Call for Steering Committee Applications – Sustainable Development Goals at the University of Toronto

From: Christine Allen, Associate Vice-President & Vice-Provost, Strategic Initiatives
Joe Wong, Interim Vice-President, International
Date: February 2, 2021
Re: Call for Steering Committee Applications – Sustainable Development Goals at the University of Toronto  

The Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet. At its core are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that cover a wide range of complex challenges and serve as an agenda for a better and more sustainable future for all. Education and research are important contributors to the SDGs and universities have a direct role in addressing these. In addition, for the SDGs to be truly successful on a global scale, universities need to explicitly champion sustainable development and play a leading role in the implementation of the SDGs.

In December 2020, two Institutional Strategic Initiatives virtual workshops brought together U of T faculty, graduate students and trainees from a range of disciplines to identify the practical steps and actions the University can take to advance progress on each of the SDGs. Over 120 workshop participants from all three campuses and over 25 disciplines actively participated. Based on the engagement and enthusiasm received, we are eager to move forward a proposal for an Institutional Strategic Initiative (ISI) for the University. The aim is to build on existing research initiatives, form new interdisciplinary and global partnerships, and produce a map for advancing the UN SDGs at U of T.

To initiate a thoughtful and inclusive planning process, we are calling for applications for the Sustainable Development Goals Steering Committee. This steering committee will engage with key stakeholders through a series of focused advisory groups, working in partnership with a Student Advisory Committee. The Steering Committee will facilitate an inclusive consultation process with various stakeholders (including students, post-doctoral fellows, administrators and staff, and faculty at all career stages) to define the formal vision of an interdisciplinary research and education network to advance the SDGs at the University of Toronto. This steering committee will work to achieve the following:

  • Define the formal vision of the interdisciplinary research and education network to advance the SDGs at the University of Toronto
  • Develop relationships and secure broad support (including funding) from external partners and all three U of T campuses
  • Report regularly to the University leadership
  • Submit a proposal for ISI funds by the end of September 2021

This Call for Applications seeks six to eight faculty members, with representation from each of the three U of T campuses, who are experts in SDGs to join this Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will oversee an inclusive process, engaging with students and other key stakeholders, to develop the research direction and objectives for the initiative. Based on feedback from community consultations, the Steering Committee will develop and submit a proposal for an Institutional Strategic Initiatives (ISI) award to fund a new initiative on Sustainable Development Goals at the University.


Committee Members are responsible for participating in all Steering Committee meetings, reviewing all documents shared with the Steering Committee, and co-writing the full proposal. Members may expect to spend a minimum of two to three hours a month in addition to monthly Steering Committee meetings on related activities, including reviewing and approving key documents.

The Steering Committee will liaise with Christine Allen, Associate Vice-President and Vice-Provost, Strategic Initiatives and with Joseph Wong, Interim Vice President, International.

Eligibility Requirements

Steering Committee members are faculty members who demonstrate a track record of research, scholarly, educational, and/or professional expertise in the sustainable development goals.  

Submission Deadline

Applications may be submitted via online form by Monday, February 22, 2021

Note: There will be engagement opportunities throughout the course of this project for individuals who are not selected to serve on the Steering Committee