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Centre for Building Sustainable Value

Transformational Journeys at the Ivey/ARCS PhD Sustainability Academy

  • Rosalie Luo
  • |
  • Nov 17, 2022
Transformational Journeys at the Ivey/ARCS PhD Sustainability Academy

Over the weekend, Ivey and the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability hosted the 15th annual PhD Sustainability Academy. I was truly honored to be part of this life-changing weekend and to learn from other academics – not only about research, but more importantly, how to be the type of person we want to see reflected in the world around us.  

About the Ivey-ARCS PhD Academy 

The Academy convenes promising doctoral students working on sustainability-related research across the world to receive generative feedback from the most prominent scholars in the field. This year, the Academy, led by Professor Oana Branzei, welcomed 11 student-fellows from a wide array of academic and personal backgrounds to meet with seven leading faculty mentors.  

Since 2008, the Academy has created an intimate environment for young scholars to push the boundaries of their work under the guidance of mentors that cut across many academic disciplines. This year, PhD students represented well-known institutions in North America, Europe, and Australia, and introduced a fascinating portrait of cutting-edge research across continents.  

An experience to remember 

As a current Ivey PhD student and fellow of the Academy, the Academy was truly transformational in every sense of the word. It’s not often that students have the opportunity to receive such intensive and relevant feedback from top scholars. Personally, I learned so much about myself based on the work that other students brought to the table, even though we all study different industries and sustainability topics from various methodological backgrounds.  

I never thought I’d get to learn about Ecuadorian mangrove deforestation, the Canadian music industry, or the Finnish textile industry all in the same weekend – but now I’ll never forget the learnings. The group sessions gave me so much inspiration for my own work on regenerative agriculture and reminded me that young scholars in sustainability are doing some of the most fascinating research of our time.  

During the panel sessions, faculty advised each fellow on everything ranging from work-life balance and time management to publications and employment. The transparency and honesty that came from the mentors was greatly appreciated, as it is often hard to come by. The empathy and generosity over the weekend from both faculty and fellows should be a model to help move our occupation in a direction that is understanding, compassionate, and liberating. The Ivey PhD Academy has taught me to strive to bring my whole self to the profession in a way that I didn’t fully know how to before. I now have a truly diverse community of scholars to learn from for the rest of my life.   

Best Paper Award 

The winners of this year’s Best Paper Award were Simon Xu (UC Berkeley Haas School of Business) and Maegan Baker (University of Sydney Business School), who both shared rigorous and timely research on important topics. Simon, a finance scholar, examined environmental regulations’ impacts on the capital allocation of polluting firms, while Maegan presented an in-depth study of an innovative Indigenous-led cross-sector partnership in New South Wales, Australia based on her own fieldwork there.