The 2030+ Group

The 2030+ Group includes faculty, postdoctoral fellows, research associates, graduate and undergraduate students, visiting academics and professional staff.

The 2030+ researchers combine the disciplinary perspectives and decades-long research experience of four Laurier faculty members — Alison Blay-Palmer, Jonathan Crush, Simon Dalby, Audra Mitchell, James Orbinski, and Alan Whiteside, all CIGI chairs at the BSIA.

Additional researchers, students, and professional staff have included: Idowu Jola AjibadeAria Ahmad, Mary Caesar, Abel Chikanda, Cameron McCordic, Julia Metelka, Justine Richardson, Liam RileyMichael Stevenson, Joshua Sun, Alex Szaflarska, Nicholas Zebryk, as well as various CIGI Graduate Fellows supporting specific research projects.

Alison Blay-Palmer is the founding Director for the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Director of the Viessmann European Research Centre and an Associate Professor in Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research and teaching combine her passions for sustainable food systems and community viability through civil society engagement and innovative governance. Her research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, the Carasso Foundation, the International Social Sciences Council and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Alison collaborates with academics and practitioners across Canada and internationally including partners in Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, the United States and Wales. This work gained national recognition in 2012 when her partnership was one of three nominees for a SSHRC Partnership Impact Award.

Current projects with partners and students include: city-region food system assessments with the Resources Centre on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization; food security, health and climate change in the Northwest Territories; and the creation of a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis tool to assess agricultural sustainability of coastal agriculture in Bangladesh.

Jonathan Crush‘s current work examines food insecurity, migration and inclusive growth in rapidly growing cities in the global South. He established and directs the African Food Security Urban Network ( and the Hungry Cities Partnership which involves researchers, post-doctoral fellows, and students in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia. His current research and that of his colleagues addresses the following questions:

  • What is the nature of formal and informal food systems in cities in the global South?
  • What is the relationship between migration and food security?
  • What are the implications of rapid urbanization for food security and the creation of urban food deserts?
  • How do local government policies enable or constrain small enterprise development, entrepreneurship and innovation in the informal economy, especially amongst women and youth?

His team is also training and mentoring graduate students and post-doctoral researchers in Canada and partner countries to conduct rigorous, high-quality, impactful research on urban food security and inclusive growth. Collaboration with the 2030+ Group allows Jonathan to integrate questions of overnutrition and undernutrition into his research and expand the regional coverage of the Hungry Cities Project.

Simon Dalby
 addresses globalization, climate change, human security, and related policy and infrastructure adaptations. He examines how themes of climate dangers and change are expressed in popular culture and shift dynamically in the popular imagination. Currently, he is exploring how global institutions define “security,” arguing that a broader understanding of “human security” is necessary to effectively address the massive, cross-border effects of environmental change, with renewed emphasis on urbanization, poor populations and human health impacts. Dalby examines questions such as:

  • Why have so many state-led attempts to grapple with climate change failed?
  • How do contemporary security and geopolitical discourses of climate change deal with increasingly artificial circumstances of global urbanization?
  • Why is climate persistently interpreted in terms of environmental policies? How are climate dangers constructed in formulating policies?
  • How might the popular imagination of climate change and new governance mechanisms for sustainability simultaneously facilitate climate adaptation, human security and improved health?

Simon researches these questions in close collaboration with students and post-doctoral fellows. Through the 2030+ Group framework, Dalby is integrating healthcare concerns into his own security framework while sharing his particular expertise in climate change with his colleagues.

Audra Mitchell’s research seeks to transform global ethics to respond to emerging ecological and/or technological challenges, including mass extinction, climate change and space colonization. It draws on a range of disciplines, including international studies, anthropology, philosophy, geography, and science and technology studies.She is currently working in two major areas:

  • Mass extinction and global ethics: Although there is increasing consensus that the Earth may be entering a ‘6th Mass Extinction’, there are no dedicated global-ethical frameworks for addressing this phenomenon. This project articulates the global-ethical significance of mass extinction from a plurality of worldviews, and seeks to expand the repertoire of responses available to humans.
  • Ethics at the ‘End of the World’: We are increasingly warned that a range of threats – whether global warming, nuclear terrorism, nano-technology or asteroid strikes – may bring about the ‘end of the world’. This project asks what it means to lose ‘a world’ and what kind of ethical framework can help humans to confront these threats. It examines several contemporary projects of large-scale ‘worlding’: geo-engineering, space colonization, global conservation and ‘virtual’ (e.g. algorithmic and quantum) worlding.

James Orbinski’s
research and writing looks at many aspects of people’s health experience, keeping the individual’s experience of health and health care central to his perspective. His work examines global health matters, including clinical strategies, health systems, international law and governance, disaster planning and early warning systems, human rights, impediments to pharmaceutical access, and integration of research into the activities of humanitarian organizations. Most recently, he is examining the implications of climate change, particularly global warming, on global health, and the governance implications and lessons to be learned from the 2015 Ebola epidemic.

He is currently interested in the following questions:

  • What recent health, disease and nutrition studies have the strongest implications for how humanitarian organizations do their work?
  • How are the humanitarian crises of today influenced by climate change?
  • How can we mitigate the health impacts of global climate shifts?
  • How do early warning systems improve health outcomes in crises related to climate change?

James brings the perspective of humanitarian organizations—frequently on the front-line in providing services to affected populations—to the methodologies and analyses of the other researchers.

Alan Whiteside’s research program focuses on interrelated areas of global and Canadian health concern: shifting burdens of disease, immigrant and migrant health, and Canadian policies on global health. Using existing regional, national and global data, as well as qualitative and quantitative surveys and projections, Whiteside examines a range of questions:

  • How are disease burdens changing locally and regionally?
  • What are the implications on health systems for growing or shrinking populations of people with particular illnesses?
  • What are the effects on financing, health systems, and programming when a disease such as HIV becomes chronic rather than lethal as a result of antiretroviral drug therapy?
  • What are the health issues for migrant populations to Canada and what is the long-term burden of non-communicable diseases? What policy decisions in Canada and in source countries will address these concerns?

As an economist, Alan brings to 2030+ an understanding of the cost and consequences of current challenges and of the various strategies advanced to ameliorate them.


Justine Richardson is Laurier Project Manager with the 2030+ Group at BSIA. Her background includes more than a decade developing and managing multi-partner humanities and social sciences research projects at MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online at Michigan State University.