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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 73.90
Liaison Pegah Djamzad
Submission Date Oct. 5, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Simon Fraser University
AC-10: Support for Research

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Michelle Nelson
Manager, Sustainability Research
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have an ongoing program to encourage students in multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability? :
Yes

A brief description of the student research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

SFU Innovates (http://innovates.vpr.sfu.ca/programs)
SFU Innovates is a university-wide strategy that builds on our dynamic culture and seeks to strengthen SFU’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship. Based on SFU’s vision to be Canada’s engaged university, SFU Innovates helps students and researchers mobilize their ideas for positive social and economic impact. Built on four interconnected pillars of entrepreneurship, social innovation, incubation and acceleration, industry and community research partnerships, SFU Innovates harnesses creative energy, builds connections and moves ideas into action. SFU Innovates will create and harness a network of innovation initiatives and partnerships to establish SFU as a leader in developing talent, technology, and transformative ideas. The strategy will support a lifecycle approach to innovation and entrepreneurship that mobilizes creative minds and research strengths to contribute to British Columbia’s economic, social, and environmental well-being.

Students are encouraged to enrich their university experience by participating in one of the many programs under SFU Innovates. Many of these programs offer funding, coaching and unique access to experiential learning, bringing students from different faculties together to solve problems that matter. Some programs under the SFU Innovates umbrella include:

RADIUS, a social innovation lab and venture incubator that strives to launch high-impact initiatives that can drive healthy and sustainable economies for all. It teaches SFU students from different faculties how to rethink pressing social problems from the ground up, empathize with those affected and then create radical, sustainable solutions. Radius currently delivers on its objectives through contributions to education, its fellowship programs, LED Lab collaboration, and a pair of accelerator programs.

The Local Economic Development Lab (LED) is a unique partnership between Ecotrust Canada and RADIUS SFU. It connects talented graduate students with local organizations to accelerate community-designed and -driven social enterprises. The Lab then works with students, community partners and subject-matter experts to develop shared skills and knowledge for collaborating and changing the economic system to achieve long-term improvement in Vancouver’s inner-city communities.

VentureLabs® is a world-class business accelerator focused on structured growth, based on a defined methodology and best practices for growing technology companies. It is delivered by Simon Fraser University (SFU), the University of Victoria (UVic), the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and the Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUA+D), in partnership with the BC Innovation Council (BCIC), government and industry partners. SFU VentureLabs® has been awarded Top Challenger in North America by UBI Global, the world's most extensive benchmark study of university-linked business incubators and accelerators.

In 2017, an interdisciplinary team of SFU's undergraduates part of the Health Change Lab, a program under the SFU Innovates, qualified as one of two teams that will represent Canada at The Global Challenge, taking place at the University of Oxford, UK. The Global Challenge is an international competition for students to explore and present ideas around social and environmental change. Find out more at:
http://innovates.vpr.sfu.ca/story/sfu-students-and-social-innovators-win-spot-represent-canada-finals-global-challenge-oxford-uk

SFU Centre for Sustainable Development is another example of how SFU faculty and students engage in sustainability related research. Centre for Sustainable Development is part of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to mobilize global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical problem solving for sustainable development, including the design and implementation of the SDGs. An example project in the last three years include The International Youth Internships Project (2015-17). The program is designed to support young Canadians to develop professionally and make a difference in urban sustainability and food security in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Funded by Global Affairs Canada, the program is sending 40 young Canadians to work with municipal governments in Tanzania, Senegal, South Africa, Bangladesh, Mexico and Bolivia for periods of up to six months, in various activities related to sustainable economies and food systems.


Does the institution have a program to encourage faculty from multiple disciplines or academic programs to conduct research in sustainability topics?:
Yes

A brief description of the faculty research program, including the incentives provided and any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

SFU Innovates, a university-wide strategy that builds on our dynamic culture and seeks to strengthen SFU’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship, encourages faculty members from various departments to build on the institution's strong tradition of interdisciplinary collaboration and partnership. Through funding opportunities and research grand facilitation service delivery offered by the Vice President Research portfolio, SFU researchers are able to collaborate and conduct deep research to feed innovation.

SFU Centre for Sustainable Development is another example of how SFU faculty and students engage in sustainability related research. Centre for Sustainable Development is part of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to mobilize global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical problem solving for sustainable development, including the design and implementation of the SDGs. Along with SDSN, we are committed to supporting the implementation of the SDGs at local, national, and global scales. Our mandate is to stimulate the research and study of sustainable development in BC and elsewhere; collect and provide information about sustainable development within and outside the province; carry out projects on sustainable development in partnership with communities and agencies outside the university, facilitate effective use of the university’s resources in responding to requests for assistance on sustainable development problems; create opportunities for professional development experience and programs for sustainable development practitioners; and establish working relations with similar centres internationally, particularly in developing countries.

Example project in the last thee years include:

PANDO | Sustainable Communities
CSD has created a virtual network to bridge the gap between research and practice. Pando | Sustainable Communities is an international online community with a professional focus, where researchers, academics, and public and private-sector practitioners focused on local sustainability challenges can share knowledge, network, and collaborate. By sourcing the most innovative communication principles from other social media, Pando offers a one-stop shop for knowledge-sharing and collaboration. Pando is a collaboration between Simon Fraser University's Centre for Sustainable Development, the BC Climate Action Secretariat, the journal Local Environment, and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.


Has the institution published written policies and procedures that give positive recognition to interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research during faculty promotion and/or tenure decisions?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s support for interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and multidisciplinary research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

SFU's collective agreement with SFU's Faculty Association highlights "Criteria for Assessing Non-Traditional Scholarship" in the Article 28: University Criteria for Appointment, Tenure and Promotion. 28.19 Examples of such contributions include but are not limited to:
Indigenous or other non-Western forms of scholarship and/or teaching;
public dissemination of scholarly work through engagement with government or community organizations; technology transfer of discoveries, innovations and inventions (including patents and licensing);
work that bridges traditionally academic and traditionally artistic forms of knowledge production; products of community-engaged scholarship that bridge the boundaries of teaching, research, and service.


Does the institution have ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research, including any positive outcomes during the previous three years:

Research guides examples: Sustainable Business Resources; Urban Sustainable Development, Sustainable Community Development; Semester in Dialogue series: Sustainable Food Systems, Energy Futures, etc.; and Resource and Environmental Management.

Materials selection policies and practices: SFU’s process for approving all new courses and programs includes an evaluation of the Library’s collection to ensure adequate resources are available to support new areas of research and teaching. Where gaps are identified, the SFU Library requires additional budget support from relevant departments and faculties before such courses and programs are offered as part of the curriculum. This responsive and mandatory process has led to a significant increase in books, journals, and databases relevant to sustainability as courses in that area have multiplied. More specifically, the SFU Library’s collection policy for Resource & Environmental Management (REM) touches on many aspects of environmental sustainability. Although not explicit in other subject collection policies, resources on sustainability are collected in many areas. For example, in the past year more than 1000 resources on sustainability have been ordered in support of subject areas such as Communication, Economics, Business Administration, Geography, Urban Studies, Interactive Arts & Technology, and many others.

Curriculum development efforts: The SFU Library’s involvement in assignment design and support is responsive to changes in the curriculum to support sustainability research and teaching. Embedded subject librarians help with the design of feasible assignments and deliver targeted instruction when necessary. (E.g., in-class presentations by the REM Librarian on life-cycle-analysis resources and search strategies.)


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.