The Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute, at Selkirk College, is a regional research centre with a mandate to support informed decision-making by Columbia Basin-Boundary communities through the provision of information, research and related extension support.
Our strategic priorities are to:
1. Support evidence-based decision-making and planning
2. Help the region to address complex challenges and harness emerging opportunities
3. Promote innovation and regional collaboration
The RDI delivers the CBT-funded State of the Basin program and undertakes research specific to industry cluster competitiveness under the Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development’s research portfolio – including support for workforce development. The RDI also provides direct research support to local government partners through its RDI for Local Government initiative.The RDI conducts and gathers research, provides analysis of that research and shares that information so that Columbia Basin-Boundary communities have access to regionally-appropriate research that can be used to inform planning and decision making related to rural development.
We also offer fee-for- service support to individual organizations or businesses with research needs related to rural development. For more information on these services, see Question 6.
The RDI’s service area (pictured below) includes the regional districts of Kootenay Boundary, Central Kootenay, and East Kootenay, as well as the Northern Basin (Village of Valemount, City of Revelstoke, Town of Golden and portions of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District Areas A and B).
The RDI defines rural development as "the process of improving the quality of life and economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being of people living in relatively isolated and sparsely populated areas".
While, historically, studies on rural development focused primarily on socio-economic issues, many researchers have now embraced the notion that the factors influencing our well-being are much more diverse. The RDI’s research areas reflect this broad understanding of rural development and well-being.
The Regional Innovation Chair in Rural Economic Development (RIC) was established in 2006 to conduct a program of research in rural economic development. The position is supported through an endowment established under the BC Leading Edge Endowment Fund, which included matching funding from non-government sources primarily from within the Columbia Basin-Boundary region.
Based on a foundation of applied research and outreach, the goals of the Regional Innovation Chair in Economic Development are to:
Develop the capacity in the region for sound decision-making in matters related to economic development, through the provision of relevant research data and analysis,
together with related skill and capacity development;
Assist in the diversification of the regional economy through the promotion of innovation and technology transfer in existing and new enterprises; and
Support provincial and national networks that undertake applied research on the revitalization of high amenity, highly rural communities and regions.
The RDI is not a granting organization and does not provide funding for research projects.
The RDI can provide data provision services as part of the State of the Basin at no charge.
The RDI also offers cost-recovery services to projects that require more extensive levels of support. We limit these services to initiatives that seek rigorous, unbiased examination of themes or opportunities relevant to rural development. The types of services we offer include:
primary research studies (e.g., surveys, focus groups, etc.)
best practices research
feasibility studies or evaluations
knowledge mobilization activities (e.g., learning events or professional development courses)
As a research institute based at a college, we aim to link our applied research to experiential learning whenever possible.