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Fostering a transition toward sustainability and patterns of development that promote human well-being while conserving the life support systems of the planet is one of the central challenges of the twenty-first century. Despite this being a serious issue, progress has so far been rather slow. To a large extent, this is because approaches to sustainability failed to appreciate the deep interconnectedness of human and environmental systems.
McGill recognises the importance of adopting complex, multidimensional, and cross-disciplinary thinking on the issue and launched the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative (MSSI) – a multidisciplinary hub focused on sustainability solutions.
More specifically, the MSSI brings together experts from across McGills faculties, providing support and seed funding for transdisciplinary teams to tackle some of the most complex and challenging issues in sustainability. Researchers from a wide variety of fields work together to develop significant, impactful and socially acceptable advances that move society towards a sustainable model of existence.
The major research of the MSSI is centered on a small number of thematic areas in which McGill has robust and demonstrated expertise and can be expected to make tangible and significant impacts. The four central research themes are: sustaining landscapes for the future, creating sustainable materials for the future, adapting urban environments for the future, and sustainability transitions.
While the MSSI brings together members from within the McGill community, external players are also integral to the transition. The MSSI puts emphasis on engaging with stakeholders, including industry, government, non-governmental organizations and civil society to collaborate in making innovative ideas come to life.
The MSSI also hosts a variety of other activities designed to build a robust and vibrant community of committed sustainability researchers and external stakeholders.