Network-Building in Sustainability Research

SustainabilityThis project is interested in studying the network-building strategies and practice across the different disciplinaries involved with McGill Sustainability System Initiative (MMSI). Since, it has been always challenging for sustainability research at McGill and worldwide to know how to provide the needed support to promote transdisciplinary collaboration, this study is collecting and examining evidence – based support on three domains:


  1. Guidance on transdisciplinary learning and knowledge co-production processes

The project aims at addressing the design, relational and systematic factors that are believed to play a crucial role in the predication of the success of social learning and knowledge co-production. This activity will provide guidance on how the design and facilitation of MSSI-convened collective learning and co-production processes influence participant perceptions and engagement. It applies an action learning model currently being led by Prof. Harvey.


  1. Tracking evolutions in transdisciplinary collaboration through the MSSI

The project draws on Dr. Chestnutt’s work on longitudinal social network analysis to study the evolution of relationships and collaborations through MSSI over time. This will look beyond the McGill community to understand how external stakeholders are engaged with this emerging community.


  1. Identifying emerging impacts of collaboration on sustainability systems

We aim at providing a clearer understanding of how MMSI impacts are generated. We look at indicators of impact that are of relevance to global sustainability challenges. The project uses a methodological approach developed by Prof. Harvey and currently being applied in FRQSC and SSHRC-funded research on transdisciplinary collaborations on climate and sustainability.



This will be achieved in collaboration with MSSI and across the other involved Faculties at McGill to collect evidence-based data to provide insights for MSSI’s practice, funders of sustainability programs, and the wider research community. Through these three complementary areas of engagement we hope to help MSSI learn and develop the good practices in both promoting and tracking the impacts of transdisciplinary collaboration. We, also, aim at documenting the impacts of sustainability collaborations through MSSI which will provide lessons to MSSI on how to facilitate transdisciplinary knowledge co-production. In another aspect of our research, we hope the result of this initiative will be of interests to funding bodies in Canada and abroad.


blane.harvey [at] (Dr. Blane Harvey)
514-398-4527 ext. 00506
Department of Integrated Studies in Education
3700 McTavish, Room 365
McGill University
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1Y2

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