Jocelyn's research focuses on social risk and social responsibility in the international mining sector. She is particularly interested in investigating ways in which mining companies can collaborate with communities to develop a business strategy with parallel goals: improving operational performance while delivering tangible social benefits. 

Research Description

From transportation to infrastructure, and from energy to information technology, mining makes a tremendous contribution to society, yet it also impacts the daily lives of millions of people living in communities where mining occurs. Today, an increasing number of individuals, groups, and organizations have earned a legitimate right to be considered as stakeholders in projects which affect their communities, a development that has given rise to mining-community conflict and is forcing companies to reconsider the approach to earning and retaining social approval. Sustainability leaders have been calling upon business to implement policies and practices that aim to enhance corporate competitiveness while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in associated communities. The overall purpose of my PhD research is to investigate ways in which mining companies might adapt this approach, collaborating with communities to develop a business strategy with parallel goals: improving operational performance while delivering tangible social benefits.

What does being a Public Scholar mean to you?

Being a public scholar creates a unique opportunity to work with - and learn from- others interested in finding the points of intersection and then bridging theory and real-world engagement. I feel privileged to be a part of this innovative program.

In what ways do you think the PhD experience can be re-imagined with the Public Scholars Initiative?

The Public Scholars Initiative encourages PhD students to search for the links between academia and practice, and to consider the ways in which applied research can be made relevant for a broader audience. It also gives those of us within the PSI exposure to the unique perspectives of our fellow scholars, making the typically quite solitary PhD experience richer and more engaging.

How do you envision connecting your PhD work with broader career possibilities?

Once my PhD is completed, it is my intention to return to consulting work in the mining sector and, ideally, to continue to teach aspiring mining engineers at the university level. I believe that the combination of +15 years of direct industry experience, combined with a PhD in mining engineering, will create opportunities to engage with senior decision makers in mining companies interested in charting a new path to social responsibility and community engagement.

How does your research engage with the larger community and social partners?

To achieve progress on sustainability and social responsibility issues we will need to see more meaningful collaboration between industry and communities. Academic research can inform - and sometimes inspire - those discussions provided it is presented in an accessible manner. My research focus is very much on how mining companies and communities can engage effectively, and then work together, to address shared interests such as access to sustainable livelihoods, access to water, and economic growth.

How do you hope your work can make a contribution to the “public good”?

The findings of the research have implications for mining sustainability practitioners by way of its focus on designing projects which combine a sound commercial imperative with social benefit, and for communities looking for ways to work with mining companies to advance progress on a number of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I worked in community engagement in the extractive sector for many years and was consistently encountering the same challenges. I began to wonder if there was a better approach to social responsibility than the one most currently found in practice. Pursuing a PhD provides the opportunity to research the topic and liaise with thought leaders to assess how mining companies might improve collaboration with host communities to deliver greater social and economic value.

Why did you choose to come to British Columbia and study at UBC?

The fact that UBC's Norman B Keevil Department of Mining Engineering is one of the few interdisciplinary institutes recognizing the importance of the social dimensions of mining was an important consideration in choosing UBC. But being at UBC not only gives me access to leading mining engineers, it also connects me to scholars from related disciplines, such as those at the internationally acclaimed Sauder School of Business and Liu Institute for Global Issues.

 

To achieve progress on sustainability and social responsibility issues we will need to see more meaningful collaboration between industry and communities.