Postdoctoral Fellowship in Urban Sustainability

Faculty of Arts
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 at the University of Ottawa is seeking an outstanding early-career scholar to join our community of researchers as a postdoctoral fellow in urban sustainability.

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.  

The postdoctoral fellow 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 environmental  change.

The postdoctoral fellow in urban sustainability will pursue their own projects that integrate ideas and scholarship across disciplines. Working with Faculty members who will assume a mentorship role, the fellow will also contribute to coordinating and encouraging collaborative research activities within the Faculty. In addition, the fellow will support teams that use an array of methodologies to examine interdisciplinary research questions. The fellow may be involved in activities that range from project conceptualization and grant writing to knowledge dissemination. 

The following areas of inquiry will drive this research activity (specific elements are illustrative rather than prescriptive): 

  • 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 transportation/mobility solutions; mitigating the effects of urban sprawl
  • Effecting change: sustainability and transition solutions for urban 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 integrated and cohesive action 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. 

Fellowships terms 

  • Amount: $70,000/year in salary. 
  • Eligibility: Recently completed PhD (within the past four years). PhD thesis must be submitted for examination before fellowship can be taken up.
  • Applications are especially encouraged from candidates who pursued their doctoral studies at an institution other than uOttawa. 
  • Duration: Two years (1 September-31 August). 

Fellows will work closely with leading researchers at the University who have overlapping interests and expertise. Guidance and mentorship will focus on developing professional networks, building research teams for collaborative projects, and securing multi-year grants. The fellow is expected to live in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. 

The fellow in urban sustainability will receive practical support comprising:

  • On-campus office space
  • Administrative support
  • Library privileges and support from library research staff
  • Opportunities to present and workshop their research within the uOttawa community
  • Assistance from the Faculty’s senior research advisor in preparing funding applications
  • Coverage through the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP), if applicable. 

To apply, please compile the following documents into a single PDF file and send it to the Faculty of Arts’ Vice-Dean of Research Brian Ray 

  • Cover letter that describes your current research
  • A two-page description of how your research as a postdoctoral fellow in urban sustainability will cover one of the research areas outlined above and what your approach to collaborative research will be 
  • Curriculum vitae
  • A recent publication that illustrates your research field
  • Names and contact information of three references 

The University of Ottawa is a bilingual (French-English) institution. Applicants are encouraged to submit their application in the official language of their choice. We will be accepting applications until January 31, 2024; we will solicit letters of reference only after we have reviewed the applications.