Governing Council

The Governing Council sets the strategic direction for NEST. Council members will help to build NEST’s capacity to conduct and disseminate policy-and practice-relevant research, and will serve as ambassadors for NEST, promoting its activities inside and outside of Western University.

The Governing Council’s main responsibilities include:

  • helping to coordinate NEST’s research activities, educational plans, and dissemination activities;
  • helping to identify new opportunities for collaborative research and for knowledge exchange with policy makers and practitioners;
  • promoting educational opportunities for students, postdoctoral fellows, and community researchers;
  • helping the Director choose speakers for the regular series and the annual Distinguished Public Lecturer. The majority of speakers for the academic year shall be set before the Fall term begins, though others may be invited when opportunities present themselves; and,
  • providing recommendations to the Dean for new Senior Fellows, Visiting Fellows, and Junior Fellows. 


The eight initial Governing Centres are:

Centre for Climate Change, Sustainable Livelihoods and Health;

The Western Centre for Climate Change, Sustainable Livelihoods and Health has a broad mandate of engaging researchers, policymakers, civil society organizations and students to conduct cutting edge research and build capacity on critical environmental issues that impact humanity in the twenty-first century.

WeCLISH comprises an interdisciplinary group of researchers who focus on general themes including climate change, food and water security, environmental hazards, health and agriculture.

Isaac LuginaahDirector: Isaac Luginaah

Isaac Luginaah is a professor of geography at Western University in London, Ontario. His work in North America and Africa has made field-defining theoretical and methodological contributions, addressing impacts of environmental hazards and vulnerabilities in population health, as well as climate change and food security. His research in North America (Canada and USA) focuses on the health effects of environmental exposure, and Aboriginal health. In Sub-Saharan Africa where Luginaah's work spans several countries, his research focuses on Health Inequalities, HIV/AIDS, climate change and food (in)security among vulnerable populations and conflict-afflicted areas.

Centre for Computational and Quantitative Social Science;

Across disciplinary boundaries, one of the fundamental factors that defines our work is the methodological approach we adopt. We conceive of quantitative methodology in quite broad terms to include means for both data collection and quantitative analysis. Among social scientists quantitative methodology is growing in importance. Héroux-Legault (2017) shows that among Political Scientists, the use of quantitative methods is on the rise over the past 10 years as Canadian scholarship starts to move in the direction of its other North American counterparts. Other fields, like Psychology and Economics are likely already in methodological lock step their other North American counterparts.

The main goal of the CCQSS is to allow for the cross-pollenation of methodological techniques (both in terms of data collection and statistical analysis) used across disciplines.

Dave ArmstrongDirector: Dave Armstrong

Dave Armstrong is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, and Canada Research Chair in Political Methodology.

Armstrong specializes in statistics and data analysis. His research spans topics from measurement and latent trait estimation to the role of non-linearity and data mining techniques in statistical models.

Centre for Human Capital and Productivity;

The Centre for Human Capital and Productivity has a broad mandate to study and provide policy advice on issues related to human capital and productivity.

CHCP researchers study a wide range of issues under the general themes: Early Childhood, Primary and
Secondary Schooling; Post-Secondary Education; Productivity and Earnings; Social Benefits of Human Capital; Human Capital Policy; and Human Capital, Development and Growth.

David Rivers, Director, Centre for Human Capital and ProductivityDirector: David Rivers

David A. Rivers is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics. His primary research interests are in the areas of industrial organization and the economics of crime. His work in industrial organization develops new empirical methods for studying firm-level data, with an emphasis on estimating production functions and productivity. His research on the economics of crime applies economic models of individual behavior to the study of criminal decision-making.

Acting Director: Ananth Ramanarayanan, Associate Professor, Economics

Centre for Migration and Ethnic Relations;

The Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations facilitates research that draws on academic knowledge to inform public policy and practice on migration and ethnic relations in Canada and internationally.

As worldwide migration climbs to historically unprecedented levels and instances of ethnic conflict fill the headlines, research and training in the domain of migration and ethnic relations are increasingly important endeavours.

The Centre informs policy and practice on migration and ethnic relations through the research conducted under the auspices of the Centre and as the academic home of the Pathways to Prosperity Partnership (, a SSHRC funded alliance of federal and provincial migration ministries; municipalities; national, regional, and local organizations involved in newcomer settlement and integration; and researchers from more than 50 universities.

Victoria EssesDirector: Victoria Esses

Victoria Esses is Professor of Psychology and Co-Chair of the Pathways to Prosperity Partnership.

Her research focuses on immigration policy and practice, including public attitudes toward immigration and cultural diversity; promising practices in settlement and integration; factors promoting the settlement and integration of immigrants; and the measurement of community welcome-ability and immigrant outcomes.

She has extensive experience conducting research in this area, including invited work for federal, provincial, and municipal governments in Canada and internationally, and for the settlement sector.

Centre for Research on Social Inequality

The Centre for Research on Social Inequality encourages, organizes and supports innovative social science research in the areas of social inequality, investigating factors such as aging, gender, and health. We are a community of scholars working and collaborating on research and methods that advance the scientific understanding of social inequality.

Kate ChoiDirector: Kate Choi

Kate H. Choi is a social demographer whose research investigates the nature, determinants, and consequences of social inequality. Within this broader theme, her work focuses on three substantive topics: (1) determinants of partner selection and consequences of marital sorting for inequality in future generations, (2) racial and socioeconomic disparities in education, family formation, and health, and (3) determinants and consequences of international migration. 

Centre for the Study of Political Behaviour

The study of political behaviour is central to our understanding of participatory democracy in Canada and around the world. Political behaviour encompasses key aspects of democratic citizenship including participation in the political process; voting in elections; political parties and interest groups; and public opinion and attitudes towards groups, political institutions, processes, policy and politicians. These topics are inherently interdisciplinary, drawing upon theories from Political Science, Sociology and Psychology. The mission of the Centre for the Study of Political Behaviour (CSPB) is to promote research and scholarship in all aspects of political behaviour across disciplines through collaboration, discussion and dissemination.

Laura StephensonDirector: Laura Stephenson

Laura Stephenson is a Professor in the Department of Political Science.Professor Stephenson specializes in political behaviour, both Canadian and comparative. Her research is focused on understanding how institutions and context influence attitudes, electoral preferences and engagement with politics.

Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction

The Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction was established in late 2009. It brings together experts from across the Western community whose teaching and research focuses on issues including reconciliation, criminal accountability, post-colonial legacies, legal reconstruction, the environment, human rights, economic justice, healing circles, democratization, and more.

The goals of the Centre are to be a world-wide centre of excellence in scholarship on transitional justice and post-conflict reconstruction through collaborative, interdisciplinary and international research amongst faculty, undergraduate, graduate, and professional students and postdoctoral fellows.

The centre will explore aspects of transition relating to development, democracy, the environment, the economy, human rights, politics, peace agreements and justice before, at the time of, and post-transition.

Joanna QuinnDirector: Joanna Quinn (Currently on leave)

Joanna Quinn is a Professor in the Department of Political Science. Quinn’s research considers the role of acknowledgement in overcoming the causes of conflict, which has the potential to affect real and lasting change.

Her current work concerns the uptake of sympathetic engagement in the acknowledgement process, and how by-standers and outsiders might be effectively engaged.

Acting Director: Valerie Oosterveld, Professor, Faculty of Law

Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance

The Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance responds to the many new challenges facing local
governments and urban policymakers at all levels.

Most Canadians now live in cities and large metropolitan areas. Social, economic, and environmental policymaking by all levels of government is increasingly urban in its focus.

The Centre will focus on three research areas each year. Each will culminate in a research report or other publication targeted at policy professionals working in local or provincial government, non-governmental organizations, or private practice.

Michael BuzzelliDirector: Michael Buzzelli

Michael Buzzelli is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography.  After completing graduate work at McMaster University in 2001, Michael held academic appointments at UBC and Queen’s and has been a visiting scholar at the University of Melbourne, University of Glasgow, UBC and Universita di Bologna. He has led several national and international research projects on a range of urban issues as well as  graduate policy training and consulting work across Canada. From 2018-21, Michael was appointed Western Teaching Fellow (Social Science) and developed a project on town-gown relations and experiential learning. In London, Michael has served on the Board of Directors of the London and Middlesex Community Housing, the largest social housing provider in the region (Member 2014-17, Chair, 2017-18). Since 2019 he has served on the City of London’s Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-oppression Advisory Committee (DIAAC; Chair since 2021).


Senior Fellow Members

As members of the Governing Council of NEST, the Senior Fellows will contribute their expertise to support NEST activities, including strategic advice on research directions, dissemination strategies, education opportunities, and fund-raising.

Valerian Marochko - Executive Director of London Cross Cultural Learner Centre 

Valerian Marochko

Shahbaz Sheikh - Professor, Department of DAN Management and Organizational Studies

Shahbaz Sheikh

Paul Hubert - Chief Executive Officer of Pathways Employment Help Centre

Paul Hubert