undergraduate degree in Environment and Business and a certificate in Environmental Assessment. Jordan’s Master’s was in Social and Ecological Sustainability and her research was on collaborative impact assessment between Indigenous and non-Indigenous authorities in Canada.

For more information, visit here. To access Jordan’s presentation as part of the OAIA 2020 Webinar Series, you will need to be an OAIA member.

2019

Becca Spence is a MA in Sustainability Studies candidate at Trent University and the recipient of the 2019 OAIA Student Bursary and Ontario Impact Assessment Award for her thesis entitled: Transitions based strategic environmental assessment: Emergent protocols and techniques for prioritizing site specific wetland services during offsetting procedures. Becca has a research background in ecological restoration; supported by both a diploma from Fleming College and an Bachelor of Science, with Honors, in Ecological Restoration from Trent University. Becca has an affinity, closeness and gratitude for land and water and expressed a desire to reciprocate the gifts of waterways by ensuring their health now and in the future, while simultaneously supporting the health of current and future humans and animals that depend on them for food, water, medicine, homes, and so much more.

For more information, visit here. To access Becca’s presentation as part of the OAIA 2019 Conference, you will need to be an OAIA member.

2018

Lauren Arnold is a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia and the recipient of the 2018 OAIA Student Bursary and Ontario Impact Assessment Award for her thesis entitled: Freshwater Cumulative Effects and Environmental Assessment Decision-making. Her research interests include environmental assessment, cumulative effects, and resource management decision-making. Her PhD focuses on impact assessment policy and resource development. Her past academic and government research experiences included work in the Northwest Territories, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan.

For more information, visit here. To access Lauren’s presentation at the OAIA 2018 Conference, you will need to be an OAIA member.