Grand Challenges

SSTI Grand Challenge call for Notices of Intent, (NOI)

In December 2016, the ‘Sustainability Sciences and Technologies Initiative’ (as the MSSI was then called) asked the McGill community to submit short proposals (Notices of Intent) for the major research programs to be funded by the Initiative. Research areas (‘Grand Challenges’) were to be unique and original, capable of being developed into programs, attracting significant long-term funding, and placing McGill at the forefront of sustainability research on the Canadian and international stage. A critical criterion was that, to be successful, the research would require input from a variety of disciplines such as social sciences, law, management, and humanities, as well as the natural sciences and engineering. The MSSI Executive Committee, with advice from the Advisory Committee, would then select a small number of NOIs for further development into research programs.

The response was overwhelming. Instead of the expected 6 – 8 submissions, the MSSI received 40 proposals which included more than 180 named researchers.

With such a high level of interest from across McGill, the plan to select a small number of NOIs for development was revised. Instead of focusing on a small number of NOIs, the lead authors -  along with Lightning Talk presenters - were invited to participate in a facilitated 3 h workshop to further explore potential areas of research. These workshops, and their outcome, would be based on the NOIs and individual research interests.

The list of NOI titles can be found below and further information on the MSSI Workshops can be found here.

NOI Title Lead Author
Sustainable Energy Production – Exploiting the Potential of Advanced Materials Akbarzadeh, Hamid
Aerosols: Key players in air pollution, weather, climate change, health research & sustainable technology Ariya, Parisa
Valorizing Lignin: Sustainable Approaches to High Value Electronic Materials and Pharmaceuticals from Biomas Arndtsen, Bruce
Lumb, Jean-Philip
Perepichka, Dima
Transforming Education for Sustainable Future Asghar, Anila
Transforming Urban Infrastructure Barrington-Leigh, Chris
Respecting Planetary Boundaries: Synthesizing Opportunities for Sustainable and Healthy Environments from an
Interdisciplinary Approach to Chemical Risks
Basu, Nil
Agricultural bio pesticides against insects and nematodes (ABIN) Bede, Jacquie
Ecosystem services in working landscapes Bennett, Elena
Humphries, Murray
Hickey, Gordon
Breaking Through the Technology and Policy Barriers to Enable Low-Carbon Energy Systems Bergthorson, Jeff
McGill Urban Agriculture Hub Bhatt, Viikram
Electric Utility for a Low Carbon Energy Future Bouffard, Francois
Earth economics for the Anthropocene Brown, Peter
A “One-World” BRIDGE to Food Convergent Innovation: Harnessing the power of science and integrative
digital technology for sustainable development
Dubé, Laurette
Orsat, Valérie
Biodiversity Conservation in the Anthropocene Elliot, Kyle
Chemistry 2.0: Solvent-free Chemistry for the Sustainable Creation of Materials Friščić, Tomislav
Innovative Technologies and Approach for Sustainable and Effective Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Gaskin, Susan 1
Toxicology of agricultural inputs: Research to improve regulation Gaskin, Susan 2
McGill Centre for Sustainable Agricultural, Food and Environmental applications of Nanotechnology (SAFE-Nano) George, Saji
Sustainable Materials and Molecules Accelerator Project Ghoshal, Subhasis
Biodiversity and adaptive systems science for sustainability Gonzalez, Andrew
Energy and 21st Century Material Science & Engineering Grutter, Peter
Dynamic Earth System Monitoring Line (DESyML) | sustainable ecosystem management Larsson, Hans
Smart Environment & Infrastructure for Sustainable Urban Water & Transportation Management Le-Ngoc, Tho
Recycled materials – better materials Lessard, Larry
Possible Futures Project – the Panama Research and Integrated Sustainability Model (PRISM) Leung, Brian
"Closing the loop" on reactive nitrogen and phosphorus MacDonald, Graham

Sustainable Urban Transport: Meeting the transport needs of growing urban populations while minimizing
environmental and resource impacts and maximizing human health and well being.

Manaugh, Kevin
Sustainable development of ‘appropriate’ biophysical technologies Mauzeroll, Janine
Sustainable Energy and Northern Climate Centre (SENCC-McGill) McKenzie, Jeff
Stix, John
Gyakum, John
Retrofitting food processing systems for sustainability: protein, water and energy Ngadi, Michael
Sustainable landscapes in an interconnected world: decision-making across scales Robinson, Brian
Positioning crop production in a changing world: New paradigms for sustainable agricultural intensification and processing Singh, Jaswinder
Sustainable Global Food Security – Feeding the World in the Long Term Smith, Don
Climate Smart Agriculture: Addressing the Problems of Climate Change, Agricultural Sustainability, and Food Security. Thomassin, Paul
Innovative Technologies for Affordable and Sustainable Water Management Tufenkji, Nathalie
Large scale uses of cellulose Van der Ven, Theo
Centre of research and education in sustainable livestock farming Vasseur, Elsa
Carbon pricing: practical and theoretical evaluations of Canada’s strategy to combat climate change Vetta, Adrian
Moving Toward Sustainable Agroecosystems: A Trans-Disciplinary Approach to Increasing Nitrogen Use Efficiency Whalen, Joann
Harnessing microbial biodiversity to enhance sustainability in human health, food, and agriculture Whyte, Lyle
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