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Sistering Indigenous and Western Science program


Sistering Indigenous and Western Science (SINEWS) is a paid mentorship program intended to increase the representation and participation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous women in science-related disciplines and research. Indigenous people and female-identifying persons are significantly under-represented in fields of study and work related to the sciences. This situation is also true within Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). The SINEWS program aims to change that and move science and reconciliation forward.

SINEWS now accepting applications for May 2022 cohort

The SINEWS program is currently accepting applications for our May 2022 intake.

For the 2022 program, SINEWS will be accepting up to 8 pairs of female-identifying students, one Indigenous and one non-Indigenous. The pairs of students will propose, develop, implement, and report on research projects of relevance to Indigenous communities and NRCan. They will become employees of the Government of Canada through the Federal Student Work Experience program for a period of eight months. Successful applicants will be given a specific budget to complete their research, access to NRCan mentors relevant to their location and project, access to research facilities, and the guidance of the SINEWS’ Elder in Residence.

Who can apply

Applicants must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada as of the application deadline
  • be registered full-time or part-time in a degree or diploma program at any eligible post-secondary institution as of the application deadline
  • identify as female - This includes Cis, trans, 2-spirit and non-binary
  • have completed all the course requirements of at least the first year of post-secondary study (or two academic terms) of your degree or diploma
  • have been registered and attending school in at least one of the last two terms at an eligible post-secondary institution prior to accepting the SINEWS position

Eligible projects

Click Research and NRCan to see the eligible project areas.

Research areas relevant to the Indigenous public interest
  • Historic study of the role of Indigenous firefighters in wildfire management
  • Social science study of Indigenous cultural forest burning practices
  • Participatory wildfire management planning with an Indigenous community
  • Social science case study with an Indigenous community that has been evacuated because of a wildfire
  • Historic study of Indigenous forest burning practices using early explorer accounts
  • Assessing the trade-offs of Indigenous and western land-use values on forest carbon emissions
  • Mapping of flora and fauna used for traditional and/or medicinal purposes
NRCan research areas
  • Energy research (renewable energy, bioenergy)
  • Oil sands research (resource extraction, upgrading)
  • Reclamation and tailings (water management, emissions reduction)
  • GIS (mapping, data creation, web data creation)
  • Property rights and boundary issues, including water boundaries
  • Capacity building (onsite training for First Nations communities on matters related to land management, surveys and mapping)
  • First Nations Land Management (under the First Nations Land Management Act)
  • Land surveying
  • Create maps for Google Earth based on traditional, territorial or other boundaries. This project could cover a large area (provincial, territorial, national) or be localized for the benefit of a particular First Nation.
  • A comparison of water quality assessments using traditional and western analytical data
  • Evaluation of energy resources used in traditional communities

How to apply

  1. Download the application template.

  2. Complete the application, which must include:

    • a copy of your most recent transcripts, if available
    • a statement of interest
    • your project title and proposal
    • a letter of support from your institution (optional)
  3. Wait to receive your results.

    You will be notified about your application outcome in March of 2022.

Applications that are incomplete will be disqualified.

Taking on your new role

If you accept a position with NRCan, you must:

  • be willing to accept the position by March 2022
  • be engaged on a full-time basis in the research and development activities of your project during the allotted project timeframe
  • share the results of your project in the format of your choosing at the close of your project term, including:
    • audio files (podcasts, audio documentary)
    • video files and visual works (documentaries, time-lapse film, short film, info graphics, art projects, posters)
    • web applications
    • written works (reports, stories)
    • educational tools (poster, how-to-guide, video)

Core values of this program

Equal representation and reconciliation are at the core of the SINEWS program, where traditional Indigenous knowledge will be braided with western science. The research projects will be proposed and developed by pairs of women and be relevant to Indigenous interests and to the NRCan mandate.

Another intent of this initiative is to give female-identifying persons the opportunity to:

  • develop scientific leadership outside of the post secondary environment
  • grow their project management skills
  • create a professional network of contacts
  • foster positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities to the benefit of all involved

Contact us

The SINEWS Student Help Desk is available to answer your questions about the SINEWS program.


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