Fifth annual Arctic Inspiration Prize winners awarded $1.5 million

Three groups were recognized for their work benefitting Northern peoples and communities at the fifth annual Arctic Inspiration Prize award ceremonies last night in Winnipeg.

The Qarmaapik House, te(a)ch, and SmartICE will be splitting $1.5 million in prize money toward their missions to mobilize knowledge into action for the benefit of Canada’s North.



Psychosocial problems, coupled with post-traumatic stress, depression, addiction and even incarceration prevent some parents from meeting their children’s needs, and the number of Nunavik children placed in Youth Protection is rising. The Qarmaapik House, a safe house located in Kangiqsualujjuaq, aims to work with a multidisciplinary team of community health and social service providers, elders, parents, and educators to address the underlying causes of poor parenting and to provide families and community members with the tools, support and understanding of their role so they can rediscover their capacity to handle crisis situations effectively and tackle the issues behind the crisis.

Team Leader: Hilda Snowball, Mayor, Kangiqsualujjuaq / Nominator: Joë Lance, Executive Assistant to the President, Makivik Corporation



In Nunavut, computer science is not taught at any level in any school, putting Nunavut youth at a disadvantage in the knowledge economy. The te(a)ch team has assembled technical experts, curriculum producers, mental health workers and youth ambassadors from the north and south, who have developed an online infrastructure that includes 52 weeks of curriculum that teaches programming, game design, engineering and computer science from a beginner to an advanced level. The te(a)ch team will travel to key communities where individuals will learn to use the curriculum in their communities and help build a sustainable technology presence across the North.

Team Leader: Ryan Oliver, The Pinnguaq Association / Nominator: Hal Timar, Nunavut Economic Developers Association



With climate change, landfast sea ice is becoming thinner putting Arctic communities who rely on sea ice to access food and maintain cultural and family activities at risk. SmartICE (Sea-ice Monitoring And Real-Time Information for Coastal Environments), a diverse partnership of community, academic, government and industry, has developed a near real-time monitoring and dissemination system that integrates Inuit Traditional Knowledge to improve safety conditions by informing decisions about coastal sea-ice travel and shipping. Through the establishment of SmartICE Inc., a northern social enterprise, SmartICE aims to expand its service across the Arctic to inform winter shipping and ice-breaking activities and enable travellers to make informed decisions and plan safe travel routes.

Team Leader: Trevor Bell, Professor, Memorial University / Nominator: Clint Davis, Chair, Nunatsiavut Group of Companies; Levi Barnabas, Chair, Qikiqtaaluk Corporation


The Arctic Inspiration Prize, created by Sima Sharifi and Arnold Witzig, is given annually to one or more multidisciplinary teams who have made substantial and demonstrated contributions to the gathering of Arctic knowledge and who have a concrete plan to implement that knowledge into real world applications.

For a full list of Arctic Inspiration Prize laureates since 2012, click here.

Photos courtesy of Arctic Inspiration Prize

You Might Also Like