Training & Networks

Leadership in Environmental and Digital innovation for Sustainability (LEADS)

Tomorrow’s sustainability leaders will require interdisciplinary experience, systems-based thinking skills, and the ability to adapt to fast-paced and global-scale changes. 

LEADS (Leadership in Environmental and Digital innovation for Sustainability) is a unique graduate training program that draws the science of the current sustainability crisis to identify where and how digital tools can be used to accelerate the transition to global sustainability. The program explores three themes: Climate change mitigation & resilience, Advancing systems-based approaches to SDGs, and Enabling the transformative power of sustainability in the digital age. Students also participate in internships with Canadian-led global sustainability projects.

Students in the program develop the skills needed for interdisciplinary collaborations, systems and collective thinking, and policy communication—qualities that are essential requirements for future sustainability leaders.

Reflections on LEADS Program

I started my journey as a postdoc in the LEADS program in January, 2022. While the winter in Montreal was one of the coldest I had ever experienced, I found the LEADS faculty and students to be a warm and welcoming group. With over 15 years of experience in government, private, and academic sectors within the general field of environmental science, including two previous postdocs, I was hoping for new inspiration as I weighed whether to continue in academia or return to environmental consulting. The opportunities and support to conduct team research on Canadian based nature-based solutions within the LEADS program turned out to be the perfect catalyst for me and my career, and reinforced my desire to solve environmental problems.

Jordan Rosencranz

Being part of the LEADS fellowship is a beautiful opportunity to meet aspiring researchers from various fields who deeply care about sustainability. A highlight of the program was the summer school, which created a space for learning, for opening our minds to different perspectives through fruitful discussions and for creating lasting friendships. It makes me really hopeful that this program brings together people who are so passionate about making a change for the planet and stay humble and are aware of the limits of their own research. I wish to continue contributing to building the LEADS community, and cannot wait to see where we will all be in a few decades!

Mélisande Teng

My internship with LEADS at SDA has been a highlight of my graduate school journey and has allowed me to work on issues that align with my current program of study and overall professional interests. I had the opportunity to support the SDA team on innovative work at the nexus between digital technologies (i.e., remote sensing and machine learning), sustainable agriculture, and climate change mitigation. This experience served as a practical application of my graduate research, provided me with insights into project development, and helped to solidify my interest in a career in the Non-profit/NGO sector. I am grateful to the LEADS program and SDA for allowing me to join their team and for providing such a rewarding and impactful internship experience.

Erin Gleeson

With support from

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We acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
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