Mobility Research Chair in Urban Sustainability

Faculty of Arts
Research affiliations and partnerships
Design of a city landscape
More than half of the world’s population currently lives in cities and that number is expected to double by 2050. Creating sustainable cities is critical to the future of Canada and the world, and our collective response to climate change will be felt and fueled by our urban centres. We need cutting-edge research to help guide progress at all levels of government in order to effect real and tangible change. To that end, the Faculty of Arts has created the Mobility Research Chair in Urban Sustainability to financially support invited researchers during their stay at the University of Ottawa.

Located in the capital of a G7 country, the University of Ottawa is at the doorstep of federal and local governments and has ready access to some of the most influential Canadian institutions. With experts working in both official languages, the University is uniquely positioned to build connections between thought leaders and practitioners and to drive progress by creating and sharing knowledge that will change the way we live.

The bilingual Faculty of Arts prioritizes research and creative activities that contribute to public debate. Our researchers are at the forefront of both fundamental and applied knowledge creation, developing complex understandings of past and present issues of domestic and international significance.

This visiting chairholder will benefit from a stimulating intellectual environment within the context of the Faculty’s Sustainable Cities Initiative. This initiative brings together a critical mass of experts, researchers, and graduate students to engage in collaborative, solution-oriented research that will help cities in Canada and around the world become more sustainable within the context of the environmental change.

Goals of the Mobility Research Chair in Urban Sustainability program

The incumbent chairholder will contribute to meeting the program’s objectives, which are:

  • To uphold and strengthen the Faculty of Arts’ tradition of research excellence in cultures and communities, as well as in environmental sustainability
  • To promote research on urban sustainability
  • To encourage interdisciplinary research on urban sustainability
  • To foster the development and inclusion of researchers (master’s students, doctoral candidates, postdocs, and established professors) whose work focuses on urban sustainability
  • To ensure the internal and external visibility of the Faculty of Arts’ research activities, especially through knowledge mobilization, by working closely with other researchers affiliated with the Sustainable Cities Initiative

Potential fields of research

The following areas of inquiry are illustrative of the types of research work that the Sustainable Cities Initiative seeks to promote; even so, the Initiative is open to other projects that address issues of urban sustainability in the context of environmental change in new and provocative ways. 

  • Technology and livable cities: potential of big data to address environmental and equity issues associated with climate change; digital technology and energy efficiency to reduce CO2 emissions; technology, renewable energy and urban morphology 
  • The natural world: ecological interventions to mitigate the effects of climate change in cities; green infrastructure; urban microclimates; urban green space and biodiversity; nature-based solutions to ensure the health and wellbeing of urban residents
  • People and populations: health effects of extreme heat and extreme weather events on vulnerable populations; urban sustainability in the developing world; urban densification; strategies for socio-environmental justice and change; social inequities and sustainability challenges; community resilience 
  • The built environment: the role of sustainability in planning, development, and redevelopment practices; politics of land use; architecture and urban design; low-carbon building, infrastructure, and mobility solutions; mitigating the effects of urban sprawl
  • Effecting change: sustainability and transition solutions for urban transformation resilience; public policy; development of new concepts, methods and technologies to bring about change; development of models and tools to help guide urban policymakers; innovative pathways to enact meaningful change

Ideal candidates will demonstrate their ideas and capacity for sustaining conversations across conventional disciplinary boundaries. We especially value scholarship that poses new questions and methodologies, engages with communities, and connects to audiences inside and outside academia. 


  • When considering nominations for the Mobility Research Chair in Urban Sustainability, priority will be given to international (out-of-Canada) researchers who are recognized as specialists in urban studies. The program does not impose any restrictions on candidate nationality or country of residence. Professors currently at the University of Ottawa, as well as professors affiliated with universities in the National Capital Region, are not eligible for the Mobility Research Chair in Urban Sustainability. The incumbent will receive assistance from the Faculty of Arts and Human Resources to obtain a Canadian work permit for the duration of their stay.
  • The candidate must hold a full-time position as a professor at a university or at an accredited research institution.  
  • The Mobility Research Chair in Urban Sustainability program does not fund doctoral or post-doctoral candidates. 
  • The selection committee will consider how well the candidate’s proposed research activities at uOttawa would intersect with projects currently being pursued at the University.


Each Mobility Research Chair in Urban Sustainability will receive a grant of up to $3,333 CAD per month for the duration of their stay at the University of Ottawa. The amount will be adjusted based on the duration of the stay. Note that this grant is a taxable benefit under Canadian law.

Submission guidelines

Applications for the Mobility Research Chair in Urban Sustainability must include the following documents: 

  • A detailed description of the nominee’s research interests, their involvement in projects or their research network, and how their research will add to the University of Ottawa’s current research expertise in urban sustainability
  • A description of the activities they have planned for their stay at the University of Ottawa (e.g., research work they intend to initiate or continue, meetings with potential partners, knowledge mobilization activities). We do not recommend that teaching activities be included since the focus of the chair is on research
  • The budget should specify a) the length of stay, including the approximate arrival and departure dates, and b) other funding solicited as part of the nomination that would enhance the research activities planned during the stay
  • A sample of a recent publication that illustrates the researcher’s contribution to the field of urban sustainability 
  • The researcher’s CV  

The University of Ottawa is a bilingual (French-English) institution. Applicants are encouraged to submit their application in the official language of their choice.

The Mobility Research Chair in Urban Sustainability program will not cover education-related expenses (e.g., summer school, recurring seminars, courses) that the invited researcher may wish to pursue during their research stay on campus.

Selection process

The Office of the Vice-Dean, Research of the Faculty of Arts and a selection committee will oversee the selection of researchers for the Mobility Research Chair in Urban Sustainability, based on the following evaluation criteria: 

  • Excellence of nominee’s research (e.g., publications, citations, monographs, research influence, international recognition)
  • Potential to encourage new collaborations (e.g., joint publications, external funding, collaborations with other institutions)
  • Anticipated spinoffs for student learning and research activities
  • Complementarity/synergy between the nominee’s areas of research and those of professors and researchers at the University
  • Alignment of the nominee’s research with the Faculty of Arts’ Multidisciplinary Research Themes;
  • Justification of the proposed dates for the stay on campus  

Requirements related to the stay at the University of Ottawa

  • The duration of the stay must be at least one month but cannot exceed twelve months. The stay may not be divided into two or more visits
  • In addition to pursuing their research, the guest researcher may be invited to give lectures and seminars on issues or problems associated with urban sustainability, through the lens of different intellectual traditions and disciplines, as applicable 
  • The chairholder will be affiliated with the Faculty of Arts. They will have space to work and will receive the logistical support they need to conduct their research at the University of Ottawa
  • The guest researcher will be expected to play a major intellectual role within the Sustainable Cities Initiative by paving the way for new fields of study and strengthening research networks. The Initiative aims to see the guest researcher become an on-going collaborator as the Initiative develops;
  • The chairholder of the Mobility Research Chair in Urban Sustainability cannot be re-nominated within three years of the end of their stay;
  • The chairholder of the Mobility Research Chair in Urban Sustainability is expected to produce a three-to-five-page report at the end of their stay.   

Important dates

  • Deadline to submit nominations: February 9, 2024
  • Date of evaluation committee decision: no later than April 15, 2024

Submission of application

Candidates should compile their application documents into a single PDF file and sent it to Faculty of Arts’ Vice-Dean of Research Brian Ray

If you have any questions about the Mobility Research Chair in Urban Sustainability, feel free to send an email to Assia Bounaira.