Vancouver Island University is a comprehensive teaching focused institution with a diverse range of interests and expertise. As such, our research focus areas reflect an inclusive sphere of interdisciplinary themes that align with existing strengths and priority areas of the institution and region. Our research strengths and focus areas as outlined in our  Strategic Research Plan include:

Health, resilience and well-being

This research theme focuses on the study of human and environmental health with the aim of improving the adaptive capacity of humans and systems such that greater levels of resilience and well-being are achieved. This theme is a strength at the institution and enables researchers from numerous disciplines to engage in disciplinary or interdisciplinary inquiry. This theme aligns with the Academic Plan which identifies issues that will be critical to communities in the Vancouver Island and coastal BC region such as understanding regional demographic changes, identifying future health and human services, monitoring the impact of globalization and the condition of the natural environment, determining the effects of climate change and transitioning from fossil fuel dependence, encouraging greater levels of food security and promoting beneficial urban and regional development.

Integrated sciences, Technology and Environment

Vancouver Island University has continuously promoted the development of research centers that provide the necessary synergistic atmosphere in which scientists and technologists from different field can use new approaches to tackle complex issues.  In the past decade, research centers and institutes have emerged in areas such as analytical mass spectrometry and environmental chemistry, shellfish aquaculture and genomics, and sturgeon research. Through the establishment of these centers, VIU has developed expertise that is both regionally relevant and internationally significant.

Resilience of island, coastal and rural regions

VIU is located in an island and coastal region comprised of mostly rural communities who have been experiencing numerous and significant shifts due to globalization, climate change, demographic shifts, and population migration. These shifts have presented opportunities and challenges for the region, pressuring it to adapt and remain resilient.  This research focus area will enable researchers to study the realities, adaptive responses and consequences of people, communities and organizations in island, coastal and rural regions. The research outputs will inform regional planning, management and development while contributing the growing literature on resilience in numerous disciplines.

Innovation, entrepreneurship and social change

The rapid and widespread changes taking place in the public, private and not for profit sectors to innovate, create economy and better society provide important opportunities for research. This research theme will enable researchers to identify and monitor changes in the business and management models used across sectors as well as the associated outcomes of innovation and social change. When mobilized, the knowledge outputs will result in advancements and improved practices in a range of non-academic setting as well as the rapidly expanding literature in numerous disciplines.

Cultural, Heritage and creative expression

This thematic area deepens inquiry and creative activity to explore the various ways a culture, or cultures, use or have used literary, political, social, and artistic forms of creative expression. Exploration is done through the examination of and analysis of texts and images, the restoration and presentation of works of art, the critical evaluation of elements of historical and modern culture, the theory informed study of past human activity and the creation of new knowledge and art and its performance.

Equity, diversity and social justice

As a values based institution, VIU is committed to respect, diversity and to promoting respectful, informed discourse about reciprocity and reconciliation as identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action. Issues of equity, diversity and social justice have gained elevated importance and urgency in recent years in order to ensure that access to social and economic resources are provided to everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, sexuality or social class. Researchers studying in this area advance knowledge and inform practice on equity and social justice issues.

Teaching and learning

The teaching and learning focus area will support and enable faculty inquiry into teaching practices across the disciplines and within local and international contexts. This inquiry has practical value in that it enhances the learning experiences of students, while enabling faculty to continuously improve their teaching practices. Engaging in scholarly reflection and inquiry also allows faculty members to explore ways to reflect upon their practice, obtain evidence of their impact on student learning and make informed decisions about next steps for enhancing learning experiences. Faculty inquiry and reflection also has scholarly value to external audiences when it is shared beyond the University. This focus area will enable VIU to make significant contributions to and position itself as a leader in the scholarship of teaching and learning.

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