The Harris Centre Regional Analytics Laboratory (RAnLab) focuses on the use of regional economic and spatial analytics to quantitatively assess the capacity and sustainability of industries, labour markets, and the population of places for the purpose of informing evidence based policies for regional development.
RAnLab has worked with partners of all levels to develop a series of operational geo-spatial supply chain and regional analytics models that can assess the localized impacts of any present or projected future changes in demography, commodity prices, technology, labour markets, and housing demands, as well as industries and services including transportation and health care delivery. This includes modelling the effects of the introduction, reorganization, or removal of industries or services from a region.
One of the biggest projects the group undertook was a projection of the province’s demographics, as part of the Harris Centre’s Population Project. The work conducted by RAnLab projected the demographic breakdown of the province, looking at birth and death rates, along with historical migration patterns and gave Newfoundlanders and Labradorians the information essential to develop strategies and produce further research that can benefit the future of the province. Four years after the report was published, communities and regions continue to discuss the report and use its findings to motivate change and support good policy decisions.
The demographic information provided by RAnLab allows for and encourages exploration into a number of different issues that will face Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in the coming years. Things like labour market demands, service provision and governance will all be impacted by the declining and rapidly aging population of the province. Since the initial report was released in 2016, many other research projects were initiated and completed surrounding these topics. More information about the Population Project can be found on the Harris Centre website.
Established by Dr. Alvin Simms and Jamie Ward (in collaboration with Dr. David Freshwater and the Harris Centre’s director, Dr. Rob Greenwood), RAnLab emerged about 10 years ago. The group recognized that the province was in need of demographic and labour market information that focused on the specific, regional nature of the province. Although the province was coming out of an unprecedented economic boom at the time, Newfoundland and Labrador was also facing a declining and aging population and increasing urbanization. It was critical for people in the province to be presented with a clear and accurate picture of the province’s future demographic reality in order to start moving towards solutions, and that's exactly what RAnLab does.