Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 76.63
Liaison Karen Oberer
Submission Date Dec. 11, 2020

STARS v2.2

McGill University
AC-10: Support for Sustainability Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Karen Oberer
Sustainability Officer
McGill Office of Sustainability
"---" 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 sustainability research?:
Yes

A brief description of the student sustainability research program:

The McGill Sustainable Systems Initiative (MSSI) brings together experts from across McGill’s faculties (including students) providing support and seed funding for transdisciplinary teams to tackle some of the most complex and challenging issues in sustainability. The MSSI provides support for McGill researchers from both the sciences and humanities to work together to develop significant, impactful and socially acceptable advances that move society towards a sustainable model of existence.

Funding:
Ideas Fund (student): similar to the Ideas Fund for faculty, the student-level Ideas Fund provides funding for bold projects and novel ideas with potential to make a significant impact on a sustainability-related challenge. Funding is capped at $7,000 and is administered by a faculty supervisor. Twelve applications were received in 2018-2019 for a total of $49,000 of available funding.


Does the institution have a program to encourage academic staff from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct sustainability research?:
Yes

A brief description of the faculty sustainability research program:

The McGill Sustainable Systems Initiative (MSSI) brings together experts from across McGill’s faculties, providing support and seed funding for transdisciplinary teams to tackle some of the most complex and challenging issues in sustainability. The MSSI provides support for McGill researchers from both the sciences and humanities to work together to develop significant, impactful and socially acceptable advances that move society towards a sustainable model of existence.

Funding:
Innovation Fund: The MSSI Innovation Fund provides McGill faculty members with up to $75,000 to accelerate development of innovations that have potential for commercialization and processes that will lead to policy development in the field of sustainability. Projects must align with the MSSI vision and demonstrate both feasibility to move from bench toward commercialization or widespread adoption, and the potential to be awarded further funding from commercialization-enabling programs or foundation translational programs at the end of the MSSI funding period (one year). In 2018-2019, 16 applications were received for a total of $150,000 of available funding.

Ideas Fund (faculty): the Ideas Fund (faculty) provides up to $50,000 in seed funding for McGill faculty members to develop sustainability-related ideas. Projects must align with the MSSI vision, have potential to make a significant impact on a sustainability-related challenge and be premature or too bold to be eligible for other funding. The funding period is one year. In 2018-2019, 34 applications were received for a total of $279,000 of available funding.


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?:
Yes

A copy of the promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:
The promotion or tenure guidelines or policies:

In the Regulations Relating to the Employment of Tenure Track and Tenured Academic Staff, under Appendix B "Guidelines for Developing a Research Portfolio" professors seeking tenure should list as part of their research accomplishments the following:

"Any research efforts that exemplify innovative, new directions in scholarship or methodologies, such as those involving extensive interdisciplinarity or that may have required extensive “start-up” resources to acquire data prior to publication and research dissemination.

"This section may also speak to the professor’s commitment to open science and research accessibility through efforts to render scholarly information (e.g., research data and findings, software code, experimental methods) publicly available and transparent."

Thus, professors are encouraged to conduct extensive interdisciplinary research and to ensure their research is publicly accessible.


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

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research:

McGill Librarians support the teaching, research, and learning activities of the various faculties of McGill University. In particular, two subject librarians are assigned to support the activities of the McGill School of Environment, ensuring support on both campuses. In addition, as sustainability research is multidisciplinary in nature, librarians across many specialties may contribute in the provision of this service.

McGill Librarians compile subject guides in their areas of expertise, helping students & faculty navigate the library’s online and physical collections and resources. Library subject guides of particular interest to sustainability research include the Environmental Studies guide (http://libraryguides.mcgill.ca/environmental-studies), as well as guides for Natural Resource Sciences, Geography, Urban Planning, and Global Food Security. Many other guides will also contain resources of relevance, for example, the Business guides will help direct users towards resources for finding research on sustainable companies.

In terms of collections, the McGill Library has a number of specialized and multidisciplinary resources (databases, journals, books, etc.) of relevance to sustainability research. Examples of resources of interest include:
- Proquest Agricultural and Environmental Science Collection (includes several databases: AGRICOLA, TOXLINE, ESPM (Environmental Sciences and Pollution Management) and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) databases)
- GreenFILE
- Building Green Suite


Website URL where information about the institution’s support for sustainability research is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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