New laboratory highlights $1.4 million in new funding

Researchers at Western University have secured funding to establish a new laboratory to improve services for newcomers to Canada and to conduct gender analysis of international development policy and practice.

Led by Victoria Esses and Bipasha Baruah, the new Migration, Gender and International Development Laboratory will be funded in part by the $181,474 it received this morning from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Leaders Opportunity Fund.

Esses, a psychology professor and director of the Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations, will lead multi-year studies that develop strategies to improve settlement and integration experiences for immigrants to Canada.

These studies will provide much-needed guidance to federal and provincial ministries and settlement organizations responsible for providing settlement information and services to newcomers.

“Much of my work involves helping equip community organizations and governments with evidence-based strategies that promote inclusion, local development and economic and social sustainability,” Esses says.

The new laboratory also benefits from the SSHRC-funded, $2.5-million Pathways to Prosperity Partnership Esses established in 2012 to improve immigration policies and practices. The initiative recently released a series of video interviews with former senior policy officials responsible for Canada’s humanitarian and refugee programs.

The videos provide a deeper, more nuanced understanding of Canada’s humanitarian and refugee history.

Baruah leads the lab’s focus on issues related to gender and international development, and on the design of innovative approaches for empowering women – with a specific focus on issues related to gender and property ownership, and on women working in the”green economy.”

“One of the biggest challenges facing any effort to undertake gender analysis of development is the lack of data that has been broken down by gender – particularly in developing countries” says Baruah, who is a professor in Western’s department of women’s studies & feminist research and the Canada Research Chair in Global Women’s Issues.

She will build and maintain a database of gender-disaggregated data related to property ownership and green livelihoods, which will eventually be expanded to include other development issues like economic policy, education and climate change.

The Migration, Gender and International Development Laboratory was one of six Western projects receiving $1,148,687 from the CFI this morning. Others include:

  • Zoe Lindo (Faculty of Science): $135,804 – Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function Laboratory
  • Bryan Heit (Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry): $199,975 – Molecular to whole-Animal analysis of inflammation, infection and immune function
  • Jean Theberge (Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Lawson Health Research Institute): $149,895 – NeuroPsychiatry Imaging Lab
  • Bradley Urquhart (Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry): $284,149 – Personalizing drug therapy to increase safety and efficacy of medicines
  • Susanne Schmid (Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry): $197,39 – Exploring cellular mechanisms underlying cognitive function in health and disease

For more information, please contact:

Victoria Esses, Department of Psychology and Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations, 519-661-2111 ext. 84650,

Douglas Keddy, Research Communications Manager, Western University, 519-661-2111 ext. 87485,