SFU Climate and Energy Research Day: Exploring climate, water and energy nexus

The biennial SFU Climate and Energy Research Day took place this past April 27, 2017 at the SFU Burnaby Campus.  The event was hosted by the SFU’s Office of the Vice-President, Research and International, Faculties of Arts and Social Science, Environment, Health Sciences, Interactive Arts and Technology, and Science, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, SFU Climate Futures Initiative, Climate Change Impacts Consortium and the Pacific Water Research Centre.

The 2017 Research Day focused on the climate, water and energy nexus.  Our goal is to find new research synergies across the university by challenging current research teams in these three areas to work across their disciplinary boundaries and envision projects that span at least two points of this nexus.

The day provided an opportunity for SFU scholars with interest in energy, water and/or climate change research to engage with other scholars at SFU.


1)     Provide a forum for sharing research interests especially successful examples of interdisciplinary projects,

2)     Enable researchers engaged in non ‐ traditional climate and energy work to see how they could contribute to Climate, Water and Energy nexus projects and

3)     Review our current organizational components for climate and energy research at SFU and lay out strategy to achieve the synergistic, collaborative milieu we seek.

4)  Explore specific topics for potential interdisciplinary project development

The day comprised:    

  • Opening remarks, Joy Johnson, VP Research and International
  • Keynote speakers: Jonathan Wilkinson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change; Andrea Reimer, City of Vancouver; Stephanie Smith, BC Hydro.
  • Panel session with Stephanie Smith (BC Hydro), Andrea Reimer (City of Vancouver), Anil Hira (Political Science), Diana Allen (Earth Sciences), and Jonn Axsen (Resource and Environmental Management). Moderated by Zafar Adeel (Pacific Water Research Centre)
  • Poster and research sessions to compete for $1,000 dollars (best reconstructed poster) and $ 5,000 dollars (best research proposal).
  • Plenary and reception


Poster Session - Abstract book

Concept Notes - Submissions

Video recording of keynote speakers and panel session

Sponsors: VP Research and International Office, Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, Faculty of Environment, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Research Poster Session

2017 Participants:

Lynne M. Quarmby, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry | Flagellation and motility in algae isolated from B.C. snow fields

Tim Takaro et al., Health Sciences | Extreme precipitation, turbidity, drinking water and acute gastrointestinal illness in a Canadian surface drinking water system: mechanisms and opportunities to build resilience to climate change.

Fiona Brinkman, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry | Microbiome analysis to identify species and biomarkers for water quality monitoring and bioremediation

Reuben Dandurand, Earth Science | Jointed Clay vs Interbedded Sandstone: Determining the True Villain Behind Landslides in an Otherwise Peaceful Region

Jennifer R. Dierauer | Shale gas, climate change, and drought. Oh My!

Zoe Long | Assessing heterogeneous Canadian preferences for alternative fuel vehicles

Erik Kjeang, Jonn Axsen, Elicia Maine | LETS GO: Low-Emission Transportation Systems for Ground Operations

Alex Jiang, Mechatronic System Engineering (MSE) | Intelligent Controller for Energy-efficient Supplemental Lighting in Greenhouses

Dana Ehlert, Geography | The sensitivity of the proportionality between temperature change and cumulative CO2 emissions to ocean mixing

Ronil Rabari, MSE | Sustainable closed greenhouse: From waste to clean food and water

Khorshid Fayazmanesh, MSE | Consolidated composite with increased thermal conductivity and sorption capacity for heat-driven sorption cooling systems

Subash Rajasekar, Chemistry | Photoelectrochemical hydrogen generation from organic semiconductor nanoparticles

Omar A. Ibrahim, MSE | A metal-free biodegradable battery for portable single-use applications

Paran Sarma, MES | Effective usage of waste impure hydrogen to generate energy

Adrian Wziatka and Jay Islam, Political Science | Facilitating Clean Energy Development: the necessity of regional and domestic policies

Jessica (Xiaoyan) Luo, Chemistry | Water Transport Through Fuel Cell Ion Exchange Membranes

Vinu Subashini Rajus, Interactive Art and Tehcnology | Light Weight Look Ahead Options: An “eco-dialogue” between the buildings; its inhabitants and designers

Jordan Brubacher et al., Health Sciences | Climate change, asthma and allergy risk in Toronto

Molly Steeves, Urban Studies | The case of green energy planning in Copenhagen’s Nordhavnen model sustainable neighbourhood development

Nick Hedley et al., Geography | Developing new spatial data infrastructure and 3D geovisual interfaces to understand the vulnerability of coastal environments in Canada

Cecilia Sierra, Health Sciences | Climate Change, pollen and seasonality

Matthew Simons, Earth Science | Which way does the waste go? A look at brine disposal wells in Northeast British Columbia

Teresa Rosales, Earth Science | Characterizing contamination risk in the shallow subsurface zone due to spills of wastewater from shale gas activities

Samantha Morgan, Earth Science | Are buried valley aquifers super highways for groundwater in Northeast BC?

Stephanie Van Pelt, Earth Science | Using Multiple Proxy Types for Reconstructing Paleoclimate

Frances Robertson, Biological Science | Integrating environmental effects into marine renewable energy development: a case study of tidal turbines and marine mammals

Xinru Li,  Geography | Exploring the reversibility of changes in ocean conditions under net-negative CO2 emissions

Claude-Michel Nzotungicimpaye, Geography | Permafrost methane emissions and feedback on global climate under unmitigated emissions scenarios

Margaret Valerio, Geography | Exploring the Relationship Between Vertical Mixing, Overturning Circulation, and AABW Volume During the Last Glacial Maximum

Winners of the poster "jam session"

In the afternoon session,  the research questions from the morning talks and discussion and excerpts from the posters were used to stimulate a research “design jam” session where teams of poster authors collaboratively seeked to synthesize their research across at least two of the nexus topics. Synthesis, and indeed interdisciplinary work, is about creating something new by crossing boundaries and thinking across them. In the design jam session, participants did this by deconstructing the original posters, adding new parts, and reassembling them to achieve a new poster mock-up that addressed issues and research in more than one of the nexus areas.

The synthesis posters were presented in the final plenary session and a prize for the best synthesis poster was awarded to the Mathew Simons, Teresa Rosales and Samantha Morgan from Earth Science with the reconstructed poster entitled "Life Cycle of Fracking Water: From source to sink and back again"


Past Research Day 2015

Highlights of the day

April 14, 2015

The SFU Climate and Energy Research Day,  hosted by the SFU’s Office of the Vice-President, Research, and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, provided an opportunity for SFU scholars with interest in energy and/or climate change research to engage with other scholars at SFU and share their research with the broader community .

The areas of interest SFU researchers are involved include climate science, climate change impacts on ecosystems and human health, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, climate policy, sustainable energy systems, alternative energy technology, sustainable living among others.

Recordings of the event:

The day was comprised of 

  • Plenary Talk “Integrating Research from Natural to Social Science: The 2 degree target ”– Mark Jaccard
  • En’lightening talks (5-min. presentations) – SFU faculty
  • Panel sessions Interdisciplinary Climate and Energy Research at SFU, Steps Forward for SFU Climate and Energy Research
  • Poster session (29 posters from across SFU Departments)
  • Among the speakers: Dr. Joy Johnson, Vice-President, Research, Norbert Haunerland, Associate Vice-President,Research, Ingrid Stefanovic, Dean Faculty of Environment

Please follow this link for the Abstract Book.

 “Integrating Research from Natural to Social Science: The 2 degree target ”–  A plenary talk with Dr. Mark Jaccard

Understanding and acting upon the threat of human-caused climate change requires the integration of research from the natural and social sciences. This talk looks at the rationale for the target of limiting global warming to 2 οC above pre-industrial levels, and then at how natural science researchers establish carbon budgets and how social science researchers use these to design climate policies and estimate their effects on energy markets and individual fossil fuel investments. Link to the Recording

Dr. Mark Jaccard is a professor in the School of Resource and Environmental Management at SFU. He is known for his work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Global Energy Assessment, and has advised governments worldwide.

As part of the day, the 3rd Climate Change research poster competition - Climate and Energy Research Poster Competition - took place ". Twenty nine graduate students from different disciplines had the opportunity to share their research with the attendees.  Two $500 prizes were awarded for the best posters to Teresa Rosales-Ramirez, a PhD student working with Diana Allen on “Risk and resilience in the shale gas context: a nexus perspective” and to Joseph Bailey a PhD with Jonn Axsen, with his research on “Intermittency issues for renewables in BC: Investigating solutions from the supply and demand perspectives”. 

To learn more about the students and their research click here