About The Network

Our Story

The Canadian Mountain Network (CMN) is a voluntary alliance of partners from universities, governments, Indigenous communities, and businesses dedicated to the sustainability of mountain environments and communities across the country and around the world. CMN was established in January 2016 to collaboratively address the diverse challenges facing mountain regions by harnessing existing capacities and seeking new research relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and communities. Our aim is for CMN to become a national and global leader in inclusive, co-designed, interdisciplinary mountain-research that recognizes the interconnectedness in mountain systems between the environment, economy, and society, and encourages an integrated approach for long-term sustainability that serves the needs of mountain communities. CMN and its administrative centre is hosted at the University of Alberta in the Faculty of Science.

A Mountain NCE

The early planning stages began with the Early Leaders Workshop on May 19 2015 at Yukon College, Whitehorse, YT, where we examined the potential focus for a mountain NCE. This workshop was then followed by an NCE Planning Workshop at the University of Alberta in January 2016 that focused on establishing guiding principles for CMN’s governance structure and identifying potential research themes. As a part of establishing this network, the CMN will lead the preparation of a Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) proposal. Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) is a federal government program, established in 1989, to provide funding to educational institutions, industry, government, and not-for-profit organizations for the purpose of establishing large-scale research networks. The NCE program bestows long-term funding (renewable for up to 15 years) for multi-disciplinary research into issues of strategic importance to Canadians. As CMN took shape over this process, a series of webinars were held on April 2017, September 2017, and March 2018 to publicly discuss and receive feedback on research themes, the Letter of Intent, and its process to submit a full NCE application in July 2018. On April 3, 2018, CMN, the University of Alberta, the AICBR, and Yukon College hosted a live webinar presenting the CMNs three Modes of Research (Researcher-led, Partnership-driven, and Indigenous-led), that will guide the network.

The NCE Secretariat announced a Call for Proposals on August 8, 2017, with $75 million over five years in funding available. Both new and established networks will be eligible to apply in this competition. There is no specific thematic focus for the competition. The initial stage of the application, the Letter of Intent, was due November 15, 2017. Invitations for Full Applications came in February 2018 and those applications are due in July 2018. Competition results will be announced in October 2018 with funding available in the 2018-19 fiscal year. From the date of its founding, CMN led the preparation for a Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) proposal, which will be submitted in summer 2018.

Our Process

To achieve CMN’s goal to create a pan-Canadian research network, we relied on initiating groups from several provinces and territories to create research partnerships and shape the formation of the network. The initiating groups in Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, and Yukon guided consultation practices by providing a diverse group of stakeholders and partners to consult. See our Initiating Groups page for more information on the Groups’ individual structure and initiatives. Two years of ongoing consultations have resulted in this focused research agenda, with partners committed to transforming research into meaningful actions. CMN members include provincial and territorial governments; Indigenous organizations; universities and colleges; and numerous businesses, non-profits and foundations, mountain municipalities, and international partners. New collaborations fostered by the CMN will immediately add significant value to decades of investments in mountain research, and maximize the impact of future research by building effective, respectful, and long-term partnerships. Our extensive consultations have also facilitated a private contacts database and public Directory of over 3000 individuals in academia, government branches, and community organizations with an overview of their engagement in Canadian mountain research. The International Mountain Day Committee organized the inaugural CMN Mountain Festival between December 9 and 15, 2016, which celebrated knowledges and experiences fostered by Canadian Mountain Culture. From December 4 to 11, 2017 the second annual Mountain Festival honoured the United Nations’ theme for International Mountain Day “Mountains Under Pressure: Climate, Hunger, and Migration,” by gathering researchers, exhibits, and experts to take up the particular impacts that effect Mountain ecosystems and communities through climate change. You may peruse the International Mountain Day website for an overview of our inaugural and 2017 CMN Mountain Festival events on https://www.internationalmountainday.ca/.

Diagram of the provisional governance model

Our initial committees structure comprised of:

  • The Steering Group was the primary decision making body of the Canadian Mountain Network. The Steering Group took into consideration the views presented by the network members and affiliates, through the initiating groups and otherwise, and unified them into one voice.
  • The Advisory Council was a group of individuals who provided guidance to the Canadian Mountain Network and the Canadian Mountain Network Steering Group and who did not have a vested interest in the success of the network nor stood to make a financial gain through their participation.
  • The Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Committee was responsible for the development of programming to contribute to the training and retention of HQP in Canada. HQP include students from undergraduate programs to postgraduate fellows, research associates and assistants, and youth invested in honing their research acuity. The HQP committee created training initiatives to foster HQP research skills and career paths.
  • The Research Data Management Committee (RDMC) was tasked with developing a strategic research data management plan for the Canadian Mountain Network. The RDMC emphasized efficient knowledge mobilization, and respect for the intentions of knowledge holders.

CMN evolved organically through this development process and solidified into four committees and councils:

  •       Indigenous Circle of Advisors (ICA)
  •       International Advisory Council (IAC)
  •       Research Management Committee (RMC)
  •       Board of Directors Committees (BDC)

See our Committees and Councils page for an overview of their members and a full description of their specific roles and responsibilities.

CMN intends to act as a forum for collaboratively addressing the diverse challenges facing mountain regions by harnessing existing capacities and seeking new resources. As a part of establishing this network, CMN will lead the preparation of a Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) proposal. Within the first five years of NCE funding, CMN will become the partner of choice for addressing and solving complex social-environmental and economic challenges in Canada’s mountain regions by embracing multiple ways of knowing through robust interdisciplinary research and cross-sectoral partnerships.

For a Frequently Asked Questions section about the NCE planning process, see our condensed Mountain NCE page.