SFU-led projects

Sustainability and climate action plan monthly spotlight: Research

March 07, 2023
Pictured above are just some of the members within SFU's vice-president, research and international (VPRI) portfolio, championing Goal 2: Research of SFU's 2022-2025 Strategic Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. L-R: Mike Boleak, director, research intelligence office; Seychelle Cushing, executive director, strategic partnerships hub; Michael Richards, associate vice-president, research; Diane Hanano, director, institutional strategic awards; Dugan O'Neil, VPRI; Mary Chen, communications and marketing officer, VPRI portfolio; Elicia Maine, associate vice-president, knowledge mobilization and innovation; and Shelley Gair, executive director, VPRI portfolio.

Simon Fraser University’s 2022-2025 Strategic Sustainability and Climate Action Plan outlines the university’s vision, sustainability goals and climate action targets. With six goals and 18 actions, the plan puts SFU on the path towards net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. It also sets SFU's aspirations for our impact in local, regional, national, and global communities. Furthermore, continued work on sustainability came up as a recurring theme during the consultation for SFU: What's Next and will be included as a core value for the SFU community.

Throughout the year, SFU will highlight each of the six goals within the plan. This month, our feature of the series is Goal 2: Research. Goal 2 supports integrating climate and sustainability across the research portfolio into research, partnerships, knowledge mobilization, international and innovation.

“A lot of people across SFU have spent a great amount of time over the last year thinking about how to integrate climate action across all of the pillars of activity at the university,” says Dugan O’Neil, vice-president, research and international.

“You will see the results of that work in our updated strategic sustainability and climate action plan, as well as in our new strategic research plan. If we can align research, education, operations, industry partnerships, international relationships and community engagement in just the right way, we can create the most change.”

Take a look at just a few highlights from the VPRI portfolio, their commitments to sustainability and climate action and their progress towards meaningful change.    

Advancing community-centred climate innovation

One “Action” the VPRI portfolio committed to in SFU’s Strategic Sustainability and Climate Action Plan is to activate the community-centred climate innovation program. Advancing community-centred climate innovation is also listed as one of the five priority areas in SFU’s 2023-2028 Strategic Research Plan.

As climate change intensifies, impacts will be felt—and changes can be made—at the community level. SFU's unique approach to this is community-centred climate innovation, founded on community partnerships, innovation and a deep commitment to Indigenous knowledges and perspectives. 

Our community partners can leverage our expertise and capacities to develop climate change solutions that meet their specific needs.

Learn more and get involved: www.sfu.ca/climate-innovation.

SFU launches new five-year strategic research plan with priority areas demonstrating commitment to SDGs

With a reputation as one of Canada’s fastest growing research institutions, SFU’s 2023-2028 Strategic Research Plan (SRP) identifies key areas of strength and focus for the future. The plan embeds the core values of the university’s institutional plan into research practice using six approaches and includes five institutional research priority areas that demonstrate SFU’s commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Learn more: www.sfu.ca/strategic-research-plan.

SFU showcases impacts across all 17 SDGs

The UN’s SDGs are the world’s call-to-action to end poverty, to protect the planet and to leave no one behind. SFU’s dedication to sustainability, research, learning and teaching, campus operations and community and global engagement play a key role in supporting the SDGs.

Collaborating with the SFU community, various departments within the VPRI portfolio worked together to launch the university’s SDG website. The site shares how the institution advances the 17 goals through four core functional areas: research; learning and teaching; campus operations; and engagement.

Additionally, SFU International—with support from the central SFU Sustainability team—led an SDG mapping project to generate feedback, ideas and recommendations for deepening our impact on the SDGs. As a result, a SDG framework for global engagement at SFU will be shared later this month.

Learn more: www.sfu.ca/sdgs.

SFU's research expertise engine now searchable by SDG

SFU’s Research Expertise Engine (REE) was developed by our Research Intelligence Office. It is an online tool that supports SFU researchers, community members and external researchers in connecting with colleagues of similar interests, or with whom new multidisciplinary collaborations can be built. Now searchable by SDG, the tool identifies SFU researchers, collaborations and partnerships contributing to any of the 17 SDGs.

With over 46,000 titles authored by SFU researchers, REE provides an easy way for researchers, industry, government, partners and media to connect with SFU scholars and learn more about each of the 17 SDGs.

Visit the REE: www.sfu.ca/research/expertise-engine.

Learn more on the Goal 2 web page and follow along this month on Twitter as we celebrate Goal 2 highlights, progress and more.