Dean's research grants support strategically-oriented projects

May 12, 2014

Three researchers at Memorial’s business faculty have been awarded Dean’s Strategic Research Grants for 2014.

Drs. Gordon Cooke, Tom Cooper and Natalie Slawinski are undertaking projects of importance to Newfoundland and Labrador in areas that range from resource benefits agreements to social enterprises to employment and rural workers.

tom-cooper“The Dean’s Strategic Research Awards is a great program to help fund research ideas that are of benefit to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador,” says Dr. Cooper, assistant professor.

Dr. Cooper’s project, “Governance, risk and compliance in the development of benefit agreements,” looks at the wide-ranging effects of natural resource extraction benefits agreements on businesses and societies, particularly how these agreements are being managed at organizational and business levels. He expects this project to complement his ongoing work on aboriginal business and risk management.

“I’m always excited about developing new research ideas and this award will help me start this research and see where it develops. I appreciate the support of the Faculty of Business Administration in developing my research agenda,” says Dr. Cooper.

natalie-slawinskiDr. Slawinski is an assistant professor of strategy. Her project is titled, “Understanding tensions and paradoxes in social enterprises.”

“Social enterprises must balance a number of tensions including between social and financial goals. I will seek to understand how this tension gets managed by studying a local social enterprise in depth,” she says. “I’m delighted to have support for research that can have both global and local impact.”

Dr. Cooke is working on three research projects. The first, called “Young rural workers: The location-education-employment decision,” assesses the choices that young adults in rural areas of NL face regarding employment, education and location while the second project focuses on rural tourism and employment opportunities. Dr. Cook is working with Jenny Burns and Kyle Vardy, recent graduates of Memorial’s master of employment relations (MER) program, on both of these projects.

gordon-cookeHis third project, with recent master of business administration graduate Deidre Hutchings, looks at employment conditions facing older, rural workers.

“I think we have an obligation to contribute, in some way, to the economic and social well-being of the citizens of this province,” says Dr. Cooke. “To do that requires dedicating some portion of our research attention to data collection and analysis on issues within the province, so I’m delighted to have received this grant.”

The Dean’s Strategic Research competition was created in 2011 by Dr. Wilfred Zerbe, dean. It provides teaching remissions to faculty members to pursue research projects that address questions of scholarly importance while contributing to improved understanding of business problems and issues of strategic importance. These can include research in dominant and critical sectors of the provincial economy, business processes that facilitate economic development, and better understanding of business opportunities and challenges of particular relevance to the province.

“As a faculty that’s dedicated to both excellence and relevance in our teaching, research, and engagement activities, we think it’s critical that our research contributes to the betterment of Newfoundland and Labrador as well as has high impact in the broader academic community,” says Dr. Zerbe. “That’s why it’s important to support our researchers so that they can continue to undertake work that helps businesses, employees and industries in this province and around the world.”

Susan White-MacPherson