Join our global, multidisciplinary team!

FUNDED Graduate studies opportunities in sustainability entrepreneurship and urban transformations at the University of Waterloo

We are seeking one PhD student and one Master’s student, starting in September 2022 or January 2023, to join the Sustainability Policy Research on Urban Transformations (SPROUT) lab in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management (GEM). These students will be funded through a combination of scholarships, research assistantships, and possibly teaching assistantships and will be part of an international team that explores urban sustainability transitions and the transformative potential of small businesses.

Housed in the SPROUT Lab, TRANSFORM explores the role of small businesses in triggering and accelerating sustainability transitions in a range of countries, including Canada, the United States, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Australia. We are investigating the potential for low-carbon technological and social experiments to scale up, influencing the behaviour of other businesses, sectors, and communities. There is some flexibility within this mandate. However, the new PhD and Masters students would pursue their Master’s or Doctoral degree in GEM, designing their thesis or dissertation to specifically support the small business capacity building and business experimentation work packages of TRANSFORM. This is a truly exciting position to join a global multidisciplinary consortia, aiming at accelerating sustainability across multi-industry businesses.

The SPROUT Lab, led by Dr. Sarah Burch (Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Governance and Innovation and IC3 Executive Director) is an energetic, interdisciplinary team with a passion for tackling complex social and environmental issues using rigorous qualitative and quantitative methods.  Fantastic opportunities exist within this group for peer mentoring, professional growth, conference attendance, publications and collaborative learning.

Students interested in these positions should possess experience and skills (appropriate to their level) in at least one of the following areas:

·       Environmental governance

·       Entrepreneurship and innovation

·       Sustainability science

·       Urban climate change responses

·       Sustainability transitions and experiments

·       Business strategy and organizational behavior


For more information, please contact Dr. Sarah Burch (

Potential students are encouraged to send the following materials to Dr. Burch by February 18, 2022.  

·       A letter of interest outlining your research interests and experience

·       Curriculum vitae / Resume

·       Transcript or unofficial list of grades from highest degree obtained

Please note that students must also independently apply to, and be accepted by, their graduate program of choice at the University of Waterloo

For more information:

·       University of Waterloo:

·       UW Faculty of Environment:

·       The SPROUT

·       Geography and Environmental Management graduate programs


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