Emerging Rural Research: Rural Futures Research Centre launches in Nova Scotia

Karen Foster | Karen.Foster@Dal.Ca

Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Rural Futures for Atlantic Canada, Dalhousie University
In January 2019, the Rural Futures Research Centre (RFRC) at Dalhousie launched its first telephone survey of Atlantic Canadians. The CFI-funded RFRC, established by Dr. Karen Foster, is outfitted with CATI workstations and field research equipment, and currently employs over a dozen undergraduate telephone interviewers and six graduate students. It will host three consecutive telephone surveys covering rural and urban Atlantic Canada over the next several months, on such topics as political attitudes and practices, work and income, and perceptions of changeDr. Foster’s long-term goal is for the centre to continue to support grant-funded research, but also take on external research contracts for qualitative and quantitative projects.
The RFRC would invest any profit from the latter into subsidized research with small communities that need data (for planning, grant applications, lobbying etc.) but lack the resources (money, staff and equipment) to collect and analyse it themselves. In the short term, Dr. Foster is collaborating with Dalhousie’s Faculty of Agriculture in Truro to expand the RFRC’s reach and develop it into an Institute that can bring rural researchers and students from both campuses together, and broaden the centre’s infrastructure out of Halifax and into the communities it is meant to serve.

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