The Premise

Human activities are disrupting our planet in ways that threaten the stability of our climate and ecosystems. World leaders have committed to address this accelerating crisis through the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. In parallel, the digital revolution is driving an unprecedented level of societal innovation and change, and there is considerable potential for digital innovation to be mobilized in support of the challenge of achieving sustainability goals. Tomorrow’s sustainability leaders will require interdisciplinary and systems-based thinking as well as the ability to make changes at a pace and scale that will enable global transformations to correct current environmental trajectories.

This unique graduate training program aims to mobilize the scientific understanding of the current sustainability crisis and identify opportunities for digital tools and technologies to be used to accelerate the transition to global sustainability. Our training program is led by Damon Matthews, Professor and Research Chair at Concordia University, in collaboration with the Montreal Secretariat of Future Earth. Students in the program will develop the skills needed for interdisciplinary collaborations, systems and collective thinking, and policy communication—qualities that will be essential requirements of future sustainability leaders.

The Program

Student applicants must be enrolled either at Concordia University, McGill University, Université de Montréal or Université du Québec à Montréal.

Graduate students in our program will have the opportunity to participate in internships with Future Earth to work either on Canadian-led or international global sustainability projects. International mobility will be enabled through Future Earth’s extensive global network, as well as access to Future Earth delegations in international science-policy forums. Thematic research components of the program will include:

GPS satellite orbits over Earth.

Climate change mitigation & resilience

Research projects in this axis will focus on both scientific foundational work in support of climate mitigation goals, as well as strategies to better communicate the results of climate science in support of policy implementation.

Businessman using smartphone with icons of alternative energy sources.

Advancing systems-based approaches to SDGs

Research in this axis will focus on this challenge of identifying and improving connections across system components so as to reveal innovative strategies to improve SDG implementation.

Circles with images of digital technology and sustainability icons revolve around a globe of the Earth. Background is green hills and cloudy, blue sky.

Enabling the transformative power of sustainability in the digital age

This axis will aim to mobilize research at the interface of digital technologies and sustainability science, by engaging advanced techniques in data analytics, machine learning and big data within systems-based analyses, and by promoting dialogue between systems scientists and academics and practitioners working at the forefront of digital innovation.