Preserving Fungal Diversity: A Key Strategy in Mitigating Disease Transmission

Biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, is essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems and ensuring human well-being. While animals and plants are commonly highlighted when discussing biodiversity, fungi are often overlooked. With an estimated five million species, fungi represent the second-largest kingdom of organisms on Earth, surpassed only by animals. However, we are still in the early stages of exploring the extensive diversity of fungi, with numerous species remaining undiscovered and awaiting documentation.

In recent years, the interconnectedness of ecosystems and human health has become increasingly apparent, particularly in the context of emerging infectious diseases. A rich biodiversity plays a crucial role in mitigating the transmission of diseases from animals to humans, known as zoonotic disease transmission. Biodiversity acts as a buffer against the spread of diseases, where many species interact in ways that usually suppress disease outbreaks. Predators and competitors, for instance, can regulate the population size of disease-carrying species that typically serve as reservoirs for microbial pathogens, thereby reducing the risk of transmission to humans. When biodiversity is declined, the balance of ecosystems is weakened as well, creating opportunities for pathogens to thrive. For example, when natural enemies or competitors of disease vectors are reduced or absent in an area, outbreaks of infectious diseases may occur. Conversely, predation on disease vectors can effectively prevent or at least slow the spread of a pathogen. Additionally, deforestation or anthropogenic disturbance can harm biodiversity by disrupting the natural habitats of organisms and increasing the likelihood of human-animal interactions, which raises the risk of disease transmission as well.

Fungi, renowned for their diversity and ecological importance, play multifaceted and indispensable roles in the intricate web of life. Beyond being mushrooms that sprout after rain or yeasts that help ferment food and drinks, fungi also serve as decomposers, symbionts, and pathogens, all of which are essential for a healthy ecosystem. As a notable example of the significant impact of fungi on human health, the discovery of penicillin, an antibiotic derived from the mold Penicillium, have saved millions of lives from severe infection. The recent rise of superbugs and their antibiotic resistance has renewed our interest in discovering novel antibiotics from unexplored fungal species. Furthermore, the emergence of diseases like Dengue, Yellow Fever, and Zika virus has highlighted the urgency to mitigate the spillover of pathogens from animals to humans. While insect vectors like mosquitoes receive much attention, fungi are being explored as biocontrol agents to curb the spread of these infectious diseases. The insect-associated fungi, such as those historically used for medicines or immune system boosters (e.g., Cordyceps), have recently inspired multiple science fiction TV shows, like "The Last of Us."

Fungal species have pioneered multiple biocontrol strategies to manage adult mosquitoes in Africa, where Malaria are prevalent . A research group at the University of Toronto has been utilizing aquatic fungi as innovative biocontrol agents to target the larval stages of mosquitoes. They have identified these aquatic fungi as obligate symbionts of mosquito larvae for over hundreds of millions of years. The diversity observed in this group of fungi is thus believed to be a result of their long-term interaction with insect hosts. For instance, one species found in Australia, has demonstrated the ability to kill mosquito larvae by penetrating the gut lining, thereby hindering their molting process and emergence from water. Additionally, another species within the same group has exhibited the ability to steal genes from mosquito hosts for its own benefits within the gut environment. The research group is currently spearheading a project to survey the diversity of these fungi across Canada and beyond, aiming to establish an atlas system to evaluate their host specificity towards a precise biocontrol method that is friendly to non-targeted organisms and the environment. The first version of the online system, which showcases the diversity of these fungi, has been published and is now fully accessible to the public Database 1, Database 2.

In the increasingly interlinked world, preserving biodiversity is not just about saving species from extinction, more importantly, it's about protecting the delicate balance of life on Earth and the multitude of unidentified organisms. Healthy and sustainable ecosystems depend on this balance, where fungi play a variety of roles through their associations with other organisms. As we celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity, it is imperative to recognize the crucial roles fungi play in our ecosystems and their potential in mitigating disease transmission. By ensuring their conservation, we can protect these vital resources for generations to come.

“More Than the Sum of Its Parts” Five UofT Researchers Join SDGs Scholars Academy 

By Heidi Singer 

Five scholars from diverse fields across the University of Toronto will be the first to join a think tank focussed on “convergence research” to study the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).   

On April 16, they became Fellows in the SDGs Scholars Academy. The Academy is part of SDGs@UofT. This Institutional Strategic Initiative brings together faculty, students and staff whose research interests are focused on the intersections of the 17 goals that serve as a blueprint for peace and prosperity. 

Prof. Simon Darnell studies the SDGs through the lens of athletics, asking how sport can help to advance development and peace. Over the years, he has come to realize that working exclusively within one field limits his ability to develop policy frameworks for advancing the SDGs through sport -- and making sport more sustainable. He hopes to collaborate with sustainability experts from fields such as Environmental Sciences or Information Technology.  

“Convergence research to me means research that is greater than the sum of its parts,” says Darnell, who is Director of the Centre for Sport Policy Studies in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. “The SDGs and the sustainability issues facing humanity are so complex and also synthetic that it’s nearly impossible for any one person or discipline to make a serious incursion.” 

“Connecting Darnell with researchers from different corners of the University to create novel frameworks is exactly the vision,” says Prof. Erica Di Ruggiero, a global health expert who serves as research director of SDGs@UofT.  

“The world’s most wicked problems aren’t going to be solved by people working alone on one or two goals within one or two disciplines,” adds Di Ruggiero, who directs the Centre for Global Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. “When you bring together a diversity of experts with deep discipline knowledge, suddenly you can go broad – addressing four or five of the SDGs at once and learning so much from this nexus.”   

Di Ruggiero points out that not every academic researcher is committed to advancing the current SDGs. Most experts now agree that countries will not meet the 2030 deadline for achieving the targets, which means there is room to improve upon the first set of goals in the next iteration.  

Among those Fellows looking toward the future is Prof. Elizabeth Buckner, who studies how global trends affect higher education policies and practices.  

“I’m hoping to advance conversations on the SDGs that don’t accept the 17 goals as a static framework or one that is set in stone – but rather ones that also critique the agenda and push it forward,” says Buckner, an OISE faculty member and Canada Research Chair in Higher Education for Sustainable Global Development. “I think one of our jobs as academics is to think about in what ways the SDGs both advance global development and also may limit other possibilities.” 

Buckner was drawn to the Scholars Academy out of a desire to translate academic knowledge into practical change. Coming from a multi-disciplinary field such as education, she has seen that individual disciplines are effective at advancing particular theories and methods. “But when we actually want to explain multi-faceted and real-world phenomena, we often find that multiple disciplines and perspectives are needed,” she says.  

The Scholars Academy is necessary, Buckner says, because convergence doesn’t happen organically in academia.  

“The way professors are trained in graduate schools, the way we are incentivized in our careers, and the way we are judged by our peers inside and outside the academy all emphasize niche specialization,” she says. “Scholars in two different faculties may be studying the exact same topic from two different disciplinary perspectives, and have no incentive or reason to read each other’s work – much less collaborate.” 

Prof. Matt Ratto’s interest in barrier-breaking research developed during years of fieldwork helping to create medical prosthetics in countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, and Cambodia. Although his mission was highly technical – providing software and hardware for the digital fabrication of orthotics such as limbs – Ratto came to realize that social, cultural, and environmental contexts were critical to the project’s success.  

“SDGs in their intersectionality provide a lens for thinking through productive social change, not simply as ‘technical’ or ‘policy’ intervention, but from a more holistic lens,” says Ratto, the associate dean of research at the Faculty of Information (iSchool).   

“The launch of the SDGs Scholars Academy reaffirms our commitment to advancing sustainable development and addressing global challenges”, says Prof. Linda Johnston, acting vice-president and principal of U of T Scarborough. “This initiative aligns closely with our strategic priorities, emphasizing convergence and research excellence. The Academy will play a crucial role in fostering innovative solutions and expanding the horizons of knowledge. We are proud to support this endeavour and we look forward to the meaningful contributions our scholars will make in shaping a more sustainable future for all.” 

The Academy is guided by four objectives: 

The first cohort of members also features Asst. Prof. Kaja Jasinska, a developmental cognitive neuroscientist focussing on childhood literacy in OISE’s Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development.  

“There are fantastic scholars at U of T whose research on the SDGs leverage different disciplinary perspectives and methods,” says Jasinska. “Joining the Scholars Academy means we can pool our ideas and approaches in a way that isn’t possible in disciplinary silos.”  

And it includes Prof. Laura Tozer from U of T Scarborough’s Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences. Tozer’s research seeks to understand how to accelerate action to address the climate crisis by transitioning to renewable energy.  

“Solving the sustainability challenges that we face requires that we not only work across disciplines, but that we take community based and policy-engaged approaches,” says Tozer, who has interdisciplinary training in environmental science, geography and environmental studies. “We have to think about ecosystems and poverty and justice alongside climate action or we won’t really solve anything. And we have to be trying to make the change while we study the change.” 

Tozer, like other Fellows, was chosen for her demonstrated interest in facilitating convergence research. But there are other ways to get involved with SDGs@UofT. Anyone at the University can apply to become an Affiliate or a member of the Student Advisory Committee.  

SDGs@UofT Appoints First Scholars Academy Fellows 

I’m pleased to announce the first group of Fellows appointed April 16 to the Scholars Academy of SDGs@UofT. This tri-campus Institutional Strategic Initiative supports faculty, students and staff working on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

The Scholars Academy is a think tank within SDGs@UofT that brings together leading researchers, encouraging them to pursue convergence research and knowledge mobilization to address issues critical to achieving the SDGs – the world’s blueprint for peace and prosperity. 

The five Fellows, drawn from across U of T, were chosen for the depth and breadth of their research and their interest in engaging in open and transparent dialogue about the SDGs.  


Prof. Erica Di Ruggiero 
Research Director, SDGs@UofT 

The Fellows: 

Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Buckner,
Canada Research Chair in Higher Education for Sustainable Global Development, OISE 
Prof. Buckner’s research examines how global trends affect higher education policies, institutional practices, and students’ lives. 

Assoc. Prof. Simon Darnell,
Sport for Development and Peace, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education.
Among Prof. Darnell’s research interests: the sociology of sport and physical activity; international development and ‘sport for development and peace;’ social movements and activism in sport.

Asst. Prof. Kaja Jasińska 
Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development, OISE 
Prof. Jasińska is a developmental cognitive neuroscientist who focuses on how children learn to read and how to best support their literacy journey. 

Prof. Matt Ratto 
Associate Dean of Research, Faculty of Information  Prof. Ratto’s research focuses on how theories and perspectives from technoscience research can usefully extend and contextualize design and engineering practice, particularly regarding new models of care. 

Asst. Prof. Laura Tozer 
Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences, UTSC  Prof. Tozer’s research tries to understand how we can accelerate action to address the climate crisis. She studies the policies and politics that can help us stop using fossil fuels and equitably transition to renewable energy. 

All U of T faculty members, students and staff members are welcome to join SDGs@UofT as affiliates or apply to become Fellows. Learn more.  

SDGs@UofT Partners with Professor Heidi Craig: Promoting Ethical Solutions for Earth Day

In our steadfast commitment to sustainability and ethical practices, at the Sustainable Development Goals initiative in the University of Toronto (SDG@UofT), we actively collaborate with partners to develop innovative solutions for a better world. Today, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to Professor Heidi Craig for graciously featuring our initiative on CP24's Earth Day segment. This recognition underscores our collective efforts to promote sustainability and drive positive change in our communities. Together, we continue to work towards a brighter, more sustainable future. Follow us for more updates and join us in our mission for a greener planet! #SDGsUofT #EarthDay #Sustainability #Collaboration.

“An Antidote to Despair”

U of T Researchers Connect Through SDGs@UofT
By Heidi Singer

It was while reading an obscure play from the 17th century that Heidi Craig first became interested in rag pickers. The work was unusual because it gave voice to marginalized women who played an essential role in papermaking – and thus in spreading the works of Shakespeare and Milton.

Craig, herself a Shakespeare scholar, began to see connections between this undervalued group and today’s e-waste workers in poor countries – people who pick through the discarded laptops, printers and other by-products of modern literary production.  

It’s a profound sign of the times that an English professor engrossed in the 16th and 17th centuries now also deploys her storytelling expertise to advance health, climate and labor justice.  And Craig is able to connect with a huge range of experts from across U of T as a member of SDGs@UofT -- the University’s fledgling hub for the study of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On this Earth Day, Craig wonders, if a Shakespeare scholar sees a role for herself in today’s global movement for peace and prosperity, is it a stretch to believe that every faculty member, every student, every researcher at U of T has a similar role to play?

“In order to live in this world, we need to turn things around -- and rapidly,” says Craig. “Being part of this wider initiative with like-minded people is an antidote to despair. It provides not only hope, but the promise of action, which is what we truly need.”

How to Galvanize a Planet

The 193 member countries of the United Nations ratified the 17 SDGs in 2015. Each of the goals – such as no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality, climate action – make up a sort of global blueprint for peace and prosperity. They represent a path through the wilderness of burning forests, flooded cities, widening inequality; a vision that the world’s wickedest problems didn’t arise in a vacuum, and won’t be solved individually.  The SDGs invite people to think about oceans, land, peace, education, consumption, production, health and wellbeing as being deeply interrelated, and to use every bit of the globe’s expertise and experience to improve them together.

And to galvanize the world, the UN set a deadline of 2030.

Today, nobody seriously thinks that deadline will be met. Whether this first set of goals was ever realistic has been debated for a decade, but then came a staggering pandemic. And even if COVID had never happened, it turns out to be very difficult to do things differently.

Part of the problem that first time around was that universities were not given a seat at the table, says Prof. Joseph Wong, U of T’s Vice President, International. And universities can seed real change.

“The SDGs require innovative solutions, and universities are where cutting-edge innovations are discovered,” says Wong. “Artificial intelligence and machine learning were born out of the university setting. COVID vaccines were discovered in university labs. Gendered analysis and cultural context – both critical for the SDGs – happen here. We push the knowledge envelope and contribute to evidence-based policy, so the world has the supporting data for its decisions.”

Wong is one of many U of T leaders determined that universities will be part of the next set of goals.

The idea to form an Institutional Strategic Initiative (ISI) around the SDGs was birthed from a “17 Zoom Rooms” event that was hosted at the University in 2020.  Prof. Erica Di Ruggiero, the ISI’s research director, and its associate director, Dr. Nicoda Foster, developed much of the ISI’s vision through extensive consultations and their shared passion for the SDGs and interdisciplinary, intersectional approach to global health.

“The SDGs tackle problems that can never be solved by one sector or one discipline alone,” says Di Ruggiero. “Many researchers see themselves working on one or two of them, but we can be that nexus at the University showing how to work on four or five together.”

Di Ruggiero offers food as an example. For researchers working on food security, goal #2 (no hunger) would likely be the most important. But food security is also connected to climate change, labor equality, access to clean water, land stewardship, and more.

“Everyone relates to food, but it’s also a topic that connects to housing, mental health, to communities,” she says. “What is the connection between food deserts and chronic disease or early childhood development issues? And there’s a link between food and gender when we consider that women often make food decisions in households.”

When they began setting up SDGs@UofT, Foster recalls that she and Di Ruggiero encountered disbelief among faculty that they could address all 17 of the goals. They created a research agenda with four thematic areas:

The themes are a way to catalyze research that transcends disciplines --  to encourage research teams from diverse fields to integrate their research and shift paradigms in thinking about solving wicked problems.

Reaching Across Silos

 Prof. Nidhi Subramanyam, another member of SDGs@UofT, works with engineers to understand why different parts of cities have more access to water than others.

“As a social scientist, I have theories that people with more political power get more water,” says Subramanyam, of the Department of Geography and Planning. “But working with an engineer, I might find that a pipe is not the right size in a certain place – and that’s something we can fix.

“That’s the kind of dialogue which encourages you to question your assumptions and not get caught up in a certain way of thinking,” she adds. “But I also help the engineers to understand that that water may not be flowing in another place because of politics.”

In addition to engineers, Subramanyam is excited about meeting scholars like Craig, the English professor, through their mutual involvement in SDGs@UofT.

“There are a lot of humanities scholars who are so creative in telling stories, interpreting human action, or in translating research to a lay audience -- people who could then be moved by some of the more hard-core science or social science work we might be doing,” she says. “It would be great to have them on the team.”

Foster and Di Ruggiero are well aware that at a massive university like U of T, faculty members are often hungry for connections outside their departments. The SDGs@UofT initiative is about breaking down the siloes at a massive university like U of T. It’s no wonder that faculty members are hungry for connections.

That promise is a major draw for Prof. Robert Schertzer, a political scientist who studies the use of nationalism on both the left and right in discourse around climate change.

“Even our own departments are sometimes too big for collaboration with your own colleagues without something to bring you together,” he says. “So to collaborate across divisions is impossible without some kind of catalyst to say, ‘here’s some money; here’s a forum; here are events. Why don’t you come together and create a community?’”

Schertzer analyzes the effectiveness of environmental messaging within countries. He is able to help researchers in other fields to understand how policy decisions are made – why, for example, the climate debate and different policy solutions have become so politicized and polarized. He is particularly eager to collaborate with environmental scientists, sociologists, and media experts in his SDG research.

Schertzer recalls that during his graduate work at the London School of Economics, its then-director was fond of saying that the faculty dining room was the school’s greatest invention.

“He said it’s because faculty and grad students would come together over dinner and actually talk. And we don’t do that anymore,” says Schertzer. “The way in which we work and collaborate is different today. We read each other’s work and say, ‘Oh, that’s interesting.’  But initiatives like SDGs@UofT serve as that common dining room where we can all come together. And that’s the way true interdisciplinary insight happens.”

Students Encouraged to Participate

Students, too, have a very large role to play in the SDGs, say Foster and Di Ruggiero. All U of T students are encouraged to get involved through SDGs@UofT’s Student Advisory Committee. One recent member, Sherry-Ann Ram, is exploring sustainability in engineering education and how to motivate engineers to think more about sustainably in their practice. She considered the SDGs when developing a framework to help assess engineering education; and considers sustainability from a broader perspective.

“In traditional engineering, there’s a lot of focus on efficiency and cost,” says Ram, who once worked as an engineer in the oil and gas industry. “We really need to broaden our minds. How do our inventions affect society and culture? How do we work with people in other fields? The SDGs can help engineers to think deeply about their own experiences and biases, to expand their thinking.”

To help Ram and others involved in SDGs at U of T, Di Ruggiero and Foster have set up a Scholars Academy, a think tank with objectives in research acceleration, trainee empowerment, public engagement, and knowledge mobilization to maximize impact. The Academy is open to any U of T faculty member, student or staff member with an interest in the mandate of SDGs@UofT.

As Heidi Craig sees it, we live in the new age of the Anthropocene – thanks to climate change, the wall between human history and natural history has been breached. So, it’s only right that the walls of academia, of disciplines, and of knowledge, should also come down.

“While humans previously saw themselves as separate from natural history, we now recognize ourselves as geological agents who are transforming the most fundamental processes of the planet, such as the chemistry of the atmosphere and the acidity of the oceans,” she says. “As a result, everything that we once took for granted in terms of scholarly boundaries no longer holds: those walls have been breached. This creates opportunities to find new solutions.

“I believe in serendipity: once you meet new people and have new conversations, you learn things that you would not have expected – things that can change your research, transform your life, and build lasting connections.

“That’s why I think everyone has something to contribute to these Sustainable Development Goals. No matter if you’re a social scientist or a humanist or a natural scientist, it depends on us.”

Learn more about SDGs@UofT and how you can get involved as a faculty member, student or staff member.

Beyond the Present: Achieving Climate Action for Earth through a Historical Lens

As we approach International Mother Earth Day, following yet another year of world-record temperatures, there is no better time to consider humanity’s relationship to the world we live in.  Recent years have seen a seemingly never-ending series of climate-related disasters, dramatically illustrating the consequences of climate change. These emergencies are of increasing humanitarian concern, and significantly impede progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, increasing global inequality and food insecurity, and exacerbating existing conflicts.

To achieve meaningful climate action, we must accept that global responses are not necessarily driven by scientific principles, but rather are mediated through individual beliefs and world views, and through local, national and global economics and politics. And this is not new—the details and the scale of our highly globalized modern situation may be unique, but humans have been responding to and impacting their environment since their earliest origins. Both perception and response to environmental change are inherently social phenomena that are shaped as much by culture and society as by the physical environment.

Archaeology provides context to the current crisis and illuminates the ways in which political systems, social structures, economic choices and ideology have long shaped human interactions with the environment, and how different responses can benefit (or disadvantage) various groups in society. Archaeological sites and landscapes are data repositories about ancient climates and how past societies shaped—and were shaped by—the natural resources around them. They are also an asset for developing mitigation strategies, providing critical deep-time perspectives on sustainable climate change responses by using past practices to inform future strategies. Similarly, intangible heritage represents a significant repository of traditional knowledge about local adaptation strategies.

But somehow, when we see stories in the media that discuss the impacts of climate change in the past, they focus only on describing episodes of catastrophic collapse. These stories feed into our own deep anxieties about the fate of our planet in the face of modern climate change, even though human history has much more to offer to this discussion than these stories do justice to.

Good examples come from studies of ancient food production; estimates suggest that roughly 15% of current warming levels can be attributed to greenhouse gas emissions directly related to food production, and research consistently demonstrates that human land use has a substantial impact on global climate. Examples of traditional agricultural practices from across the globe demonstrate that they provide not just sustainable models, but also lessons for improving food security.

The IPCC’s reports have been criticized in the past for the bias in their focus towards the natural sciences and positivist social sciences, such as economics, and their lack of substantial engagement with social sciences and humanities discourses, or with varied global views of climate change, particularly in the areas of archaeological evidence and traditional knowledge. Despite growing recognition of the importance of indigenous and local knowledge to mitigate climate change in some IPCC reports, the most recent AR6 synthesis report has yet to substantially engage with archaeological research, or with the ways in which traditional knowledge or historical lifeways can inform future mitigation strategies.

Climate change is a prime example of a situation in which disciplinary specialists keep talking past one another, so that we struggle to formulate feasible and impactful responses to one of the most pressing existential issues humanity has ever faced. Climate change mitigation may be the greatest challenge to confront us, and as scholars, it is our duty to create a common language and understanding, across disciplines and beyond academia, that allows people from varied horizons to work toward a more sustainable future.

Exciting Work Study Opportunities with the Committee on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability (CECCS) at The University of Toronto

CECCS are hiring Work-Study Students for the summer! There are two vacancies for Sustainability Administrative Assistants, as well as two Research Assistant opportunities: one will lead the Course Inventory Automation Project (this opportunity is for @UofTCompSci students!) and the other is to support Teaching & Learning and Research.

Check out the full postings on CLNx by searching the following Job IDs:

Please ensure prompt submission of your application. CECCS plans to onboard students for the roles by May 6th. Therefore, reviewing of applications and conducting interviews will be done on a rolling basis, ahead of the May 3rd application deadline


Applications are now open to join the Summer Institute: “Inclusive economies for a Just and Sustainable planet”

Transitioning towards a more just and sustainable planet requires new ways of thinking and doing research on economics and economic development policy. The Summer lnstitute in Inclusive Economies for a Just and Sustainable Planet will provide a space to advance interdisciplinary and policy-relevant research that supports more inclusive, equitable and sustainable economic systems.

The Summer lnstitute is a four-day program that will bring together 42 participants from the Global North and South to discuss new ways of thinking in economics and economic development policy. There will be in-depth presentations and discussions structured around the tour following topics:

  1. Architecture and Inequality: Repurposing Housing, Infrastructure and Cities for Economic Inclusion.
  2. Nurturing the Commons Place-based and Solidarity Approaches for a Just Planet.
  3. Measuring inequality Economic Exclusion as a social determinant of health.
  4. Feminist Approaches to Economics and the Care Economy.

The final day will provide an opportunity for participants to reflect on connections between the tapies discussed and to explore potential of collaborations in the future. By fostering dialogue and collaboration across disciplines and types of participants, we hope to contribute to the advancement of research and policy knowledge towards building more inclusive and sustainable economies worldwide.

The Summer lnstitute is co-organized by the TREES (Teaching and Researching Equitable Economics from the South) initiative at University of the Andes and the lnstitute for Inclusive Economies and Sustainable Livelihoods at the University of Toronto, with the support of the Center for Global Social Policy's Care Economy in Context Global Partnership research project (University of Toronto) and the Sustainable Development Goals lnstitutional Strategic lnitiative (University of Toronto).

Who should apply?

The program is interdisciplinary, welcoming early career academics (assistant professors, postdocs, advanced Ph.D. students) from across the social sciences, as well as intellectually engaged practitioners from government, civil society, and industry interested in innovative thinking and policies to promote including economies. For practitioners, we define “early career” as encompassing policymakers or professionals within the initial five years of their careers. Additionally, individuals transitioning from different professional backgrounds into the realm of inclusive economies will also be considered for participation in the institute.

While we will give priority to individuals based in the Americas (North, Central, South America and the Caribbean), participants from other parts of the world are encouraged to apply. The Summer lnstitute will be conducted in English and Spanish (you will need to be fluent in one of those languages ​​to participate .

Why should you apply?

This summer school offers a unique opportunity for learning at no cost to admitted participants, covering tuition, travel and accommodation in Bogota. The Summer lnstitute in Inclusive Economies for a Just and Sustainable Planet will provide a space to:

Organizing committee and invited participants

University of the Andes Faculty

University of Toronto Faculty

Invited Senior Practitioners

Catch-up on the Transdisciplinary Knowledge Co-Production (TDCP) Webinar featuring Prof. John Robinson here

Engaged scholarship that involves partnership with non-academic stakeholders and addresses real world and complex challenges of sustainability and climate change requires a different approach to building knowledge and facilitating action. The Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability (CECCS), in partnership with the SDGs@UofT Institutional Strategic Initiative (ISI) present this webinar for early-career researchers, post-doctoral fellows, masters and PhD students at the University of Toronto to learn more about the concept of TDCP research.

Missed out on the information webinar hosted by SDGs@UofT ? You can catch-up here!

The virtual information session held on January 23, 2024, from 10:00-11:00 and provided an overview of the SDGs@UofT Institutional Strategic Initiative. Key topics covered during the session included:

  1. The SDGs Scholar’s Academy: A platform facilitating dialogue among leading researchers on sustainable development.
  2. Research Programs: Opportunities for students and research leaders to engage in diverse perspectives on sustainable development research.
  3. Grants: Introduction to Catalyst and Synthesis Grants aimed at supporting interdisciplinary research and fostering new knowledge creation aligned with sustainability goals.
  4. Trainee Programs: Initiatives to equip trainees across career stages with knowledge and tools for SDG-related actions, promoting positive social change.
  5. Q&A Session: Opportunity to interact with experts and seek clarification on funding opportunities or specific inquiries.

Attendees had the chance to gain insights into various aspects of the SDGs@UofT initiative and engage directly with experts to address their queries or seek advice on funding and research opportunities.