Research Portal

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Please note that by using this service you agree to the following terms of use. Please review our academic and community user guides for more information.

About the PortalPortal ObjectivesPortal Guides and PoliciesPortal PartnersHow to Participate

About the Portal

The Heron Research Portal was first conceptualized in 2016 as part of a postdoctoral fellowship grant application to the Mitacs Elevate program with the support of Timmins Martelle Heritage Consultants (TMHC) and Sustainable Archaeology @ Western. Once awarded, postdoctoral fellow Dr. Joshua Dent began working on the technical design and community networking necessary to realize a test version of the Portal. When the fellowship ended, Dent's work continued under the umbrella of TMHC.

The Portal Pilot Project is a free listing service for community-based re-search opportunities which originate from an non-academic organization’s own research objectives. This listing is provided to institutional researchers (faculty, graduate students, direct studies, etc.) to encourage research partnerships capable of achieving both academic and non-academic re-search goals.

Portal Objectives

Community-based, participatory research is nothing new. Conventionally, this research is initiated by academics approaching non-academic individuals and organizations with more or less fully-formed research projects which these communities review and then choose whether or not to participate. The Portal inverts this process by instead querying and listing community-sourced projects that can be adapted to academic research. Interested researchers contact designated community liaisons who then decide if the researcher is the right fit for their project.

Portal Partners

Timmins Martelle Heritage Consultants

Timmins Martelle Heritage Consultants Inc.

Timmins Martelle Heritage Consultants embraces the respectful conservation of Ontario's cultural heritage, working in partnership with municipalities, public and private organizations, Indigenous communities and other stakeholders, scholars and the general public. Through public outreach and the responsible recovery of remnants of the past, it is our goal to foster pride in our shared multi-cultural past and preserve its stories for future generations within the process of building for our future.

Sustainable Archaeology

Sustainable Archaeology

Sustainable Archaeology is a collaborative initiative between the University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario, and McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario, advancing a sustainable form of archaeological practice and research.

Mitacs Elevate


Mitacs builds partnerships between academia, industry, and the world - to create a more innovative Canada. Mitacs Elevate is a postdoctoral fellowship with a customized research management training component.


Review project listings and reach out to project contacts with your CV if you're interested in partnering. Community's will review your information and follow-up with you if they decide to pursue a research relationship. Some listing are protected and researchers will need an account to review these projects, fill out the form below for more information.


If you want to list a project, fill in the form below with a brief description of your project and we will be in touch for more information.

A Community-Driven Approach to Research

The world is full of great ideas, many held by individuals and organizations that will never realize their full potential because they do not have the resources to undertake associated research and follow through on outcomes. Social sciences and humanities departments across Canada are increasingly turning their attention to research which includes a non-academic element (a community/individual/space/organization). This community-based, participatory, applied and public research is often premised on the researcher's own goals and objectives rather than originating from within a community.

This portal undertakes to reverse that relationship.

A Means to Connect

This portal provides communities, organizations and individuals a means to advance their own ideas to researchers. Interested researchers then connect with these community elements and negotiate the terms of research and the associated desired outcomes. The portal links community projects with prospective researchers including graduate students and faculty.

This service will provide new possibilities to communities and institutions that might otherwise never connect.

A Means to Disseminate

Not only is the portal intended to trigger projects, it is meant to celebrate outcomes. To academics publishing your work is paramount and to communities the ability to disseminate complex information is sometimes beyond available resources and capacities. This portal provides a means for each project to celebrate its successes while simultaneously creating a space where these outcomes can be shared and acknowledged.

Each successful project will be provided a dedicated and curated digital space where participants can jointly promote the various digital media outcomes of their partnership. Opportunities to provide testimonials about the project will also generate a project portfolio which participants can point to as evidence of their success.

Who We Work With

  • Communities: Any non-academic organization, possibly individuals, including but not limited to First Nations, not-for-profits, local governments, and private heritage consulting firms.
  • Graduate Students: Masters or doctoral student affiliated with a recognized university which adheres to a publicly available Research Ethics Review process.
  • Faculty: Professor or other research-oriented staff member affiliated with a recognized university which adheres to a publicly available Research Ethics Review process.
Sustainable Archaeology

Want to Participate?

Communities - Projects are currently being accepted. Contact us using the form for more information.

Researchers - Contact us to register and access privileged listings.

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