Royal Roads hosts first doctoral conference August 20–22

Press Release

Royal Roads University is hosting its first doctoral conference August 20 –22, focused on socially engaged applied doctoral research in Canada.

The virtual conference will welcome doctoral students to present papers as well as giving faculty doctoral supervisors an opportunity to connect and discuss how to maintain quality of research as the idea of doctoral studies continues to evolve.

Topics of interest include some of humanity’s biggest challenges, like research impact, climate change or the COVID-19 pandemic. Conference sessions reflect the diversity of doctoral research from across Canada.

The conference features seven sessions for doctoral students including Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in Applied Research; Indigenous and Decolonization Research; Emerging Themes in Organizational Studies; Well-being and Health; Sustainability, Human, and Built Environment; and Education and Research Methods. Faculty sessions will focus on discussing the opportunities and challenges of doctoral education in Canada and ways to support applied doctoral research.

“It’s truly possible that a doctorate leads to any number of career paths now,” says Prof. Mary Bernard, conference co-lead and program head for the Royal Roads Doctor of Social Sciences. “Doctoral students end up in leadership positions in many different professions and are making a meaningful impact on their chosen fields.”

“Our own doctoral programs at Royal Roads are very rigorous academically, but also focused on applied research, which is a hybrid model,” says Doctor of Business Administration Program Head Hassan Wafai. “That research produces actionable and relevant knowledge related to the “how” rather than the “what”.

The conference also features four keynote addresses:

  • Friday, Aug. 20 at 9:30 a.m. (PDT): Susan Porter, Dean and Vice-Provost of Graduate and Post Doctoral studies for the University of British Columbia: The Formation of Scholars for the 21st Century
  • Saturday, Aug. 21 9:30 a.m. (PDT): Dominique Bérubé, Vice-President, Research, SSHRC: Supporting Emerging Research Leaders: Effective research training for applied and socially engaged research
  • Saturday, Aug. 21 at 1:30 p.m. (PDT): Ann Dale, Professor and Director of the School of Environment and Sustainability at RRU: The Research Process: Dealing with complex, wicked challenges
  • Sunday, Aug. 22 at 11 a.m.(PDT): Thomas Homer-Dixon, Director of the Cascade Institute at RRU: Knowledge, Activism and Hope: Finding the Balance.

Doctoral students at any phase of their research, and doctoral supervisors and faculty interested in discussing doctoral scholarship and supervision are attending the virtual conference.

“It’s our honour and pleasure to be able to host this conference,” says Royal Roads President Philip Steenkamp. “Effective doctoral research is about impactful solutions that benefit society, and the role and landscape of doctoral education continues to evolve.”

While it would be ideal to host the conference at the beautiful Royal Roads campus, organizers Wafai and Bernard and collaborator Assoc. Prof. Jaigris Hodson are already making plans to host the next conference in person.

The conference is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connections Grant.


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