3 The Research Process: Dealing with Complex, Wicked Challenges

Ann Dale

Never has the production of useful knowledge and applied research been more important in this age of disinformation and misinformation. Even more important is the communication of evidence-based research to decision-makers, policy development and the general public. COVID-19 has shown the importance of listening to the science and making informed decisions in a highly charged risk context. How does one make a difference with research? What are the most proactive ways to disseminate research outcomes in more accessible and jargon-free ways? Is there a need for a return to the notion of the ‘public intellectual’ who bridges the terror of either/or?


Ann Dale is an award-winning Professor and Director of the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University. With extensive knowledge in sustainability, governance, climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as social she hopes to make a difference with her research for sustainable community development. As a former executive in the federal government and a key architect of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, she brings a wealth of practical and theoretical knowledge to her research. She has written widely on sustainable community development and has received national and international recognition for her work. She has won several awards, including her university’s first Canada Research Chair in sustainable community development, is a Trudeau Fellow (2004), and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Sciences. Dale’s book, At the Edge: Sustainable Development in the 21st Century, received the 2001 Policy Research Initiative Award for Outstanding Research Contribution to Public Policy. Professor Dale was awarded the 2013 Molson Prize for the Social Sciences by the Canada Council for the Arts, and is a recipient of the 2016 Canada’s Most Powerful Women, Top 100. She led MC3: Meeting the Climate Change Challenge, a major climate change adaptation and mitigation research project in British Columbia. She is also active in the Canadian environmental movement: the founder and chair of the National Environmental Treasure (NET) and is the former co-chair of Women for Nature. Her latest book, Edging Forward: Achieving Sustainable Development, was published in 2018 and was exhibited along with the Edging Forward Art Collection at the Robert Bateman Centre in the Fall of 2017.