Success Stories

CNL research project selected for funding under the Government of Canada’s Canadian Safety and Security Program

(2015 June 29) Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is an enormous part of Canada’s science and technology infrastructure.  Although long recognized for our capabilities in the nuclear realm, the talented team within CNL is capable of tackling projects which until very recently, many would have considered as outside our mandate.  Friday’s announcement from Associate Minister of Defence Julian Fantino is an example of just such a project. Horatio Sam-Aggrey, Social Scientist within CNL’s Strategic Planning and Operational Research (SPORA) explains what this announcement is all about.

“When the Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP) Call for Proposal was announced, our initial goal was to propose a project that directly looks at targeted social media communication in order to improve nuclear communications and public acceptance of nuclear power generation. However, realising that the issue of volunteerism and volunteer fire fighters was a hot button policy issue, together with Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) our partner in the project, we elected to anchor the research to volunteer firefighting.”

More specifically, the project has four primary objectives: 

  • Enhance the planning phase for volunteer recruitment campaigns by improving the processes of targeting and needs analysis of potential volunteers through social media profiling, assessments, and other exploratory data analysis.
  • Enhance the outreach, communications, and recruitment processes by exploring the motivations and constraints for volunteering decisions as well as the social influence of peer groups.
  • Augment existing outreach strategies and messaging to better align with these underlying factors and incorporate advancements in online and social media engagement to complement offline methods.
  • Explore enhancements to the orientation and post-recruitment evaluation processes in order to maximize engagement, performance, and retention of volunteers.

Objectives B and C are of utmost importance to CNL as the project could enhance CNL’s capabilities in conducting targeted communications with key demographic groups for public acceptance, risk and emergency communications.

“We knew full well that the research results could be applied very broadly. Here at CNL perhaps our interest is around targeted communications relating to nuclear technology, but there are many other policy areas that could benefit from this work: increasing rates of community volunteerism, public health campaigns, behavioural change communications, enhancing geographical mobility of job seekers or countless others.”

This project is supported by the Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP), which is led by Defence Research and Development Canada's Centre for Security Science, in partnership with Public Safety Canada. Partners in the project include Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and Social Research and Demonstration Corporation. 

The CSSP is a federally-funded program to strengthen Canada's ability to anticipate, prevent/mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters, serious accidents, crime and terrorism through the convergence of science and technology with policy, operations and intelligence.