Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 72.63
Liaison Karen Oberer
Submission Date Aug. 22, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

McGill University
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Anne-Marie Durocher
Senior Analyst, Policy and Planning
Office of the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation), Strategic Initiatives Unit
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability? :

A brief description of the student research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

The Environment Major includes mandatory courses that make undergraduates conduct research in sustainability. An example of such core courses is ENVR401 Environmental Research, where students work in an interdisciplinary team on a real-world research project involving problem definition, methodology development, social, ethical and environmental impact assessment, execution of the study, and dissemination of results to the research community and to the people affected. Another example, optional course this time, is the ENVR 422 Montreal Urban Sustainability Analysis course that brings students to conduct sustainability research, the results of research being presented at an annual symposium each year.

The McGill Office of Sustainability (MOOS) provides an Applied Student Research (ASR) Toolkit to guide students who wish to conduct sustainability research. Through library services, MOOS then publishes these sustainability reports online through the Living Lab database.

The Sustainability Projects Fund (SPF) has been created to help promote and build a culture of sustainability at McGill, with the primary purpose of the fund to create opportunities for the McGill community to actively engage in sustainability initiatives on campus.

For more information please visit:


Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability topics?:

A brief description of the faculty research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

To advance the adoption of sustainable principles in our research and teaching, the Faculty of Engineering created the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED), which includes approximately 45 faculty members. These researchers are investigating methods to reduce our footprint on the environment through advancements in renewable energy sources and technologies, sustainably built infrastructure, urban transportation systems, green information technology, life cycle engineering, green aviation, carbon capture and storage, and sustainable mineral extraction.

TISED works partly to benefit McGill professors, graduate and undergraduate students alike, enabling positive change in the world. Funding for TISED includes an Endowed Chair, a Scholars-in-Residence program, administrative support for teaching and research projects, Faculty Scholar Awards to attract and retain outstanding junior professors, master's and doctoral fellowships, "Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (S•U•R•E)" awards, and support for undergraduate student competitions and design projects.

Made possible by TISED partners and benefactors, there are a number of faculty scholar awards which recognize, encourage, and catalyze research activities of professors in the Faculty of Engineering at McGill University in sustainable engineering and design.

Has the institution published written policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:

A brief description of the institution’s support for interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Core Commitments of McGill as stated in the Strategic Research plan (2013):
We recognize that all forms of research output affect society, directly or indirectly by underpinning the advancement of knowledge,
and can be expressed as social, economic, environmental, or cultural benefits. There is no single metric that effectively measures the
success of research and its impact on society and the environment. We believe that fundamental research extends the boundaries of
knowledge so it can inform and, in turn, support thematic and problem-based interdisciplinary and disciplinary research, while
remaining responsive to new challenges as they emerge. The following five core commitments illustrate McGill’s dedication to the
pursuit of research excellence:

Ideas – Universities are grounded in a long history of reflection and inquiry in all aspects of art, science, and the humanities.
Wherever research may ultimately lead, all advancements begin with ideas. By asking questions – both fundamental and applied –
McGill researchers are part of a community that seeks to better understand the universe and take steps, sometimes in unexpected
and exciting ways, into the future.

Innovation – Increasing the emphasis on innovation in all its forms – social, pedagogical, and organizational, as well as through the
development of new technologies – allows us to play a leading role in a knowledge-based society. This can take the form of advocating for appropriate spaces for the free exchange of ideas, where researchers and their partners jointly develop ideas and products; communicating research discoveries to decision-makers; transferring knowledge and know-how; protecting ideas and
inventions; licensing discoveries; or creating new spin-off companies or non-profit organizations. The Quartier de l’innovation is a
key example of this commitment.

Sustainability – Sustainability is a central component of much of the research at McGill, where faculty and student researchers study
all aspects of the subject. Sustainability is a comprehensive approach to how they carry out their work, and it is an essential element
of what the University does to ensure the long-term viability of its research enterprise through maintaining and renewing its
infrastructure and core facilities. McGill faculty, staff, students, and administrators are citizens who consider the environmental,
social, and economic contexts and consequences of their work.

Collaboration and partnership – Bringing together leaders of diverse disciplines, backgrounds, and affiliations can generate new
ideas and approaches. At home and abroad, our faculty and students build bridges with colleagues from other research institutions,
governments, private industry, and community-based organizations. We support the participation of different voices and are
committed to include and promote indigenous perspectives and knowledge.

Social engagement – McGill researchers use their learning, ingenuity, and creativity to participate in dialogue and work toward
common purposes with community partners. Drawing on the strengths and expertise of different stakeholders, they create and
apply evidence-based research to address shared challenges; guide and develop policies, practices and products; provide innovative
learning environments and professional experiences for students at all levels; improve professional practices; and seek out and
support initiatives that result in tangible improvements for individuals and communities.

Source: http://www.mcgill.ca/research/files/research/srp_summary_version_final.pdf

Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

The McGill Library has compiled a comprehensive online subject guide for all things sustainability (see guide below). This helps students & faculty navigate online resources as well as the library's physical resources to facilitate sustainability research. Contact information for a librarian specializing in this area of research is also provided in the subject guide.

The McGill Library has also compiled a collection of research papers with a sustainability focus, acting as an additional resource for sustainability learning and research applied to McGill as a living lab.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.