Scientific Research Licence

Research that does not fall under the Wildlife or Archaeologist legislation requires a Scientific Research Licence which is administered by the Aurora Research Institute (ARI). Applications for Scientific Research Licences are submitted through our online system.

We recommend that applications be submitted at least three months in advance of your proposed start date, especially if you have not already started communication about your project. It is best to be proactive, apply early and begin your communication with community organizations as early as possible. ARI encourages early and effective communication with community organizations.

Anybody proposing to conduct research within the NWT are expected to follow ethical principles throughout all stages of a research project. If people are the subjects of your research, review our ethical research requirements.

Before you apply for a Scientific Research Licence:

  1. Ensure that your research location is within the NWT. If your research is to take place in Nunavut or Yukon, in addition to the NWT, you will have to apply to the regulatory institutions of the appropriate territory (see Additional Research Licences and Permits section in the Guide to Doing Research in the Northwest Territories).
  2. Determine which region(s) or land claim area(s) you will be working in. Familiarize yourself with the area as the aboriginal, municipal and territorial governments may have identified regional research priorities and your work may compliment existing research efforts. Review the NWT Science Agenda and Community Research Priorities. Search our Database of licensed research projects to familiarize yourself with past and current research initiatives, and discuss your project idea with representatives in the region.

Ethical Research Requirements

Anybody proposing to conduct research within the NWT are expected to follow ethical principles throughout all stages of a research project. You are advised to review one or more of the following resources for more information:

Research involving human subjects is required to have approval by an accredited Research Ethics Board or Institutional Review Board before a licence can be issued.  ARI upholds the standards set out by the Panel on Research Ethics in 2nd Edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, as a condition of any Scientific Research Licence involving human subjects.

The Aurora College Research Ethics Committee (REC) reviews research for compliance with the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Research Involving Humans. Research involving human participants conducted by Aurora College staff and students must be reviewed and approved by the Aurora College REC before any research activities begin.

Reporting Requirements

Licence holders are required to submit a plain-language summary of approximately 200 words describing the outcomes from the past years licensed research activity. Plain language summaries for projects are compiled into an annual Compendium of Research, which summarizes all licensed research that is carried out in the NWT each year.

The report must be submitted to the Aurora Research Institute by June 30 of the following year in which the licence was issued (for example, a summary of 2015 research work is due, at the latest, on June 30, 2016). If you apply for a new licence before this date, your summary is due at the same time as you submit your new application. The submission of a digital copy of your summary is preferred. Please ensure that your licence and application numbers appear at the top of your report.

Aurora Research Institute also requires that researchers submit copies of any final report(s) produced, particularly if publications result from the study. These report submissions may take the form of a published document, thesis report, technical report, posters or other public presentation formats. The final report(s) are stored in the permanent collection at Aurora Research Institute. This collection is accessible to the community and other researchers in our library.

Northern Research Priorities

Government Research Priorities for the Northwest Territories

Some Government Departments have developed their own research priorities or agendas that they would like to have shared with the scientific community:

Government of the Northwest Territories - Science Agenda

GNWT Department of Health and Social Services – Research Agenda 

For more information on how the GNWT, HSS supports research in the NWT visit their website: Heath and Social Services

Community Research Priorities

The NWT is home to a diverse set of community organizations with varying geopolitical influences, research interests, and challenges. Local organizations provide unique points of view on NWT research, and many have identified priorities for their regions. These organizations are valuable sources of information for scientists, and consultation with them is a crucial step in conducting successful research projects within the Territory. The following organizations have offered their guidance to those planning research projects within their respective regions of the NWT:

- Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board:
               Priorities for 2013-2018 and Research Interests
Gwich'in Social and Cultural Institute
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
Northwest Territories Metis Nation
Sambaa K'e Dene Band
Knowledge Agenda: Northern Research for Northern Priorities