Helping journalists, producers and conference planners find the female guests, speakers and expert sources they need.

Dr. Robin Cox

Director, Professor, ResilienceByDesign Research Innovation Lab, Royal Roads University

Climate, Climate Change, Climate Adaptation; Climate Adaptation Competencies; Climate Resilience; Disaster Risk Reduction; Disaster Psychosocial Planning; Disaster Mental Health Interventions; Creative Action Research, Higher Education, Human Dimensions of Disasters, Participatory Research, Qualitative and Mixed Method Research; Youth Engagement


How to Build a Climate Resilient Economy: featuring Mark Carney

Mark Carney is one of the worlds top central bankers and has long been calling for action on climate change. In this webinar, hosted by Dr. Robin Cox and Royal Roads University President, Philip Steenkamp, Carney discusses the need for building an economy based on climate resilience and climate action.

The Great Reset: The Case for Climate Action as Key to Economic Recovery in COVID

Hosted by Dr. Robin Cox, this webinar shares insight into the opportunities for speeding up climate action through government stimulus spending, new business strategies (e.g., green public-private partnerships), and education. Panelists include Dr. Matt Godsoe, Director for Public Safety Canada, RRU alumnus and Doctorate student, and Adam Lerner, Founder & Catalyst at Solvable. As part of this webinar, we also share information about our new Master of Arts and Graduate Diploma in Climate Action Leadership programs.

Changing the Narrative: Stories that Motivate Climate Action

Hosted by Dr. Robin Cox, this webinar explores how shifting the climate change story may offer a key to motivating citizens, businesses, and governments alike, to take the collective and transformative action necessary to shift the catastrophic trajectory we are on. Panelists include Johanna Wagstaffe (CBC News meteorologist and science host), Denise Withers (Narrative Strategist), and SG̲aan Kwahagang (James McGuire - Musician/Storyteller/Historian/Artist).

Developing Workforce Readiness for Climate Change

Dr. Robin Cox is joined by RRU President Philip Steenkamp , in a discussion of workforce readiness for climate change and how individuals, organizations and communities can use the new Climate Adaptation Competency Framework created by the Adaptation Learning Network to advance climate action.

Solving climate change will require a Neverland mindset | Robin Cox | Walrus Talks

TD Presents: The Walrus Talks Resilience. Recorded November 2, 2015 at the Theatre Junction Grand in Calgary. To purchase tickets to the next Walrus Talks in your area, visit *** Robin Cox is director of the Resilience by Design Innovation Lab and head of Royal Roads University’s Disaster and Emergency Management graduate program. Her research deals with youth and their capacity for community resilience in the face of disasters, climate change, and socio-economic challenges. The RbD is a virtual and face-to-face consortium of academic and community researchers, students, post-doctoral fellows, and young people committed to resilience. Its strategies include arts-based methods, digital storytelling, design, and gamification.

Emergency Relief: A conversation about the Nepal 2015 Earthquake

Lieutenant-Colonel E.M. Iazatt speaks with Robin Cox about the Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) deployment in Nepal in 2015.

CBC Radio - BC Almanac, May 6, 2016Radio/Podcast


Royal Roads University Prof. Robin Cox on wildfires and the psychological impact they can have.

CBC Radio - On The Coast, May 9, 2016Radio/Podcast


Interview with Stephen Quinn on CBC Radio's 'On The Coast' about the traumatic effects of Fort McMurray forest fires. Interview begins at 2:40.

CFAX 1070 Radio, September 9, 2016Radio/Podcast


Talking about 9-11, fifteen years later with Radio Host Pamela McCall. Robin was one of a small group of Canadian Red Cross volunteers seconded by the American Red Cross as part of the enormous response to the collapse of the World Trade Centre. In this call in show, Robin offers some thoughts on what the 9-11 events contributed to our understanding of trauma and the psychosocial impacts of disasters. She states "It's part of the reason it's important to continue talking about these events in some way, even though it's 15 years ago, to help children and young people understand how history shapes current events and to dig deeper, below the kinds of headline news that we consume to understand how policy and cultural changes and foreign relations etc get shaped by events like these and how they are used in the rhetoric of politicians. So I think it's a really important consideration and as tragic as the loss of life was, there was this deep collective cultural impact in North America in particular, which had global implications that we are still experiencing around the world" Robin's comments begin at 6 minutes , 40s.

Un Acadien au coeur du traumatisme de Fort McMurray

Radio Canada, May 9, 2016Online


Comment les 80 000 évacués de Fort McMurray peuvent-ils s'attendre à vivre les prochaines semaines? Des centres d'aide ont été installés à Calgary et à Edmonton, où la plupart des sinistrés ont trouvé refuge. Conseils et trucs pour surmonter le traumatisme.

Study investigates disaster impact, resiliency of kids in 2013 floods

Global News, June 22, 2015Online


Called the Alberta Resilient Communities (ARC) project, it’s led by faculty of social work associate professor Julie Drolet, professor Robin Cox from Royal Roads University and Mount Royal University’s assistant professor Caroline McDonald-Harker ...

Past disasters show how evacuees rebuild and recover, psychologists say

CBC News, May 7, 2016Online


A massive, unpredictable fire is a traumatic event, and the evacuation touches everyone in the community, said Prof. Robin Cox, the graduate program leader in disaster and emergency management at Royal Roads University in Victoria ...

Hey, Hey, Hey—Listen to What I Gotta Say: Songs Elevate Youth Voice in Alberta Wildfire Disaster Recovery.

by Plush, T., & Cox, R.S.

Published by Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning

Music pulses emotion in its lyrics, its tune, and in the creative process.A song can move people to dance, to reflect, and—often—to act. For an artist, a song’s creation can also reveal and clarify one’s own emotions. When people listen, a song can legitimize that the artists have something valuable to say—especially when the artists are youth who believe their ideas need a wider audience. This article talks about the power of song for youth recovery post-disaster in the context of the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire disaster in Alberta, Canada. It highlights the use of music in a community-engaged research project that aimed to understand and amplify youth ideas for improving their community. The article draws on the value of Youth-Adult Partnerships, where eight youth worked with a professional recording studio in the wildfire-affected community to produce original songs for a youth-centric social media campaign. Focusing on the youths’ songs and personal experiences of their development, the article offers ways forward for wildfire recovery through processes that strengthen youth voice and wellbeing. The community-engaged research process underscores the power of music creation as an empowering method for enhancing youth engagement and reveals youths’ insights through their musical reflections on their priorities for a resilient community after disaster.


Assessing Canada’s disaster baselines and projections under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: a modeling tool to track progress

by Godsoe, M, Ladd, M. & Cox, R.S.

Published by Natural Hazards

April 3, 2019

Under the United Nations (UN) Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015–2030), 187 countries including Canada committed to increasing disaster resilience and reducing disaster losses by 2030. In order to track these commitments, the UN developed methodological guidance to establish baselines and assess progress across seven global targets for disaster risk reduction. This article describes research that employs the UN methodology to create baselines and targets for Canada, and extends the UN methodology further by developing a statistical modeling software application to project current trends to the year 2030. Based on the results, Canada would need to prevent 88 hazard events from becoming disasters; keep the disaster fatality rate near zero; avoid 4700 disaster-related injuries; prevent 556,000 people from being evacuated; avoid $92 billion in disaster losses; and protect significant sources of critical infrastructure from disruption. Three key limitations were identified in the research: First, there was a lack of consistent Canadian data across impact categories and over time; second, the historical record of disasters, particularly hydrometeorological disasters, may not be an adequate proxy for the future; and third there were also acute prediction limitations in the projection model which could not account for very frequent small-scale and very infrequent catastrophic-scale disaster events. Though the model projections suggest Canada may face a significant challenge in the years ahead, with a recently announced $180 billion infrastructure investment plan, there is an opportunity for Canada to better manage disaster risks, by not just building back better, but also building smart to start.


Place attachment, well-being, and resilience

by Scannell, L., Li Qin Tan, Cox, R. S., & Gifford, R.

Published by Routledge Handbook of People and Place in the 21st-Century City

August 12, 2019

Place attachment, the cognitive-emotional bond that develops between individuals and their important places (Low and Altman 1992), is a common and possibly universal phenomenon (Lewicka 2011). The bonds can emerge with different types of places (e.g. natural or built) at different geographical scales (e.g. a room in a house, a neighborhood, a city, region, or country), and usually become significant through personal experiences or culturally determined meanings (Scannell and Gifford 2010). Given the prevalence of person–place bonds, researchers are further exploring why such bonds exist, how they benefit individuals psychologically, and how they detract from, or contribute to, resilience (Cox and Perry 2011; Cutter et al. 2008).


More than a checkbox: Engaging youth in disaster risk reduction and resilience in Canada

by Cox, R.S., Hill, T.T., Plush, T., Heykoop, C. & Tremblay, C.

Published by Natural Hazards

October 11, 2021

As the risks and costs associated with disasters and climate change escalate, international, national, and regional governments are searching for ways to increase citizen engagement, as well as develop innovations and investments to reduce disaster risks and enhance climate change adaptation. As a signatory to the Sendai Framework for disaster risk reduction (DRR), Canada has committed to a whole of society approach to DRR that includes engaging youth as credible stakeholders. Historically, in the context of disasters, young people (children and youth) have more often been framed one-dimensionally as a population at high risk of experiencing negative impacts during disasters, and, therefore, a population in need of protection. However, youth have more recently been recognized as having potential as change agents in their communities and stakeholders in the development and implementation of DRR policies and practices (Cox et al. in Int J Disaster Risk Reduct 22:249–356, 2017). As the first digitally native generation, youth today are equipped with unprecedented technological savvy, an entrepreneurial orientation, and confidence in their ability to change the world. From this perspective, youth, aged 15–24, stand poised as a significant capacity multiplier in Canada’s efforts to reduce the risks and impacts associated with disasters and climate change. This paper explores the current state of youth engagement in DRR in Canada and opportunities for extending and deepening that engagement.


The 4P framework: A principled approach for engaging youth in DRR and disaster recovery

by Cox, R.S. et al.

Published by Research Counts, Children and Disasters Special Collection, August 2019

August 17, 2019

The ResiliencebyDesign Lab at Royal Roads University has developed a framework for youth engagement in risk reduction and climate change efforts. It promotes adults as allies working with youth through four key principles: Partnerships, Place, Purpose and Process. The framework encourages meaningful engagement actions that position youth as critical stakeholders and key contributors in strengthening personal and community resilience. The RbD Lab 4P Framework supports purposeful actions that can advance the health, well-being, and resilience of youth, and contribute to everyday personal growth and respect. It responds to the rights of youth as equal citizens in decisions and processes that affect them and their peers, families and communities. The framework was developed through multiple RbD Lab projects, including “Youth Voices Rising: Recovery and Resilience in Wood Buffalo” funded the Canadian Red Cross.


Youth Creating Disaster Recovery and Resilience: A Multi-Site Arts-Based Youth Engagement Research Project

Published by Children, Youth, Environments

September 8, 2016

Youth Creating Disaster Recovery and Resilience: A Multi-Site Arts-Based Youth Engagement Research Project Author(s): Sarah Fletcher, Robin S. Cox, Leila Scannell, Cheryl Heykoop, Jennifer Tobin- Gurley and Lori Peek Source: Children, Youth and Environments, Vol. 26, No. 1 (2016), pp. 148-163 Published by: University of Cincinnati Stable URL: Accessed: 15-06-2016 15:33 UTC Abstract Youth have historically been understudied in disaster research and largely excluded in practice. Yet, a growing body of evidence suggests that they want to be actively engaged, and when they are, can contribute in myriad ways to disaster preparedness, response, and recovery processes. This field report describes the Youth Creating Disaster Recovery and Resilience (YCDR2) project—a Canadian- United States applied research initiative aimed at learning from and with youth ages 13-22 about their disaster experiences. The project used creative and arts-based methods to engage youth in participatory workshops held in disaster-affected communities. Key findings, research and implementation challenges, successes, and lessons learned are discussed.


Understanding Youth Disaster Recovery: The Vital Role of People, Places, and Activities

Published by International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction

November 11, 2017

Highlights • Youth's lived experiences of disasters are relatively under-examined. • Youth from four communities shared perspectives on disaster recovery using arts-based methods. • Key people aided their recovery though instrumental, emotional, and companionship support. • Youth identified places that supported their recovery by satisfying psychological needs. • Youth identified a range of activities and the means through which they aided in their recovery. Abstract As disasters escalate in frequency and severity, children and youth are among those most at risk for resulting adverse psychological, social, health, and educational effects. Although there is growing interest in the vulnerabilities and capacities of youth who have experienced disaster, research focusing on their lived experiences during the recovery period remains sparse. In response to this knowledge gap, youth between the ages of 13–22 were invited to participate in workshops spanning one to four days, where they used art, music, photography, videography, and other means to articulate their experiences of post-disaster recovery. The research took place in four disaster-affected communities in the United States and Canada, including Joplin, Slave Lake, Calgary, and High River. Youth stories revealed key people, places, and activities that supported their recovery, and the mechanisms through which those supports had a positive impact. Examining youth perspectives is important to concretize and contextualize theories of disaster recover


Sequestering of Suffering: Critical Discourse Analysis of Natural Disaster Media Coverage

Published by Journal of Health Psychology

2008 This article is a critical discourse analysis of the local print-news media coverage of the recovery process in two rural communities following a devastating forest fire. Two hundred and fifty fire-related articles from the North Thompson Star Journal (2003) were analyzed.


Like a Fish Out of Water: Reconsidering Disaster Recovery and the Role of Place and Social Capital in Community Disaster Resilience

Published by American Journal of Community Psychology

2011 In this paper we draw on the findings of a critical, multi-sited ethnographic study of two rural communities affected by a wildfire in British Columbia, Canada to examine the salience of place, identity, and social capital to the disaster recovery process and community disaster resilience. We argue that a reconfiguration of disaster recovery is required that more meaningfully considers the role of place in the disaster recovery process and opens up the space for a more reflective and intentional consideration of the disorientation and disruption associated with disasters and our organized response to that disorientation.


Engaging Youth in Post-Disaster Research Lessons learned from a creative methods approach

Published by International Journal of Community Research and Engagement

September 8, 2016

Peek, L., Tobin-Gurley, J., Cox, Robin S., Scannell, L., Fletcher, S., and Heykoop, C. Youth Creating Disaster Recovery & Resilience (YCDR2) is a cross- border initiative aimed at learning from and with disaster-affected youth 13 to 22 years of age in Joplin, Missouri, in the United States, and Slave Lake, Calgary and High River, Alberta, in Canada. Each of these communities experienced major disasters and were in the early stages of recovery when they were selected for this study. Working with local partners in each community, YCDR2 faculty and students engaged youth in experiential and arts-based workshops to explore their stories of recovery and resilience. The questions framing this research project focused on the people, places, spaces and activities that helped or hindered the recovery process for youth and their peers. Beyond the practical and theoretical advances of the work, which are described elsewhere (Cox,et al. 2016; Fletcher et al. 2016), the project offers a number of methodological contributions and lessons learned about community and youth engagement and processes that simultaneously highlight the capacities of youth, generate data, and provide novel options for knowledge mobilisation in disaster research and practice. This article, therefore, describes the YCDR2 engagement and research process and elaborates on the opportunities and challenges associated with establishing youth-community-academic partnerships in post- disaster contexts.


Community Disaster Resilience and the Rural Resilience Index

Published by American Behavioral Scientist

2014 This article describes the development and field testing of the Rural Resilience Index (RRI), an applied disaster resilience assessment index for use in rural and remote communities. The index was generated as part of the Rural Disaster Resilience Project.


Capacity building approaches to emergency management in rural communities: recommendations from survivors of the British Columbia Wildfires, 2003

Published by International Journal of Emergency Management

2007 This paper responds to the ongoing calls within emergency management for more community-driven and capacity building approaches to the response to and recovery from natural disasters. Moving from the rhetoric of community-driven approaches to the practice, this paper highlights and draws on specific practice recommendations made by residents in two rural Canadian communities affected by a devastating forest fire.


Career-community development: a framework for career counseling and capacity building in rural communities

Published by Journal of Employment Counseling

2005 The authors propose a framework for career counseling in rural communities that addresses the psychosocial and economic challenges of natural disasters and other catastrophic transitions. The career-community development framework expands the notion of “client” to include a community-as-client approach within a capacity building orientation to supporting workers in the wake of large-scale disruptions.



Robin Cox is a Professor at Royal Roads University where she Directs the ResilienceByDesign lab -( a collaborative, interdisciplinary lab conducting research and programming focused on building climate adaptation and disaster resilience leadership and capacity with youth and adults. Robin is the Program Head of the new Graduate program in Climate Action Leadership ( and has been a core faculty member in the Disaster and Emergency Management graduate programs for the past 15 years. Robin designed the Climate Action Leadership program as an open-learning, trans-disciplinary program that responds to the urgent need for diverse professionals from all sectors to build the competencies and capabilities necessary to lead climate action in their communities, organizations, and societies.

Cox’s professional training as a Counselling Psychologist (University of British Columbia) includes expertise in the psychosocial dimensions of disasters and climate change (e.g, anxiety, trauma, stress, belonging) and effective psychosocial responses to mitigate harm and vulnerabilities and contribute to personal and collective resilience.

Cox's ResilienceByDesign (RbD) lab uses a Creative Action Research approach that reimagines research as both a means of generating knowledge and simultaneously building capacity. Using participatory and arts-based methods, design thinking, and visual storytelling, this work is designed to inspire innovation, weave connections, and build essential 21st century competencies. Robin and the RbD are seeding change to contribute to mainstreaming resilience and climate change adaptation.

For the past ten years, the lab has worked with youth to understand and support their engagement in disaster risk reduction and climate action through co-empowerment and youth-designed resilience initiatives. The lab's current projects include the Adaptation Learning Network (ALN:, a $2-million project funded by Natural Resources Canada and the BC Climate Action Secretariat. The 3-year ALN project is building climate adaptation capacity with organizations, professionals, businesses and communities through professional development training and networking. They recently launched the first comprehensive Climate Adaptation Competency Framework, a tool designed to help individuals, organizations and communities understand, assess, and build climate adaptation knowledge, skills and abilities. Other RbD projects include Youth Designing Climate Resilience, a participatory action research project using design thinking and decolonized research practices to empower youth and adult allies in Puerto Rico and British Columbia as agents of change and resilience in their communities.


Post-Doctoral Fellowship | Professional

2008 Michael Smith Health Research Foundation.

Kelly Outstanding Teaching Award | Professional

2016 Awarded by Royal Roads University.

Doctoral Fellowship | Professional

2006 Social Science & Humanities Research Council.

Certificate of Academic Excellence | Professional

2007 Awarded by the Canadian Psychological Association.

Best Doctoral Dissertation Award | Professional

2007 Awarded by the Canadian Psychological Association – Counselling Section.

Past Talks

Youth Creating Disaster Recovery: A participatory action research project

XVIII International Sociological Association World Congress of Sociology

Yokohama, Japan, July 1, 2014

Youth Engagement in Disaster Risk Reduction

Understanding Risk+ Vancouver

Vancouver, British Columbia Canada, March 29, 2017

The Rural Disaster Resilience Project and the Resilience Index

Canadian Risks and Hazards Network Annual Symposium

Ottawa, ON, March 1, 2012

Rural Resilience

37th Natural Hazards Research and Application Workshop

Broomfield, CO, July 1, 2012

Creating and Exploring the integration of PhotoVoice and Human Library methodologies in community building

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Conference

Barcelona Spain, June 1, 2012

Disaster Resilience and Risk Reduction

Forum on Emergency Preparedness and Response 2012

Edmonton, AB, January 1, 2012

Research Grants

Developing a Climate Adaptation Micro-credential Strategy

Organization: BC Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training & Natural Resources Canada
Date: September 30, 2020
Grant amount: $55,000


This grant supports the design of a Climate Adaptation micro-credential pilot strategy in BC. The project brings together a community of interest-and-practice which includes BC post-secondary institutions and educators, BC professional associations, public sector organizations, and private sector firms, all of whom share interest and mandates in support of federal and provincial climate change adaptation capacity-building policies and workforce development requirements.

Adaptation Learning Network

Organization: Natural Resources Canada and the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Action
Date: January 1, 2020
Grant amount: 2,107,650


The Adaptation Learning Network: Inspiring Climate Action aims to increase British Columbia’s capacity to prepare for and adapt to climate change. We work to enhance working professionals' knowledge and skills who care for the province’s natural resources and infrastructure, including engineers, planners, technicians, landscape architects, agrologists, biologists, and foresters. We help build their skills through professional training in climate adaptation while encouraging knowledge exchange through a network of professionals in multiple disciplines.

More information:

Youth Designing Climate Resilience

Organization: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Date: April 1, 2020
Grant amount: 270,000


The research focuses on youth engagement, climate change and climate adaptation,
social innovation, design thinking and other transformative and authentic learning processes with youth and adult allies in Puerto Rico and British Columbia Canada. Each of these foci, in of themselves, draw from and inform a range of disciplinary interests in the social sciences including researchers and practitioners in disaster sociology and emergency management, psychology of creativity, education, environmental studies, adolescent and youth development, and climate change science (natural and social sciences). In good measure, this reflects the complexity of climate change, which has implications for every sector of society, every livelihood, and for many if not most disciplines in the social and applied sciences (health, population health. The research focus on mobilizing youth engagement in climate change touches on issues related to voice, social justice, and inclusion – topics of interest in different ways to researchers and practitioners in psychology (adolescent and youth development, social psychology), education, justice studies, ethics, civic engagement, and social processes. Social innovation and design thinking are similarly multifaceted and no single discipline dominates this body of literature, as it is being explored and used in education, social entrepreneurship, environmental sciences, public administration, and urban studies. The study of individual- and community-level resilience is also diverse, with contributions from sociology of disasters, positive psychology, human geography, child and adolescent psychology, community and environmental psychology, environmental studies, environmental education, disaster studies, education, and many others.

Virtual Climate Change Hub for Canada

Organization: Natural Resources Canada
Date: February 23, 2021
Grant amount: 100,000


This project provided detail on an approach to envisioning, development and operation of a contemporary “Climate Adaptation Virtual Hub” for Canada; a technology-enabled hub that would respond to the needs of those already deeply engaged in and focused on building climate adaptation capacity across sectors, professions, and regions while also providing an avenue for those newer to adaptation to learn, connect and build their capacity. The vision outlined in the report described a pathway to better resourcing those individuals and organizations across society tasked with managing the risks, hazards and impacts of climate change - e.g. floods, sea level rise, surge storms, ocean acidification, melting ice caps, loss of biodiversity, wildfires, climate change-based human migration, and all the social vulnerability issues that result from these hazards. The goal of the project was to provide NRCan with a vision for a digital or virtual hub that would contribute to this agenda and in so doing, help build climate resilient sectors, systems, services, people, and communities, while also fostering innovations, networks, and workforce opportunities.

Youth Creating Disaster Recovery and Resilience

Organization: Social Science Humanities Research Council Insight Grant
Date: September 12, 2016
Grant amount: 182867


The Youth Creating Disaster Recovery & Resilience (YCDR) is a research project for youth affected by disasters. YCDR is connecting with youth in disaster-affected communities in Canada and the United States. We are using art, video, and storytelling to hear directly from youth about what they need, the challenges they have faced, and how they might contribute to helping their friends, families, and communities recover from disasters.

More information:

YCDR Resilience Innovation Lab

Organization: International Social Sciences Council T2S_PP- 180
Date: September 8, 2016
Grant amount: 41805


DESCRIPTION: Youth Creating Disaster Resilience (YCDR) seeks to formally establish an international, trans-disciplinary applied research lab focused on youth-centered and youth-friendly disaster risk reduction and community resilience research and action. Youth can be significantly and adversely impacted during disasters but they can also be particularly resilient and powerful ‘catalysts for change.’ The YCDR Innovation Lab is dedicated to the on-going development of applied research, education and policy initiatives that empower youth as transformative knowledge generators, partners, and citizens. YCDR will involve youth leaders, researchers, practitioners, and non-governmental organizations from North America, Australia, South East Asia and Africa. Youth’s creative expression and self-advocacy will be encouraged through participatory video, new media production, and the local and global dissemination of their creative outputs. YCDR’s goal is to enhance our understanding of and ability to engage youth, particularly those marginalized by poverty, gender, and other forms of inequality, in social change and resilience building.


Organization: Canadian Institute for Health Research: Team Grant: Environments and Health: Intersectoral Prevention Research - LOI
Date: October 1, 2015
Grant amount: $50,000


This LOI grant supports a transdisciplinary team of researchers, led by PI Dr. Michael Ungar, in the development of a full grant application for a CIHR Team Grant. This research focuses on developing a systemic understanding of how oil and gas industries affect the multiple social determinants of youth health. Participatory explore how to enhance the potentially positive impacts of extraction industries (e.g., employment, community cohesion) while mitigating the negative consequences of oil and gas production (e.g. finding better ways to help youth deal with family stressors, social disruptions and forced migration), and exploring how youth can contribute to low carbon economies. Simply put, we want to learn how young people adapt across the carbon cycle and use what we learn about their patterns of resilience to improve the lives of all young people. Both oil and gas production and the process of consumption (as it relates to climate change) have large impacts, both positive and negative, on social, economic and environmental systems that affect young people’s mental health and overall wellbeing. To better understand these complex relationships at both ends of the carbon cycle, a multidisciplinary and multisectoral team of researchers and community and industry partners in two communities in Canada (one in Alberta and one in Nunavut) and two communities in South Africa (one on the coast, another in the interior) will study the resilience of young people and the systems with which they interact. Unique among studies of resilience, this project will conduct four detailed case studies to examine the biological and psychological resilience of young people, family and community resilience, and the resilience of environmental systems as they interact over a period of several years.

Enhancing Community Resilience: Youth engagement in disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation

Organization: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Date: April 1, 2017
Grant amount: $179, 399


This research Is focused on enhancing youth engagement in disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change adaptation (CCA) and resilience building. The project will employ a youth participatory action approach and a mixed-methods research design to explore issues related to DRR, CCA and resilience with Gen Z youth (ages 14-24). The goal is to increase the disaster resilience and climate change adaptive capacity of youth and their communities through capacity building, meaningful youth engagement, and social innovation. The three year research project will engage youth as co-researchers in experiential research workshops designed to build skills in social innovation and community research, and build a deeper understanding of risk and resilience. This qualitative work will be inform the development of a survey that investigates barriers to and drivers of youth engagement in DRR and CCA. Youth will be invited to engage as co-researchers and to work with the research team to refine and then implement a youth-centric social innovation lab process first piloted with disaster impacted youth in Southern Alberta. The resilience strategy prototypes generated through the lab will be piloted and evaluated in the research communities. Young people will be involved throughout as co-researchers, actively participating in knowledge mobilization activities designed to engage policy and decision makers, spark community conversations, and broadly share the findings.

Alberta Resilient Communities Research Project: Engaging Children and Youth in Community Resilience Post-flood in Southern Alberta

Organization: Alberta Innovates Health Solutions
Date: September 8, 2016
Grant amount: 1059715


Dr. Julie Drolet - University of Calgary - Community Influencers Stream Dr. Robin S. Cox - Royal Roads University -Youth Focused Stream Dr. Caroline McDonald-Harker - Child Focused Stream The Alberta Resilient Communities research project focuses on the lived realities of children, youth, and their communities in order to inform and strengthen child and youth mental health and enhance disaster preparedness, disaster risk reduction, and resilience in Southern Alberta. The research team is a collaborative partnership between academics of the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, and Royal Roads University and community based partners from Calgary, High River, and the Foothills region. Our approach to research and resilience-building is child – and youth centered, utilizing participatory methods where children and young people are engaged and empowered along with adult allies and communities to enact resilience building strategies. Over the next three years, we plan not only to produce literature on post-disaster health and resilience among children and youth, but also contribute to the development of innovative child and youth informed resources, tools, guides and frameworks to positively impact resilience and disaster recovery. We will develop activities that empower children, youth, and their adult allies to implement resilience building in their households and communities, while also influencing practice and policy through recommendations to reduce disaster risk and increase resilience in Alberta.

Building resilience and rural health system capability for pre-disaster planning and preparedness

Organization: JusticeCRTI 07-0135RD Justice Institute of BC with funding from Center for Security Science


The Rural Disaster Resilience Project was a multi-year, multi-million dollar project funded by Defense Research and Development Canada, Centre for Security Science. Its purpose is to strengthen the community disaster management and health system capabilities of rural, remote, and coastal communities through community-based action research that informs and influences policy and practice. The project developed three online assessment tools: Rural Resiliency Index, Hazard Resilience Index and Hazard Risk Assessment. Project partners include: JIBC Office of Applied Research, Centre for Security Science, Public Health Agency of Canada, JIBC Emergency Management Division, Royal Roads University, and Pearces 2 Consulting Corporation.

More information:

Children and youth’s resilience in the context of energy resource production, climate change, and the need to transition to low-carbon goods and services

Organization: Social Science Humanities Research Council Knowledge Synthesis Grant 421-2014-1025
Date: October 1, 2015
Grant amount: 50000


Current practices in energy resource extraction, especially carbon-intensive options such as natural gas and oil, present a major challenge for global economic and social sustainability. Children and youth emerge as key population groups both because they are impacted by energy resource extraction, and because they stand as potentially powerful actors in implementing the transition to low-carbon goods and services. Despite this, children and youth are noticeably absent from the social science literature on natural resources, and are typically excluded from impact assessments and national development plans. This synthesis analyzes current knowledge about the effects of energy resource extraction on child and youth’s biopsychosocial health and resilience. It will also be used to make concrete recommendations for policy makers and practitioners to minimize the negative impacts of energy resource extraction on youth and maximize strategies for engaging children and youth as leaders, innovators and change makers in the global energy transition.


  • Climate Change Adaptation
  • Youth Engagement
  • Stress and Coping
  • Resilience
  • Qualitative and Mixed Method Research
  • Participatory Research
  • Human Dimensions of Climate Change & Disasters
  • Higher Education
  • Creative Action Research
  • Community Resilience
  • Disaster Psychosocial Response
  • Disaster Communication
  • Disaster Management
  • Disaster Mental Health Interventions
  • Disaster Psychosocial Planning


  • University of British Columbia
    Educational and Counselling Psychology
    Ph.D., 2007
  • University of British Columbia
    Educational and Counselling Psychology
    M.A., 1996
  • University of British Columbia
    B.A., 1993

Sign up to receive workshop notifications, occasional blog posts and our quarterly newsletter

JOURNALISTS: Sign up to receive alerts for sources for breaking news stories