Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 67.16
Liaison Mike Versteege
Submission Date June 24, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Alberta
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Nada Baali
Sustainability Engagement Coordinator
Sustainability Council
"---" 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? :
Yes

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

CAMPUS AS A LIVING LAB
https://www.ualberta.ca/sustainability/experiential/campus-living-lab.html

Campus as a Living Lab is a program that offers experiential research and learning opportunities to students, academic staff and support staff. These sustainability-focused living lab projects use the university campus (including grounds, buildings, biodiversity and communities) as a testing ground to develop sustainability solutions and meet sustainability goals. Campus as a Living Lab connects the classroom and the real world, creating opportunities for solution-based teaching, research and experience.

Funding is available to undergraduate students through the Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI), and to students, staff, an faculty through the Campus Sustainability Grants program.

SUSTAINABILITY SCHOLARS
https://www.ualberta.ca/sustainability/experiential/sustainability-scholars/index.html

Sustainability Scholars sponsors University of Alberta graduate students to work on applied research projects with Edmonton-area institutions. Over the summer months, successful applicants work with professional mentors, earn up to $6,000 and complete 250 hours of project work. Sustainability Scholars was founded by the University of Alberta and the City of Edmonton. Since it was launched in 2015, it has grown to include close to a dozen municipal, corporate and institutional partners. The program is designed to develop University of Alberta graduate students' professional aptitudes, especially in sustainability-related career fields.
Scholars have worked on climate action plans, energy improvements in affordable housing, wildlife tracking, groundbreaking energy storage, green building standards, and more. These projects enable our graduate students to apply their hard-earned knowledge to real-world challenges. As a result, real progress is made to shift the Edmonton area toward sustainability and climate resilience.
Up to and including summer 2020, 106 graduate students have gone through the program.

HELMHOLTZ-ALBERTA INITIATIVE
http://www.helmholtz-alberta.org

The Helmholtz-Alberta Initiative is an international research partnership that effectively amalgamates the scientific and technical expertise of the University of Alberta (Canada) and the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (Germany) to jointly develop solutions to key challenges in fields such as energy and the environment, ecosystem and resource informatics, and health. The scientific alliance between the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres and the University of Alberta was initiated in September 2009. To date, numerous projects and publications have been completed by graduate, undergraduate and faculty on: upgrading of biogene and fossil energy sources; geological carbon storage; scale independent risk assessment and site remediation; CO2-separation and gas purification; geothermal energy; and ecosystem and landscape development.

FINANCIAL AWARDS & SCHOLARSHIPS
https://www.ualberta.ca/graduate-studies/awards-and-funding/scholarships/departmentspecificawards

AltaLink Master's Scholarship in Rangeland Disturbance Ecology

Awarded to a student with superior academic achievement registered in a Master's degree program in the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences who is conducting research on disturbance-based issues related to the ongoing use of management of prairie rangelands throughout Alberta.

Anina Hundsdoerfer Memorial Graduate Scholarship

Awarded annually on the basis of superior academic achievement to a student registered full-time in a graduate program in the Faculties of ALES or Science who has completed most of the required course work for the degree and has a well-established thesis program focusing on forest conservation or forest health.

Bill Shostak Wildlife Award

Awarded annually to a full-time doctoral student at the University of Alberta to research the conservation and management of fish and wildlife in any or all of the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Awarded on the basis of academic achievement and desire to communicate effectively with the general public concerning the results of fish and wildlife research and conservation. Preference is given to students whose program emphasizes the identification and timely correction of problems affecting conservation and management of fish and wildlife.

Brett Cortus Memorial Graduate Scholarship

Awarded annually to a student registered full-time in a graduate degree program in the Department of Rural Economy working in the area of Agricultural and Research Economics. Awarded on the basis of outstanding academic merit to a student interested in pursuing research in environmental stewardship in agriculture, for the purpose of encouraging and supporting applied research and development that will be of direct benefit to Canada.

Dr Donald Haid Graduate Scholarship in Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology

Awarded to students enrolled in a graduate degree program in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology In the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences. Preference given to students holding a graduate assistantship in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology.

Max MacLaggan Scholarship

Awarded annually to a student in a graduate degree program in forestry with particular interest in forest renewal or forest operations.

Dr. Ian G W Corns Memorial Graduate Scholarship

Awarded annually to a student registered in a graduate degree program in the Department of Renewable Resources. Part-time students are eligible for this award.

Dr. William A Fuller Memorial Graduate Scholarship

Awarded annually to a student registered in a Master's or PhD program at the University of Alberta whose research is carried out in any discipline pertaining to Northern studies. Preference is given to students who are engaged in aboriginal affairs or conservation in the Northwest Territories or the Arctic.

Dr. David Schindler Undergraduate Scholarship in Environmental Science

Awarded to an undergraduate student with superior academic achievement entering fourth year Honours or Specialization in an Environmental Science degree who is considering graduate studies in an environmental science field.

Syngenta Graduate Scholarship in Sustainable Agriculture, endowed by Syngenta Crop Protection Canada, Inc.

Awarded annually to a student registered full-time in the second year of a PhD program whose research pertains to sustainable agriculture, which is defined as a balance between social, environmental and economic priorities. Projects may include environmental quality and resources management, land management, introduction of new technologies, economic viability and rural community sustainability.

John and Patricia Schlosser Environment Scholarship

Awarded annually to a student in a graduate degree program whose research, scholarship or creative work is judged to be a most outstanding contribution to our understanding, appreciation or amelioration of our earthly environment.

Margaret (Peg) Brown Award in Environmental Studies and Wildlife Resources, endowed by Mrs Margaret (Peg) Brown

Awarded annually to a graduate student in Agriculture and Forestry whose academic and/or research interest is in the area of wildlife conservation and environmental studies.


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

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

CAMPUS AS A LIVING LAB
https://www.ualberta.ca/sustainability/experiential/campus-living-lab.html

Campus as a Living Lab is a program that offers experiential research and learning opportunities to students, academic staff and support staff. These sustainability-focused living lab projects use the university campus (including grounds, buildings, biodiversity and communities) as a testing ground to develop sustainability solutions and meet sustainability goals. Campus as a Living Lab connects the classroom and the real world, creating opportunities for solution-based teaching, research and experience.

Faculty can be aided in exploring sustainability related examples or methods for their classes, finding students to work on sustainability research projects, and accessing funding and opportunities to conduct sustainability research on campus. Funding is available to undergraduate students through the Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI), and to students, staff, an faculty through the Campus Sustainability Grants program.

CAMPUS SUSTAINABILITY GRANTS
https://www.ualberta.ca/vice-president-facilities-operations/projects/energy-management-and-sustainable-operations/campus-sustainability-grants.html

Campus Sustainability Grants supports collaborative projects by providing access to grants of up to $50,000 to help support areas that do not have access to significant external funds. Campus Sustainability Grants are funded through energy savings from the University of Alberta Energy Management Program. Projects use a campus-focused lens to improve operations and practices, advance the stewardship of our natural environment, conduct collaborative research in sustainability, encourage integrated and collaborative solutions to sustainability problems, or advance a culture of sustainability on our campuses. Students, staff and faculty can access these grants to make their ideas come to life.

UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA FUTURE ENERGY SYSTEMS
https://www.futureenergysystems.ca/research

Future Energy Systems is a research program that develops the energy technologies of the near future, examines their integration into current infrastructure, and considers their social, economic, and environmental impacts. It also aims to contribute to the development of solutions for challenges presented by current energy systems.The research program includes fourteen themes, which are organized into four strategic areas: developing hydrocarbons responsibly; improving environmental performance; enabling sustainability and system wide enablers. Many of the themes and areas are interdependent, and UofA researchers are strongly encouraged to interact and collaborate with colleagues from different faculties, disciplines, and themes.

HELMHOLTZ-ALBERTA INITIATIVE
http://www.helmholtz-alberta.org

The Helmholtz-Alberta Initiative is an international research partnership that effectively amalgamates the scientific and technical expertise of the University of Alberta (Canada) and the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (Germany) to jointly develop solutions to key challenges in fields such as energy and the environment, ecosystem and resource informatics, and health. The scientific alliance between the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres and the University of Alberta was initiated in September 2009. To date, numerous projects and publications have been completed by graduate, undergraduate and faculty on: upgrading of biogene and fossil energy sources; geological carbon storage; scale independent risk assessment and site remediation; CO2-separation and gas purification; geothermal energy; and ecosystem and landscape development.

KULE INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDY
http://kias.ualberta.ca

The Kule Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS) is a major endowed institute supporting collaborative and interdisciplinary research in the social sciences, humanities and fine arts, and focusing on research with the potential for national or international recognition.

HEALTH TEAM RESEARCH INCUBATION SPACE
https://www.ualberta.ca/health-sciences-council/research/health-team-incubation-space.html

The Discovery Mall is a key feature of the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy. This entire space (2,500 square meters) was purpose-built to support interdisciplinary research teams. Flexible spaces are easily adapted to meet the changing need of team research. With demountable walls, adjustable furnishings and a free address system, the Discovery Mall provides prime space for team work. The Health Science Council manages 800 square meters of this dedicated space.
The TD Bank Financial Group in agreement with the University of Alberta has established an endowment fund to be administered by the Health Sciences Council, University of Alberta. The fund will provide up to three (3) $10,000 awards for 2019-20 to support students and trainees at the masters, doctoral or fellowship level. The awards will be allocated to applicants from the health sciences faculties who have active roles with an interdisciplinary (cross-faculty or multiple health/allied health disciplines) health research team, who will be taking part in a health research project and who describe or demonstrate interest and potential to excel in interdisciplinary health research.

SUSTAINABILITY COUNCIL AFFILIATE NETWORK
https://www.ualberta.ca/sustainability/research-teaching/affiliates.html

Launched in the fall of 2019, the Sustainability Council Affiliate Network is an interdisciplinary community of academics, ranging across all disciplines and career stages, who are integrating sustainability into their teaching and research and looking to connect and collaborate with like-minded academics and researchers. Joining the network allows affiliates to receive notice about opportunities for funding, networking, collaboration, and opportunities to be involved with Sustainability Council programs. The Sustainability Council is raising the profile of sustainability research at the University of Alberta and affiliates have the opportunity to be featured in articles, video and social media with an audience across the university and beyond.


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

The University of Alberta’s institutional strategic plan, "For the Public Good", outlines the university's goals for the next ten years.

Objective 17 outlines core interdisciplinary goals.

OBJECTIVE 17 - Facilitate, build, and support interdisciplinary, cross-faculty, and crossunit engagement and collaboration.

i. Strategy: Identify and remove systemic barriers to interdisciplinarity, and where necessary, expand or create policies, resources, infrastructure, and strategies to encourage and reward academic and administrative partnerships and collaborations.

ii. Strategy: Incent the development of interdisciplinary and cross-faculty graduate and undergraduate teaching and learning initiatives, including programs, courses, and embedded certificates.

iii. Strategy: Develop mechanisms for identifying research expertise at the institution for more effective cultivation of emerging research opportunities and funding programs, particularly those requiring interdisciplinary research teams.

Similarly, the University of Alberta 2016-2020 Sustainability Plan highlights the importance that the institution places on sustainability-related interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teaching and research through the following:

Goal 2.2 Encourage exposure to interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teaching and research connected to sustainability.

Goal 2.3 Support faculty members to integrate sustainability into their teaching.

The Goals, Priority Initiatives and Expected Outcomes chapter of the University of Alberta’s Comprehensive Institutional Plan 2019-2022 states the following:

“In 2018/19, we launched our first three signature areas: Energy Systems, Precision Health, and Intersections of Gender. These are intended to be drivers of novel, interdisciplinary collaborations, impactful innovation, and global excellence in research that directly benefits our students.” In addition, integrating sustainability into teaching, learning, research and outreach in ways that foster critical, interdisciplinary, long-term and systems thinking on sustainability has also been identified as one of the priority initiatives.

Specific examples from faculties include:

- Ongoing reorganization of programs at Faculte Saint-Jean around interdisciplinarity
- Reorganization of interdisciplinary programs and Office of Interdisciplinary Studies in the Faculty of Arts.
- Increased collaboration across departments, development of cross-disciplinary core graduate courses in the Faculty of Arts.
- Interdisciplinary graduate studentships in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.
- Theme-based (e.g., sustainability, mountains, Northern studies, international studies) and skill-specific (e.g., teaching and learning in higher education) certificates that enable students to pursue multiple interests and interdisciplinary learning.

There are also several examples of infrastructure that supports interdisciplinary research, including the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science, and the Kule Institute for Advanced Study.

Of the university's 18 faculties, at least 11 were previously determined to consider interdisciplinarity in their tenure and promotion decisions. This means 61% of the faculties consider interdisicplinarity in their tenure and promotion decisions.


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, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Research focused on and relating to questions and topics on sustainability is vast, interdisciplinary, takes place in the majority of faculties and disciplines. It involves undergraduate and graduate students at every level all the way to advanced researchers. The library supports research by purchasing and providing access to key databases in a wide range of disciplines so that the literature of sustainability is broadly available to students and researchers. The library is also essential for the discoverability of the literature on sustainability by connecting library staff and subject librarians to researchers. Librarians are knowledgeable about the literature in their subject areas on sustainability and the databases/resources that are relevant to successfully address and inform research topics. These same librarians also create useful current subject guides to the highest quality literature and resources to enhance access and discoverability. They also may also work with researchers directly in consultations, teaching classes, advising on scholarly publishing and assisting in research data management, just to name a few of the research support services offered by University of Alberta Library.

List of specific initiatives/examples that support sustainability research:

Key selected resources renewed and purchased:

Scopus
CAB Abstracts
ProQuest Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
ProQuest Earth, Atmospheric and Aquatic Science
Web of Science

Subject guides supporting research on sustainability:

ALES (Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences) guides
ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance)
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Environmental Law
Science Guides
Environmental Studies at Augustana
First Nations, Metis, Inuit (FNMI Health Resources)


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.