McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Climate Change and Health Innovation Award set up at McMaster

By Tina Depko, Health Sciences
Published: September 14, 2017
Erin Sinclair, Tyler Marr and Angela Xie

McMaster students, left to right, Erin Sinclair, Tyler Marr and Angela Xie were part of a team that worked with the City of Hamilton and SoBi Hamilton in fall 2016 to improve on-campus bike share as their project for a third-year sustainability course. Photo by Midhat Malik

A unique student award has been established at McMaster University to recognize innovative solutions to complex sustainability challenges.

The Climate Change and Health Innovation Award was created through a contribution from two anonymous alumni of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. Their $15,000 gift will be divided into $5,000 awards, one per year for the next three years.

"Climate change is possibly the greatest public health challenge of our time," said one of the donors. "Students at McMaster are working on solutions to mitigate this problem. We wanted McMaster, renowned for innovation and problem-based learning, to have a means of rewarding these students."

The award is open to any group of two or more students from different Faculties who have completed an experiential learning project as part of their participation in a program offered through McMaster's Academic Sustainability Programs (ASP).  The ASP office focuses on providing opportunities for students to work in interdisciplinary teams to tackle real-world sustainability problems, as well as to develop and implement solutions.

"We know climate change has a far-reaching impact that affects everything from biodiversity, to the built environment, to social and physical health and wellbeing," said Kate Whalen, senior manager of ASP. "It will take an interdisciplinary approach to find solutions to these complex challenges. This award recognizes students who have worked together to find and implement such solutions and who are making a tangible difference."

There are more than 500 students enrolled in programs offered through ASP.

Project opportunities are proposed by members of the McMaster and broader community who have offered their support for student-led, experiential learning related to sustainability. Among the current project opportunities are designing a mobile greenhouse, developing an active and sustainable travel strategy for high school students, and reducing food waste on campus.

Applicants for the Climate Change and Health Innovation Award must clearly show how their project has had a positive impact on climate change and health through innovation, effective interdisciplinary teamwork and collaboration.

The first award will be handed out in spring 2018. The $5,000 award will be evenly divided among recipients selected by an interdisciplinary committee.

The deadlines for award applications is April 30, 2018 at 11:59 p.m.

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