Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)
Office of the Vice-Principal (Research)

Dr. Myra Hird

Each year, the Prizes for Excellence in Research are awarded to top-ranking researchers at Queen’s who have made significant contributions to their field, paving the way for future scholars to follow in their footsteps and expanding the innovative world of research at the university. Recently, Leigh Cameron interviewed each recipient of the 2015 prize, exploring their research interests and inspirations.

[Dr. Myra Hird]
Photo of Myra Hird by Bernard Clark

Dr. Myra Hird is a professor of environmental studies and the director of the genera Research Group. The group’s current project is Canada’s Waste Flow, which engages researchers from across disciplines to study the impact of waste and waste management from scientific and social angles. Dr. Hird is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a 2013 M.J. Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Lancaster University and Queen Mary University of London.

What drew you to this field of research?

I have Dr. Kerry Rowe (Civil Engineering) to thank for my interest in waste research. A few years ago, he suggested that I investigate the topic, and I haven’t looked back since. Waste is a fascinating subject to study, and it is a keen environmental concern globally and in Canada since we produce so much waste. Waste lends itself very well to interdisciplinary research, and I am very fortunate to work with brilliant engineering, natural sciences, social sciences and humanities scholars on diverse waste issues.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

In my career, I have been inspired by the right people at the right time. Rather than provide an exhaustive list of the scholars, activists and non-academics who have mentored me throughout my career, I will simply say that I am grateful for the friends and colleagues on whom I have depended, and could not have achieved what I have without them.

What drew you to Queen’s?

The Queen’s National Scholar program initially drew me to Queen’s. What has kept me at Queen’s is the tremendously high standard of research and scholarship here. I have found a home in the School of Environmental Studies – I am grateful for the continuous support that my colleagues, our incredible support staff, and our enthusiastic and high-achieving students provide. Queen’s really facilitates interdisciplinary research and teaching, which I believe is the best means of resolving our most pressing societal issues.