Our researchers

Mathieu Feagan

Ecological consciousness, different ways of knowing, transdisciplinary capacity building, climate just futures, emancipatory pedagogies.

current highlights: Matt collaborates with numerous international research initiatives while also contributing actively to local social activist and environmental causes. For example, over the past five years in Arizona Matt worked closely with the environmental justice organization Chispa Arizona while also conducting research through the Urban Resilience to Extremes Sustainability Research Network on local and global issues of climate justice. Matt has developed expertise in online learning, co-leading a virtual symposia series on holistic approaches to green infrastructure implementation called Get SETS GI! Matt believes the university is a place for active engagement with social issues and has been a core organizer of teach-ins and provocative panels, such as this one on the Future of Resistance after George Floyd. Matt is a member of the NATURA NETWORK, co-leading the Thematic Working Group on Urban Informality and Innovation for Resilient Futures, and a contributor Future Cities podcast.

Matt is always excited to talk pedagogical strategies for knowledge mobilization and climate justice in the Anthropocene, so please reach out!

Rob Gorbet

Interfaces. Physical interfaces, interfaces between disciplines, interfaces between people. Interface design; interactive artworks; human interaction in collaboration, teaching, and learning.

current highlights: Rob collaborates with a lot of artists and designers to help bring their projects to life and to a living audience. He greatly enjoys co-creating with people from across the disciplines. During his recent sabbatical, Rob delivered a hands-on August workshop for mid-career design professionals at the Domaine de Boisbuchet in the south west of France. He returned to France in November to install a new collaborative sculptural work called Ar Frout Récif, for a private collector in the Brittany region. In between, he helped create a regular podcast on Living Architecture, called Living Dialogs, and ran a remote tech-art workshop for students at Riverview High School in New Brunswick.

John McLevey

Computational social science: social and cultural networks, diffusion, generative models, Bayesian data analysis, agent-based simulation computational text analysis; cultural cognition and affect, cultural learning, social influence, identity theory; public opinion, polarization, and large-scale cultural change; political and environmental sociology.

current highlights: In 2021-22, John's first sole-authored book, Doing Computational Social Science, was published by Sage UK. He also co-authored a book called The Face-to-Face Principle: Science, Trust, Truth, and Democracy, which was published by Cardiff University Press.

Katie Plaisance

Philosophy of science, philosophy of psychology, social epistemology, & interdisciplinary collaboration.

current highlights: Katie recently launched a new research group called “Co-Lab”, designed to study and improve interdisciplinary collaboration. Co-Lab has two main projects on the go. The first looks at the role of psychological safety and epistemic humility in creating inclusive teams and harnessing diverse perspectives. The second project aims to find ways of fostering fruitful collaborations between scientists and philosophers of science. Katie was also elected to the Board of Directors for the International Network of the Science of Team Science (INSciTS).

Vanessa Schweizer

Collective decision-making. This includes many processes such as articulating aspirations and values, exercising foresight, confronting uncertainties and risks, and negotiating tradeoffs.

current highlights: During 2021, Vanessa Schweizer performed numerous online speaking engagements with groups such as the Aspen Global Change Institute and the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in the US related to her work on design thinking, complexity science, and scenario analysis for climate change research. She also completed a project with the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development on baseline scenarios for climate adaptation. As the current director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI), she also worked to renew WICI for another 5-year term into 2026 and to incorporate the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR) as a WICI sub-centre.

KI students are involved in a wide range of research at the undergrad level, for example:

  • Each student does a senior project as part of their BKI degree
  • Ariane Wilson's final paper, “Quantum Bayesianism – Embracing Subjectivity in Science”, which she wrote for a course on The Philosophy of Quantum Theory was awarded the Angus Kerr-Lawson Essay Prize in Philosophy from the University of Waterloo, and appeared in Issue 11 of The Rational Enquirer.
  • Hannah Gardiner, 4th year KI student, presented her paper “Academic Writing and Standard English” at the Scholarship of Undergraduate Literary Studies (SOULS) in March 2019 at Bishop’s University in Quebec. She notes that "As a KI student – and neither an English minor nor major – being asked to present an English essay is not only an honour, it also supports the notion of an interdisciplinary education: that one need not focus their studies exclusively in one discipline to be able to meaningfully contribute as a young scholar."
  • Chloé St. Amand, 4th year KI student, was a Student Moderator at the 2018 Latornell Conservation Symposium, a large, three-day conference/symposium with several hundred attendees from academia, the government, and private sectors. This 2018 theme is "Land to Great Lakes - Relationship Status: It's Complicated". Her experience at the symposium complements her studies in Knowledge Integration and Earth Sciences, specializing in Hydrogeology.
  • Bronwyn McIlroy-Young, BKI'18 presented at the 2018 congress of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS). The congress in Halifax, NS, is an annual meeting of Canadian scientists and other professionals focused on atmospheric, ocean and earth sciences. She was invited by CMOS to present a poster of her KI senior research project on Canadian TV weathercasters and climate change communication.
  • Thomas Huijbregts BKI'15, continued working on his KI senior research project after he graduated, and the paper he wrote about it was accepted for publication at the ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces. His paper is entitled "TalkingTiles: Supporting Personalization and Customization in an AAC App for Individuals with Aphasia", and he travelled to Madeira, Portugal to attend the conference.
  • Bronwyn also presented at the Feminist Epistemologies, Methodology, Metaphysics, and Science Studies (FEMMSS 2016) conference at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. She presented her research on gender diverse people in social epistemology, research which originated in a paper that she wrote for the KI core course INTEG 221: The Social Nature of Knowledge.
  • Georgia Lamarre BKI'16 and Akanksha Madan BKI'16 presented at the Science of Team Science Conference in 2016 in Phoenix. They discussed the research they did with Katie Plaisance (Associate Chair, Knowledge Integration) on a number of projects to improve knowledge, skills and understanding of collaborative practices at the University of Waterloo.
  • Alexandra Olarnyk BKI'15 had her Knowledge Integration senior research project work, "You're Totally on Your Own": Experiences of Food Allergy on a Canadian University Campus, published in the Universal Journal of Public Health.
  • Cynthia McLauchlan BKI’14 presented her KI research project “Does taking a statistics course improve statistical literacy?" at the Statistical Society of Canada annual conference in 2014.
  • Eric Kennedy, BKI’12 presented at the International Conference on the Public Communication of Science and Technology in Florence, Italy in 2012. He shared research connected to his KI senior research project, which investigated the nature of short-term, project-based collaboration between scientists and Indigenous communities in Canada.
  • Kaleigh Eichel, BKI’12 went to the 2012 International Polar Year Conference "From Knowledge to Action" in Montreal, to present her KI senior thesis: "Conveying polar research to the public through audio podcasting." She also attended Congress 2012 of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Waterloo to present her KI senior research project at the Environmental Studies Association of Canada, "Conveying polar research to the public through audio podcasting" and to present an independent studies project at the Canadian Association of Geographers, "Nutrient uptake and primary productivity responses to experimental nutrient enrichment in small shallow, tundra ponds."
  • Trystan Goetze BKI'12 has presented his research, and will be presenting work from his KI senior research project at the Communities of Integration conference in June 2013, during the workshop on Socially Relevant Philosophy of/in Science and Engineering (SRPoiSE).