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PhD student Liz Orr receives grant from Universitas 21

Jul 30, 2020

Liz Orr

Photo above: Elizabeth Orr

Elizabeth Orr, a PhD student in the School of Nursing, is part of a research team that has just received a $5,000 (US) one-year grant from the Universitas 21 (U21) Researcher Resilience Fund. 

Orr’s international collaborators include Sarah Rockowitz, University of Birmingham, UK & Jacqueline Kuruppu, University of Melbourne, Australia. The title of the research project is: Developing and disseminating a digital toolkit for promoting and prioritizing emotional wellbeing among graduate-students and early-career researchers across the U21 Network.  

The toolkit will be aimed at supporting those who conduct emotionally-demanding research on sensitive topics such as violence and abuse.  

Orr and her co-applicants will form a community of practice consisting of graduate students and early career researchers from the U21 universities and other international research networks such as The Nursing Network on Violence Against Women International (NNVAWI). “It’s almost like a think tank, where we are coming together to tackle the issue of emotional wellbeing. Initially, it will likely involve between 20 and 50 students and we’ll be meeting online regularly to develop the toolkit. And then hopefully, the reach of the project will be much broader once the tool is developed and disseminated,” says Orr.  

Because of the global pandemic, this entire project will take place online. “That was one of the criteria of this call for proposals, in fact,” says Orr. “Usually, graduate students start to develop these international relationships and collaborations as a result of travelling to international conferences. So part of the reasoning behind the grant was to imagine what could work in a world where international conferences are being cancelled and funding is limited due to the pandemic.”  

McMaster is the only Canadian university in the Universitas 21 (or U21) group, an association of universities focussed on supporting student research.  

Dr. Susan Jack is Orr’s academic supervisor. “In nursing and the health sciences, many graduate students lead innovative qualitative studies, often to explore and understand individuals’ experiences of deeply personal events such as trauma, moral distress, parenting, caregiving often among populations experiencing health inequities. The development of this digital toolkit will provide graduate students and their supervisors across the globe with critical resources that will assist them to prioritize the safety and emotional well-being of scholars who are deeply invested in studying complex human and social phenomena.”

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