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Researcher recognized with $50,000 award at new centre opening


Churchill, MB – Dr Serge Payette has been named as the inaugural recipient of the Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research. The $50,000 prize, the largest of its kind in recognizing a northern researcher in natural science, was awarded by the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC), the W Garfield Weston Foundation and the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS).

The award was presented at the grand opening of the CNSC’s new research facility in Churchill this week.

“A true Canadian leader in northern research studies, Dr Payette’s teachings extend beyond the walls of a classroom,” says Michael Goodyear, CNSC’s executive director. “Dr Payette’s ground-breaking work has influenced leading scientists across the globe, providing valuable insights into the dynamic transition zone between the northern boreal forest and the vast Arctic tundra.”

A long-time professor and scientist at Université Laval, Dr Payette has dedicated over 40 years of his life to northern research, while also mentoring and teaching young scientists. Recognized internationally for his work, his research has shed light on topics such as tree line dynamics, climatic reconstructions at the northern limits of forests and the origins of the lichen spruce forest.

He was honoured at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new research facility. Construction on the facility began in August of 2009 and was completed in June this year.

The facility provides scientists and educators with a venue and tools to carry out research in the north, including accommodation and meals, along with vehicle and equipment rentals, access to reference collections and basic laboratory equipment. The new facility features a state-of-the-art wet lab. Ninety percent of the energy efficient building’s interior space is exposed to natural light through triple-paned windows and a solar wall pre-heats incoming ventilation air.