Waterloo’s climate centre welcomes Sarah Burch as executive director

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Waterloo’s Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) is pleased to welcome Dr. Sarah Burch, leading climate change and sustainability researcher, as the new executive director. Burch holds a Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Governance and Innovation and is an associate professor in the department of Geography and Environmental Management in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo.

“I’m honoured and excited to step into this role with IC3” says Burch. “This is an important time for innovative climate change research and education, and the University of Waterloo is uniquely equipped to impact Canada’s progress towards a resilient, inclusive, and low-carbon future.”

Sarah Burch in red shirt
Dr. Sarah Burch, Canada Research Chair and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) author, appointed executive director of the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3).

An expert in climate change governance and sustainability transitions in communities, Burch brings a wealth of experience and leadership to her role as executive director. Her vision for the centre will advance the climate change agenda for the university, drive climate change research and education across campus, and expand opportunities for IC3 as a leading university climate centre.

“The Office of Research is delighted to welcome Dr. Sarah Burch as executive director of IC3” says Charmaine Dean, V.P., Office of Research. “Sarah is a highly-respected member of the Waterloo community, and brings vast experience and international leadership to IC3. Her contributions will build on the strong history of climate change research and education at the University of Waterloo, and will help us meet our ambitious institutional goals to advance climate research for global impact.”   

Burch’s research explores transformative responses to climate change at the community scale, innovative strategies for making progress on sustainability, and the unique contributions that small businesses can make to this solving this complex challenge. She leads the international partnership-based research project TRANSFORM: Accelerating sustainability entrepreneurship experiments in local spaces, and is the Director of the Sustainability Policy Research on Urban Transformations (SPROUT) Lab.

Burch holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia, and held a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute. She is currently a Lead Author of the Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007). She was named one of Canada’s Clean50TM sustainability leaders in 2021, elected to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars in 2017 and was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40TM in 2018. Her most recent book is entitled ‘Understanding Climate Change: Science, Policy and Practice,’ and she has taught the first Massive Open Online Course on climate change, which reached thousands of students in over 130 countries.

IC3 is the focal point for climate change research, training and knowledge mobilization at the University of Waterloo. IC3 facilitates interdisciplinary research and education that empowers business, government and civil society to respond effectively to climate change and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient society.