Research Partnerships

Research Support Fund

The Research Support Fund assists the Nunavut Research Institute (NRI) in supporting research activities funded by Canada's 3 federal granting agencies. Further information on the fund can found at  NRI has utilized the Research Support Fund for a variety of improvements to our library, laboratories and administrative areas to better support a broad range of research activities.  

Funds received in 2015-16 were used to improve NRI’s research facilities and resources.  Our virtual research library was expanded and moved to a new web location.   We also improved our equipment storage facilities, and built new display cases to house research periodicals, publications, and artefacts.

Lightning Detection

Nunavut Research Institute hosts a lightning detection unit for The Weather Network. The unit detects lightning over Hudson Bay and Davis Strait up to 70 degrees north latitude. Information received contributes to the calculation of lightning strikes and patterns across Canada. This monitoring program will help expand our knowledge of how lightning patterns in the Arctic are changing over time and how this might be influenced by changing global climate.

weather network

Photovoltaic Array

In 1995 a 3.2 KWp grid connected photovoltaic system was installed on the façade of Nunavut Arctic College’s, Nunatta campus in Iqaluit to demonstrate the effectiveness of PV technology for power generation in an Arctic climate setting.  Since it was installed, the array has functioned without interruption, continuously delivering electricity to the community power grid. Each year, the array produces about enough electricity to  power the lights in one classroom for 120 days. In 2014 new data logging equipment was installed and the system is monitored continuously by Natural Resources Canada.


Geomagnetic Observatory

The Geomagnetic Observatory in Iqaluit is owned by the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) but operated by Nunavut Research Institute. NRI collects data at the observatory weekly. The data provides GSC with the necessary information to calculate the earth’s magnetic declination (position of the North Magnetic pole). The North magnetic pole appears to be drifting gradually over time for reasons not completely clear. This information is potentially valuable for navigation, global positioning, and telecommunications.


Partnership for Integrated hydrological and water quality monitoring, research, and training, in the Apex River watershed


Nunavut Community Wastewater Research

NRI partnered with Dalhousie Univeristy's Centre for Water Resource Studies in 2012 to upgrade the NRI's existing water quality laboratory in Iqlauit to support applied research on Nunavut community wastewater system performance. The laboratory is the only facility in Nunavut dedicated to water research is now fully equipped to support quality controlled analysis of biological and chemical parameters in water and wastewater. Major equipment in the lab includes -80C and -10C freezers, spectrophotometers, water chemistry probes, a Level 2 biosafety cabinet, reverse osmosis water purification system, benchtop incubators, autoclaves, centrifuges, digital balances and much more.   Wasterwater samples from several Nunavut communities are analysed at the lab to better understand general chemical and mocrobial quality of community wastewater, and to determine how effective natural tundra wetlands are in removing contamination from wastewater before it enters the marine receiving environment. This study will help us understand the dynamics of wastewater in an Arctic climate and determine appropriate effluent guidelines for Nunavut's municipal wastewater.  As the population of Nunavut's communities continue to grow, the need to develop effective systems to manage our wastewater is becomming more and more important.  To learn more visit Dalhousie's centre for water resource studies



In 2009 NRI initiated a project to monitor inidcator bacteria (total coliforms and Escherichi coli) in the Apex (Niaqungut) river which has been selected as a supplementary potable water source for the community of Iqaluit. This long term monitoring program has been conducted annually every year since 2009 and will provide baseline information on microbial water quality trends during the annual the open water period (approximately from June to October).  We hope to determine the timing of seasonal peak loads of bacteria, and understand how factors such as river discharge, water temperature, and organic carbon, might influence bacteria levels. Every year we work with students from Arctic College to collect water samples from a fixed monitoring location.  To date, we've tested approximatley 340 samples over the 6 years using defined substrate technology (IDEXX)   This system allows for rapid, reliable, and simple detection and enumeration of total coliforms and E.coli in surface waters and can be employed effectively for community based monitoring.

NRI student and ETP graduate (2010) Criag Beardsall incubates water samples for E.coli testing at the NRI water lab 
Collecting water samples from Apex River, Iqaluit
For more information on the water monitoring project please contact Jamal Shirley, NRI's Manager of Research Design



ReSDA is a Major Research Collaboration that brings together a broad range of disciplines and organizations representing universities, colleges, communities, government, the private sector and non-profits in northern Canada and other Circumpolar countries. This Northern Research Network has offices in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Nunavik.  The network's research is all focused around one key question: how can we ensure that a larger share of the benefits of resource developments stay in the region with fewer costs to communities?

Beginning April 1, 2011 this network started to develop, conduct and mobilize research aimed at the sustainable development of Arctic natural resources in a manner that will improve the health and well being of Canada's northern communities while preserving the region's unique environment. The Nunavut Research Institute hosts the ReSDA office in Nunavut and helps to plan a Nunavut based research.  For more information visit the ReSDA website.