FRQNT Établissement de nouveaux chercheurs Subvention Experience

Last week was my first foray into many things, all at once: 1) My first solo proposal prepared and submitted (although it has collaborators mentioned in the proposal, none are allowed to be actually named as Co-PI), 2) my first foray into research on high latitudes, and 3) my now memorably scramble to submit the proposal within the dying minutes because of a translation issue. The first two of these I look forward to repeating, while the last one I look forward to not repeating anytime soon with the help of my multiple days/week cours de français.

The FRQNT Éstablissement de Nouveaux Chercheurs is a provincial fund for science and technology research over a two year period specifically designed to help new researchers develop their program. A Quebec-based researcher can only receive the award once and can only apply twice within the first three years of being hired. It funds requests for a maximum of $20,000 per year of funding in addition to a maximum of $50,000 for equipment in excessive of $7,000. The proposal process was similar to the NSERC discovery requirements (as I am finding out), including a free-form proposal of 7 pages (inclusive of figures and references) and 3-4 page research profile, a separate pre-formatted space for budget justifications for equipment and the proposed work, and of course the dreaded Canadian common CV (although in a very trimmed form).

The proposal itself plans to look into dust emission processes occurring in proglacial valleys. These processes have been known to be occurring for sometime and in a few cases even measured – in the Yukon, and more recently in Alaska and Alberta. However, the soils of this region in the northwest of North America is blanketed with loess from previous dust emission activity after the height of the glacial maximum. It has been suggested that much of this dust was deposited slowly, however the more recent observations in Alaska and Alberta suggest deposition rates that exceed even the present day subtropical dust storms that are extremely active.

Dust Storm off Alaska
he Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) flying onboard the Aqua satellite took this picture of the storm as it dispersed over the Gulf of Alaska on November 5, 2005.

This disagreement between present day measurements of fluxes with sedimentary records is not new, and common across many geomorphic sub-disciplines (and worthy of research of its own). This specific example does however show promise due to the sheer lack of direct measurements of the active processes contributing to the same soil development recorded in the mid-Holcene soils. Furthermore, the increased rate of ablation of glaciers in this region allows for a direct comparison to likely the similar rate of change responsible for creating originally these loess soils. The satellite image at the top of the post is a series of false colour SPOT5 images from the proglacial valley of interest over three months (May to July) showing the dynamic nature of these valleys and subsequent window when dust emissions can be driven by katabatic wind flows.

For more information on this project please see the linked outline below and please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or would like to contribute to this project.

FRQNT Outline – KING – 2015pdf-icon