October 6, 2016: IRES Professional Development Seminar
Speakers: Sophia Murphy, Kirsten Dales and Conor Reynolds

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30pm to 1:30pm (every Thursday)

Location: AERL Theatre (room 120), 2202 Main Mall


Harnessing Academic Training to Advance Work in the Public Interest


Speaker Bios:

Sophia Murphy


Sophia Murphy has twenty-five years of professional experience in international development cooperation. She works on multilateral and regional trade and investment agreements and their relationship to food security and rural development. Her research and advocacy has ranged across diverse dimensions of food systems, including international trade law, domestic support programs in a dozen countries, rural development, food aid, the right to food, international commodity agreements, and concentrated economic power in food and agriculture markets. She has worked for non-governmental organizations and the United Nations, and consulted with government agencies and think tanks. She has given public lectures and taught her own undergraduate level course on food policy. In 2013, Sophia enrolled in a full-time PhD program at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. She is a PhD Candidate and expects to complete her degree in 2017. Sophia is serving her second concurrent term as one of 15 members of the international High Level Panel of Experts to the UN Committee on World Food Security. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors of ActionAid USA. She writes for both academic and non-academic audiences, and has given interviews for national television, radio and print media in several countries. She is bilingual (English/French) and a dual national of Canada and the UK.


Kirsten Dales


Kirsten Dales is the Associate Director of Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI), where she leads program delivery of CIRDI’s international portfolio in Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her work involves human-environment interactions in industrial landscapes, with a specialization in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) and natural resource conflicts. Kirsten has a strong technical background in environmental sciences, international policy and resource governance. She holds appointments as a Doctoral Fellow in Forest Science and Conservation at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and as a Research Scholar for the Liu Institute on Global Studies, Yale’s Center for Industrial Ecology and the African Forest Research Initiative on Conservation and Development (AFRICAD). Her academic research exists at the science-policy interface, developing methods for geographically representative monitoring and modeling of mercury contamination to support activities under the Minamata Convention.


Conor Reynolds


Conor Reynolds obtained his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Dublin, Trinity (Ireland). He moved to Canada in 1999 to pursue a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering at UBC, and subsequently worked as a research engineer in UBC’s Clean Energy Research Centre. Between 2005 and 2010 he pursued an interdisciplinary PhD in Resource Management and Environmental Studies from IRES on the topic of air pollutant and climate forcing emissions from transportation. As part of his PhD project he worked in Delhi, India for extended periods of time. His postdoc was also based on fieldwork in India, measuring emissions from biomass cook stoves in rural Karnataka. Since 2011, Conor has been part of the Air Quality & Climate Change team at Metro Vancouver, the regional government that delivers services, policy and political leadership on behalf of 23 local authorities. Conor’s work is primarily related to energy and climate change, in particular projects related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Metro Vancouver’s corporate operations. He is interested in the application of interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research on the topics of mobility options in urban areas, environmental and human health impacts of energy use, and how emerging energy technologies can impact GHG emission.  Conor is also an Adjunct Professor in IRES.




Photo credit: Audrey from flickr/Creative Commons