September 2020

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Image by Dufour



As the new academic year begins, we want to wish everyone a healthy and productive start to what will be an unprecedented period at McGill. While we anticipate a whole new set of challenges, we hope that it will also bring new and exciting opportunities for continued learning and growth as a community.


While all MSSI events for the foreseeable future will take place in virtual format, we look forward to continuing to grow our network of sustainability researchers and remain committed to expanding our engagement with researchers across all faculties. With this in mind, we recently launched the SSH Ideas Fund, which specifically focuses on bold ideas in social sciences and humanities, and we are building a virtual cohort of McGill graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. The latter recognizes that in the new virtual world, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers may find it challenging to meet others in their community. This new initiative connects young researchers with interest in sustainability through virtual cross-disciplinary conversations, journal clubs, and specific interest groups. There has been an enthusiastic response to this initiative and we encourage anyone with interest in the group to participate. See "Join our community" below for more information.


We wish you the very best for the new semester and look forward to connecting with you throughout the year!


Upcoming events & opportunities


What is sustainability research?



We have worked with University Advancement to develop a four-part webcast series featuring MSSI researchers. Professors Elena Bennett and Kevin Manaugh kick-off the series today (Thursday September 3rd) at noon. Webcasts are free and open to the public.


Learn more



Trottier Symposium



The 7th Annual Trottier Symposium for Sustainable Engineering, Energy and Design, Lessons from a Pandemic: Solutions for addressing the Climate Change Crisis, will take place on September 16th, 2020. This online event, organized by the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED), is free and open to the public.


Learn more


MSSI Research Theme Symposium



Save the date! The 3rd annual MSSI Research Theme Symposium is taking place November 9th and 10th from 12 - 3 p.m., in virtual format. Join us for two afternoons of discussion and learning around sustainability research featuring keynote talks, panel discussions with MSSI researchers and a virtual research fair for students. Details and registration will be available soon.



Student Sustainability Challenge



The Bicentennial Student Sustainability Challenge, impact200, is a hands-on learning opportunity for McGill students and recent alumni. With the help of experts, students and recent alumni will have the opportunity to turn ideas into projects that will make a meaningful impact on our campuses, our city, and the world.


Learn more


Research Updates


Since June, the MSSI has funded eight new research projects through the 2020 Ideas and SSH-Ideas funds. Projects are led by researchers from the Faculties of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences, Arts, Education, Engineering and Science. This was the inaugural call for the SSH-Ideas fund, which was developed to support sustainability research projects led by researchers in the social sciences and humanities.


See the new SSH-Ideas projects


See the new Ideas projects


Selected Publications


Fiss, B. G. et al. (2020). Solvent-Free Mechanochemical Synthesis of Ultrasmall Nickel Phosphide Nanoparticles and Their Application as a Catalyst for the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction (HER).

ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 8. See paper.


Fong, M. et al. (2019) On the performance of ground coupled seasonal thermal energy storage for heating and cooling: A Canadian context. Applied Energy, 250. See paper.


Harrison, J., Sunday, J., & Rogers, S. (2019) Predicting the fate of eDNA in the environment and implications for studying biodiversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286. See open access paper.


Llanos, M. et al. (2020). Alternatives assessment of perovskite solar cell materials and their methods of fabrication. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 133. See paper.


MacDonald, G. K. et al. (2020). Geographic versus institutional drivers of nitrogen footprints: A comparison of two urban universities. Environmental Research Letters, 15. See open access paper.


McDonald, R. I. et al. (2020). Research gaps in knowledge of the impact of urban growth on biodiversity. Nature Sustainability, 3. See paper.


Oh, S. G., & Sushama, L. (2020). Fluvial inundation parameterization in climate model and its effects on regional climate: a case study of the 2009 Red River spring flood. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 141. See paper.


Robinson, B. E., Zheng, H., & Peng, W. (2019). Disaggregating livelihood dependence on ecosystem services to inform land management. Ecosystem Services, 36. See paper.


Join our community

Faculty, staff and students from McGill and beyond are invited to join as members or affiliates of the MSSI. We are also developing a community of McGill graduate and postdoctoral researchers interested in sustainability research. Join as a student/postdoc member or contact for more information.


Join now →






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