Doctor david barbour sitting on some snow in the arctic.

D.G. & V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship in Arctic Research

In 2011, Dr. David Barber and Mr. Doug Barber established an endowment fund at the University of Manitoba, in honour of their father, V.E. Barber, a strong supporter of science and an amateur historian and naturalist – the V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship in Arctic Research.

The fund had been established with monies raised from the sale of their book: Two Ways of Knowing, developed during the International Polar Year - Circumpolar Flaw Lead (IPY-CFL) project.

The fund supports graduate students who are conducting or have conducted thesis research pertaining to the Arctic and who demonstrated outstanding leadership and/or excellence in Arctic research.

To date, $140,000 has been awarded to 19 recipients.

Dr. David G. Barber tragically passed away on April 15th 2022.

What arctic sea-ice tells us about climate change

David Barber, Canada Research Chair, Arctic System Science and Distinguished Professor, Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources, talks about the changes in sea-ice and technology he has seen over his career.


D.G. & V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship in Arctic Research

To honour Dr. Barber’s commitment to the next generation of Arctic researchers, the V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship in Arctic Research has been renamed the D.G. & V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship in Arctic Research.
This endowment fund was established at the University of Manitoba to honour the memory of Dr. David Barber, Distinguished Professor and Founding Director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science. Dr. David Barber also held a and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair Arctic System Science and Climate Change. Through his vision, leadership and endless efforts, Dr. David Barber established the University of Manitoba as a global leader in Arctic research. He was awarded the Officer of the Order of Canada, Fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the Northern Science Award for exemplary achievement in the field of northern research.

In his research, Dr. David Barber applied a System Science approach to the study of the Arctic Ocean. He was extraordinary in his ability to undertake, communicate and fund research, and a defining skill was his ability to motivate others. It was the combination of his abilities that led to the development of internationally the largest, the most innovative, and most comprehensive field and infrastructure projects that showed the world that a small university in prairie Canada could achieve great things in the realm of ocean science. In doing so he created opportunity for innumerable students, fellow professors and staff who will forever be grateful. He showed those who knew him that success requires the simple ingredients of courage, hard work and perseverance.

It was Dr. David Barber’s wish to also honour his father, V.E. Barber, with this combined award.

The fund will be used to support graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at the University of Manitoba who are conducting or have conducted research pertaining to not only the Arctic, but also to regions immediately outside of the Arctic (i.e., the Subarctic), and thereby recognizing students and fellows who are contributing to a greater understanding of changes in these regions.

Knowing book cover.

Two Ways of Knowing

The D.G. & V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship in Arctic Research fund is supported from the sale of: Two Ways of Knowing, developed during the 2007-08 International Polar Year - Circumpolar Flaw Lead (IPY-CFL) project.

To support students excelling in the field of Arctic sciences and climate change, consider contributing to:

V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship in Arctic Research Recipients

2021 – Luke Storrie

2020 – Lisa Matthes

2019 – Laura Dalman, Jill Bueddefeld

2018 – Wieter Boone, Tonya Burgers

2017 – Jonathan Andrews, Krista Kenyon, Aurélie Delaforge, Annie Eastwood

2016 – Karley Campbell

2015 – Claire Hornby, Jean Polfus, Odile Crabeck

2014 – Jack Landy

2013 – Matthew Asplin, Alexander Komarov

2012 – Tracey Loewen, Meredith Pind

V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship in Arctic Research - Recipients’ Tributes

Matthew Asplin, 2013

My name is Dr. Matthew Asplin, and I completed my PhD in 2013 at the Centre for Earth Observation Science under Dr. David Barber’s supervision.  As one of the inaugural recipients of the V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship, I am deeply honoured to express my undying gratitude for this award, and to share how it has impacted my career.  The award represented a cumulation of six years studying to become an interdisciplinary Arctic scientist, at time in history where we were (and still are) witnessing Arctic amplification of global warming, and sea ice decline at alarming rates, with wide-reaching impacts and consequences for Northern ecosystems and Indigenous Communities.  

The experiences and achievements that led to my receipt of this award set the stage for what followed.  The award directly helped me secure my NSERC Industrial Postdoctoral fellowship in 2013, and subsequently my W. Garfield Weston Postdoctoral Award for Northern Research in 2016.  Today, I am a Scientific Project Manager and Metocean Specialist at ASL Environmental Sciences Inc. in Victoria, British Columbia, Chair of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society Vancouver Island Centre, and occasional Sessional Lecturer at the University of Victoria. I am extremely fortunate to have achieved a research-oriented position in the Private sector that enables me to continue pursuing excellence in Arctic Science to this day, but also to remain connected to academics and students to whom I can pass on knowledge and mentorship. 

In appreciation for what the V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship has done for me and my career, I have donated a respectable amount of personal funds back to the fellowship in Dr. David Barber’s memory, so that it may continue to foster the development of future Arctic scientists at the University of Manitoba, and most of all, so that Victor and David Barber’s legacy to Arctic Science will live on.      

Jack Landy, 2014

David Barber was my PhD supervisor and one of the most influential people in my life over the six years I spent in Winnipeg between 2011 and 2017. He was a constant source of ideas and motivated me to build a long-term career in Arctic science. His presentations were legendary, full of charisma and he would draw in all members of the audience – scientists and non-scientists alike – with his personality.

I remain inspired by David’s passion for interdisciplinary Arctic system science. Only now, having left CEOS, I realize how unusual it was for a research group to work so much across traditional subject boundaries. This all came from David’s holistic view of the Arctic and his work building scientific partnerships across Canada through ArcticNet. I am extremely grateful to him for this experience.

The VE Barber Memorial Fellowship in Arctic Research gave my research a boost at CEOS. There are extra tuition fees for non-Canadians to study at U of M and I was ineligible for NSERC fellowships. So, the VE Barber award alleviated financial stress and enabled me to really focus on my studies towards the end of the PhD program. I am sure it will provide many others similar security to focus on their research in the coming years.

Wieter Boone, 2018

Receiving the V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship in Arctic Research for outstanding research in the arctic was a great honour. The associated appreciation was of utmost importance for my self confidence as an early career researcher after passing the challenges associated with a PhD Program. I greatly appreciated that the fellowship both recognized my academic work as my social engagement at CEOS and ASP and was therefore very impactful for my motivation and future career as polar researcher.

Tonya Burgers, 2018

I would like to express my gratitude for the incredible support that was provided to me through the V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship. I was very happy to learn that I had been selected as one of the recipients of this award.

I am currently completing my PhD at the Centre for Earth Observation Science, and had previously completed my Masters degree here as well. My research focuses on understanding the marine carbon dynamics of the waters in Baffin Bay and Nares Strait between Canada and Greenland.

Having been selected for the V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship has helped me to be more financially secure while finishing my graduate studies, and for this I am very grateful. Receiving this award has also provided me with confidence in my academic abilities, and motivates me to continue working to achieve my goal of a PhD in Arctic marine science.
Lisa Matthes, 2020

I was awarded the V.E. Barber Memorial Fellowship in 2020, just after I submitted my PhD thesis about light propagation in ice-covered environments and its biological implications for external review. A large part of my thesis contained data I collected during the Hudson Bay System (BaySys) Study under the lead of Dr. David Barber. This project taught me the importance of collaboration to understand how large marine systems function, and I am very grateful for the possibilities Dr. Barber has created for young researchers like me at the University of Manitoba. When I received the fellowship for excellence in Arctic research, I also gained additional confidence that I have the skillset to contribute important new findings to the Arctic research community, and to continue my path to become a successful research fellow. I hope that one day I can be in a position to help students taking their first steps into the exciting research world just as Dr. Barber and this fellowship have helped me during my PhD studies.