From agriculture to arts: McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative Graduate & Postdoc Sustainability Research Collective

Group is committed to sharing knowledge with peers, discussing world’s most pressing sustainability issues, and growing as the next generation of academics and innovators
Top l to r: Xiang-Hua Kong, Research Liaison; Dongyun Jung, Research Liaison; and Ashwini Sachindran, Events Coordinator. Bottom l to r: Oacia Fair, Committee Coordinator; Karan Kumar, Committee Coordinator; and Ling Chen, Communications

Sustainability is an urgent, multidimensional challenge that future generations of researchers and innovators are excited to tackle head-on.

At McGill, graduate students and postdocs from across the University, along with the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative (MSSI) have established the MSSI Graduate & Postdoc Sustainability Research Collective (MSSI Collective); a group committed to sharing their knowledge with their peers, discussing some of the world’s most pressing sustainability issues, and growing as the next generation of academics and innovators.

The McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative

Since its launch in 2017, the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative (MSSI) has grown to include five Research Themes—Sustaining Landscapes, Creating Sustainable Materials, Adapting Urban Environments, Sustainability Transitions, and CleanTech for Climate Action—and has amassed a network of over 200 faculty members from 35 departments who are committed to growing interdisciplinary sustainability research at McGill.

As a cross-disciplinary network of researchers, the MSSI’s mission is to conduct impactful sustainability research that addresses complex issues at a systemic level and train the next generation of sustainability innovators. The development of the MSSI Graduate & Postdoc Sustainability Research Collective creates a space for students—the future sustainability researchers, innovators, and leaders—to learn and grow from one another’s research.

“One of the MSSI’s main objectives is to train the future generation of researchers and create a space for them to flourish,” said Dr. Heather McShane, Program Director and Catalyst-in-Chief of the MSSI. “The MSSI Hub is proud to be able to support the MSSI Graduate & Postdoc Sustainability Research Collective in their mission to share and discuss their sustainability research, create connections with one another, and learn from their peers.”

The McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative Graduate & Postdoc Sustainability Research Collective

The MSSI Collective is shaped by the research, event, and developmental interests of its members. Each month, the MSSI Collective meets to hear presentations on sustainability research and engage in discussions on sustainability- or research-related topics.

“The MSSI Collective is a meeting of different minds, a conversation with disciplinary foreigners, and a community to foster collective wisdom to advance sustainable development,” said Ling Chen, a doctoral student in the Faculty of Law and the Communications Representative on the MSSI Collective Steering Committee; the group responsible for leading the MSSI collective, with logistical support provided by the MSSI.

“The [MSSI Collective steering] committee is responsible for setting the agenda for [the] monthly meetings of the collective and planning events relating to sustainability for its members,” said Karan Kumar, Committee Coordination Representative and a master’s student in Agricultural Economics, when describing the activities of the MSSI Collective Steering Committee.

This steering committee ensures the execution of the collective’s mandate, which was established by the members themselves. The MSSI Collective’s mandate is to:

  • create an interdisciplinary network of graduates and postdocs to share sustainability research and knowledge at McGill;
  • create opportunities for graduates and postdocs to present and communicate their sustainability-related research outside of their disciplines; and,
  • host sustainability research related events for members of the collective.

Sounds interesting? Join the Collective!

Programming for the monthly collective meetings range from research presentations and discussions to developmental workshops for attendees. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows interested in joining the collective can connect with the MSSI at or join the MSSI as a student or postdoc by visiting the website. The MSSI Collective can also be found on Facebook.


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