Picture of  Ken  Coates

Ken Coates PhD, MA, BA Professor Emeritus, U of S

Professor Emeritus, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan; Fellow, Royal Society of Canada

Areas of Interest

  • Regional innovation
  • University education and higher education generally
  • Indigenous rights and land claims
  • Science and technology policy
  • Japan and Canada-Asia relations
  • Northern governance and development, and circumpolar affairs


Ken Coates is a professor emeritus and Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation in the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. He is also the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s Senior Policy Fellow in Aboriginal and Northern Canadian Issues.

He has served at universities across Canada (UNBC, UNB and Waterloo) and at the University of Waikato (New Zealand), an institution known internationally for its work on Indigenous affairs. He has also worked as a consultant for Indigenous groups and governments in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia as well as for the United Nations, companies, and think tanks. Ken has also served as the past president of the Japan Studies Association of Canada, and in November was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada

Ken recently published a book called From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation with Greg Poelzer. He has previously published on such topics as Arctic sovereignty, Aboriginal rights in the Maritimes, northern treaty and land claims processes, regional economic development, and government strategies for working with Indigenous peoples in Canada. His book, A Global History of Indigenous PeoplesStruggle and Survival, offered a world history perspective on the issues facing Indigenous communities and governments. He was co-author of the Donner Prize winner for the best book on public policy in Canada, Arctic Front: Defending Canada in the Far North, and was short-listed for the same award for his earlier work, The Marshall Decision and Aboriginal Rights in the Maritimes.

Ken contributes regularly, through newspaper pieces and radio and television interviews, on contemporary discussions on northern, Indigenous, and technology-related issues.

Download Ken Coates' CV.


  • PhD, University of British Columbia
  • MA, University of Manitoba
  • BA, University of British Columbia

Supervisory Capacity

Ken Coates is currently not accepting applications from new PhD and MPP students for September 2023.

Recent Grants/Awards


  • SSHRC Knowledge Synthesis Grant, Aboriginal Workplace Integration in the North, March 2015
  • SSHRC Partnership Grant, Rural Policy Learning Commons, January 2015
  • SSHRC Insight Grant, co-investigator, Building Northern Capacity Through Entrepreneurship, October 2014
  • Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, SSHRC, April 2012.
  • SSHRC Conference Grant, The Political Economy of the Provincial North, May 2012.  $25,000
  • Asia and the Arctic Workshop, Japan Foundation (Toronto), Winter 2013, $22,000, with Kimie Hara
  • Arctic Policy Alternatives Workshop, Centre for International Governance Innovation, Winter 2013, $18,000, with Kimie Hara
  • The Fourth World Project, Centre for International Governance Innovation, 2012-2014, $35,000


  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada, November 2015
  • Japan Foundation Fellowship, Summer 2014
  • Japan Foreign Minister’s Commendation for Service to Japan, 2014
  • Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2013
  • Winner of the Donner Prize for Public Policy (for the co-authored book, Arctic Front)

Select Publications

  • The Global Digital Economy: A Comparative Public Policy Analysis (New York: Cambria Press, December 2014). Approx.. 250 pp. With Carin Holroyd.
  • From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation. (Vancouver: UBC Press, July 2015), pp. 250. With Greg Poelzer.
  • What to Consider When You Are Considering University. (Toronto: Dundurn, 2014), pp. 216. With W.R. Morrison. 
  • Campus Confidential: 100 Startling Things You Don’t Know About Canadian Universities 2nd ed.(Toronto: Lorimer, 2013).  With Bill Morrison
  • Digital Media in East Asia: National Innovation and the Transformation of a Region (New York: Cambria, 2012), with Carin Holroyd
  • Japan in the Age of Globalization (London, Routledge, 2011).  With Carin Holroyd
  • Campus Confidential:  100 Startling Things You Need to Know About Canadian Universities (Toronto: Lorimer, 2011).  With Bill Morrison
  • A Global History of Indigenous Peoples: Struggle and Survival (London: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2004)
  • Land of the Midnight Sun: A History of the Yukon 2nd Edition (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005). With W.R. Morrison.
  • Innovation Nation: Science and Technology in 21st Century Japan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). With Carin Holroyd.
  • Arctic Front: Defending Canada in the Far North  (Thomas Allen Publishers, 2008). With P. Whitney Lackenbauer, William R. Morrison, Greg Poelzer.

Click here for a detailed list of Ken Coates' publications, including reports published through the MacDonald-Laurier Institute.

Current Research

  • Technical and scientific innovation in Canada  
  • The development of the sub-arctic world
  • Transformation of the Canadian university system