Alexander Wilkinson, research analyst on the University of Calgary’s Sustainability Studies team, is developing a database so that UCalgary has an inventory of its sustainability-related researchers, providing the ability to build an interdisciplinary sustainability community of practice.
“We want to bring researchers together and be leaders for interdisciplinary sustainability research. Currently I’m cataloguing all sustainability and sustainability-related research being done across campus,” says Wilkinson.
In addition to the community of practice, Wilkinson also conducts applied sustainability research as a PhD student through UCalgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design. In his PhD, Wilkinson is conducting research on two case studies with a focus on community health and well-being, sustainable development, resilience and capacity development for effective local responses to change.
The first case study is a project in partnership with the Artic Institute of North America (AINA), amongst other external partners. Together, Alex, AINA and external partners are implementing a food security intervention project where they are using a containerized hydroponic system, with a complementary renewable energy system, to sustainably grow fresh produce in rural northern communities.
“One goal of this research is to use hydroponics to provide northern communities with fresh produce all year long,” says Wilkinson. “We’re trying to determine if we can produce food in an off-grid scenario in the middle of winter in the Yukon when it’s -40 degrees and there is only one hour of sunlight.”