Welcome to the Institute of the Environment at the University of Ottawa.

Transforming to an environmentally sustainable society is one of the greatest challenges facing our planet. Making this transformation will require substantial changes in all sectors of our society, our institutions and their governance, our economic and social policies and how we use knowledge and technology to address environmental issues.

The cross-cutting nature of environmental problems means that there is a critical need for innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and research. The Institute of the Environment is well positioned to bring together different academic fields and a range of stakeholders, all of which play a vital role in understanding environmental problems and developing solutions.

The Institute of the Environment has built a national profile, through its research and policy think tank, the Smart Prosperity Institute (formerly Sustainable Prosperity), in the environment-economy sphere. The Smart Prosperity Institute delivers world-class research and work with public and private partners – all to advance practical policies and market solutions for a stronger, cleaner economy. Since 2014, the Institute of the Environment is home to a new graduate program in environmental sustainability, offering a Master's of Science with strong foundations in science, law, economics and policy.

The Institute of the Environment also foster interdisciplinary research and dialogue, through collaborative initiatives, attracting visiting scholars and experts, and sponsoring conferences and seminars at the University and with partners in the National Capital and across the country.

Who we are

The Institute of the Environment (IE) was founded in 1999 at the University of Ottawa with an interdisciplinary mandate. Not located in any one faculty, we foster interdisciplinary research and dialogue through collaborative initiatives, engaging professors from throughout the University, attracting visiting scholars and experts, conducting public outreach and sponsoring conferences and seminars at the University and with partners in the National Capital Region and across the country. We have both a research unit and academic programs. 

Smart Prosperity Institute

The Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI), formerly Sustainable Prosperity, is a national research network and policy think tank based at our institute. It brings together leaders in business, policy and academics to further innovative ideas that inform policy development. The SPI delivers world-class research, while working with public and private partners to advance practical policies and market solutions for a stronger, cleaner economy. It is home to the Clean Innovation campaign, the Canada’s Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy initiative, the Building the Circular Economy initiative and other initiatives.  

Graduate studies

In 2012, we launched its first academic initiative through the creation of the Collaborative Specialization in Environmental Sustainability. This option allows admitted students in 12 partner programs the possibility to obtain the mention ‘Specialization in Environmental Sustainability’ on their diploma and transcript. We recognize that the key to solving today’s sustainability challenges is by supporting students, scholars and professionals who come from all backgrounds. The specialization is comprised of one mandatory course, EVD 5100 seminar in environmental sustainability, and one optional course.

In 2014, the IE created the very successful stand-alone Masters of Science in Environmental Sustainability program. The Master's in Environmental Sustainability trains students to be among the professionals and scholars who will lead us through the transformation to environmental sustainability. It does so by promoting learning in an integrated manner that more closely reflects reality than traditional, disciplinary approaches. This program offers two streams, the two-year thesis option or one-year major research paper option. Both of these streams can also be combined with the very popular CO-OP option. The program stays true to its interdisciplinary commitment by incorporating foundational courses environmental science, law, policy and economics in the first semester, as well as the choice of an optional course in the winter term. 

Students in the program can choose a supervisor from who are affiliated with the IE across campus, allowing them to engage in research and projects from a very wide variety of topics. Students are well supported by a team of dedicated staff, access to all university services, and generous scholarships and bursaries. 

The IE supports students’ learning and success by:

  • Developing and hosting workshops, conferences and lectures as well as offering career developmental resources
  • Creating opportunities for students to engage with professors and fellow students from a range of faculties in a bilingual milieu
  • Tapping into experts and decision-makers from government, industry and NGOs in the National Capital Region, across Canada and internationally
  • Offering a gateway to academic, student and community-based environmental sustainability initiatives. 

Contact us

Institute of the Environment

University of Ottawa
120 University (6005)
Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5

[email protected]