Mandate and Objectives

The Nunavut Research Institute’s mandate is to develop, facilitate, and promote scientific research as a resource for the well being of people in Nunavut.

The Nunavut Research Institute (NRI) is responsible for

  • administering scientific research licensing in Nunavut, in accordance with Nunavut's Scientists Act;
  • facilitating collaborative research to address Nunavut's needs and priorities;
  • promoting the development and application of new technology to improve the quality of life of Nunavummiut;
  • providing advice on matters related to scientific research in Nunavut;
  • providing a clearing house of information on scientific research conducted in Nunavut; and
  • coordinating Nunavut Arctic College's Environmental Technology Program.

History of the Nunavut Research Institute

In 1984, the Government of the Northwest Territories established the Science Institute of the Northwest Territories (SINT) to administer research licensing in the territories and to advise the Territorial government on matters related to science and technology. In 1988, SINT assumed responsibility for the operations of the Government of Canada's field laboratories in Iqaluit and in Igloolik that had been established in the late 1970s to support marine research. The Eastern branch of SINT was then combined with Arctic College in 1995 and became the Nunavut Research Institute (NRI).

Responsibility for NRI's Igloolik facility was transferred to the Arctic College's Language and Culture Program in 2008. The centre oversees an oral history program and is an integral part of Nunavut Arctic College's new Inuit Language and Culture Centre.

In 2010 the Iqaluit research centre was replaced with a new facility with support from the Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund.

Hundreds of research field projects in the physical, biological, health, and social science disciplines have been supported by the Iqaluit and Igloolik research centers since they were established. Over the years, NRI’s role expanded well beyond providing scientific permits, technical advice, and logistic support. The Institute has administered a wide range of outreach, training and communication initiatives to inform Nunavummiut about research in Nunavut and to support young Nunavummiut in pursuing careers in scientific research. NRI has also actively worked to identify research needs, broker research partnerships, and facilitate dialogue and collaboration among Nunavut communities, academic research scientists, government agencies, and the private sector. NRI has also served as the point of contact in Nunavut for major research programs such as the International Polar Year. NRI staff have also led a variety of primary projects ranging from oral history documentation to development of methods for aquatic biomonitoring.

The Iqaluit Research Centre has established strong working relationships with Nunavut communities, Inuit organizations, government agencies and co-management bodies, and is well networked with academic, government and private sector institutions that conduct long term research in Nunavut. Utilizing these connections, the Institute serves as a clearinghouse for information on research in Nunavut and provides a focal point for science coordination and outreach, including hosting a Nunavut coordination office for International Polar Year. The centre also provides administrative support and supervision to Arctic College’s Environmental Technology Program, and works closely with research partners to design and conduct innovative environmental field monitoring programs.