Imre Szeman among top researchers in new international group of experts on behaviour change for addressing social and environmental issues

Thursday, June 18, 2020
Faculty of Arts professor and environmental communication expert Imre Szeman joins group of scientists in launching the International Panel on Behavior Change (IPBC) association, an interdisciplinary, independent and apolitical entity.

Waterloo’s Dr. Imre Szeman is part of a group of top researchers from the humanities and social sciences involved in the International Panel on Behavior Change (IPBC) association. The association, launched at the beginning of June, aims to develop a multidisciplinary scientific behavioural research program that will address current and predicted global societal and environmental crises, including climate change.

The IPBC originated from an initiative launched by the Institute of Environmental Medicine (Paris) and the International Society of Behavioral Medicine. The IPBC, which is comprised of a federation of national societies, emerged out of meetings hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme in Paris (2019 and 2020).

Following the example of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), this group intends to publish in-depth reports presenting multidisciplinary, state of the art behavioural indicators, drivers and obstacles to societal, economic and environmental change and adaptation, as well as punctual reports on specific themes. These documents will be geared towards all actors, from political decision makers to private firms and civil society.

Szeman headshotAn expert in environmental communication, Szeman will lead the amalgamation of relevant studies in communications about climate mitigation. Szeman’s role will support the inclusion of a broader field of scholarship on climate change, looking specifically at the effectiveness of communication strategies on climate change. Szeman is also on the IPBC media committee, responsible for communicating about the IPBC across Canada and the U.S, and sits on the board, where he contributes to the agenda of the organization.

Waterloo’s Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) is the IPBC’s institutional host in Canada. As the IPBC’s research program takes shape over the next several years, researchers and graduate students based at the University of Waterloo will have the opportunity to participate directly in the IPBC’s work. Waterloo’s IC3 is a natural fit for the Canadian chapter, with leading researchers in environmental issues and climate mitigation. With over 90 faculty members from more than 26 academic departments and several external organizations, IC3 supports Waterloo’s top researchers in both the social and natural sciences to respond effectively to climate change.

"Having the IPBC at Waterloo will bring even greater attention to the amazing research on environmental issues produced on our campus. I’m excited by the chance to reach out to colleagues who may be interested in getting involved.” – Imre Szeman, Communication Arts, Faculty of Arts

Over coming weeks, the IPBC will be releasing a series of reports about the behaviour changes generated by the coronavirus pandemic, looking at what lessons might be learned for climate mitigation.

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