CIRODD Summer School on Societal Transformation: an experiential training for the systemic transition of territories.

CIRODD is a research centre whose mission is to accelerate the transformation of society in order to support the socio-ecological transition.

An initiative of Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Operationalisation of Sustainable Development (CIRODD).

Overview of the project

CIRODD’s Summer School on Societal Transformation is an intensive, experiential, inter-university and accredited graduate training aimed at accelerating the transfer of transdisciplinary knowledge and skills in sustainability education. The Summer School aims to develop the five key competences of the UNESCO-recognised theoretical framework of Wiek et al (2011) for the operationalisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The articulation of this theoretical framework with that of the SDGs allows for a systemic view of sustainable development, while offering the opportunity to localise the issues through real-life case studies.
The presentation of the course aims to demonstrate how a pedagogical approach such as the Summer School can train students as agents of change in the face of the climate emergency. The need to work together to achieve the SDGs pushes us to review training modalities, as well as to open up spaces for learning and applying collective intelligence and collaboration. Training events such as the Summer School represent new opportunities for democratising knowledge through more open forms of participation and learning. Through the inclusion of partners in the field, these training courses also allow for the implementation of concrete actions in the territories.


The Summer School, for systemic collaboration and operationalisation of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) by the territories

Level of progress

Ongoing research

Project timeline

project still underway

Quantitative results

The Summer School 2021 was 100% online and bilingual. It is an interdisciplinary course with :
– 135 hours, credited to Canadian graduate students
– 27 students from 9 areas of expertise and 9 different universities
– 12 universities and 7 councils that participated in the development of the academic content and training
– over 50 pan-Canadian and international speakers
– 4 public panels with over 100 attendees.

Qualitative results

The summer school was implemented on an inter-university basis in order to accelerate the trans-disciplinary and trans-sectoral transfer of knowledge, skills and know-how in education for sustainable development. A poorly replicated effort in the academic world
It also fostered the experience of transparent and collaborative governance for students through the presence of experienced actors in the programming, through the case studies, through the way the partners conducted the project and through the way the students participated with agile tools. The self-awareness and trust in each other enabled a collegiality in the cohort that allowed them to see the potential of adopting a collaborative approach in their actions.


Government funding and contributions from partners' organisations

About the

Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Operationalisation of Sustainable Development (CIRODD).

Chloé Barrette Bennington
Project Manager

CIRODD is a research centre whose mission is to accelerate the transformation of society in order to support the socio-ecological transition.
Mobilising the keys to the transformation of society
-2 flagship concepts for transition, sustainable innovation and transdisciplinarity
-Transfer and democratisation of concepts for their adoption
Anchoring sustainability in the training of individuals, institutions and organisations
-Pragmatic training for systemic action
-Recognition of the potential of experiential SDO training in higher education
Catalyzing and operationalizing transformational projects with significant systemic change potential as well as valorization and popularization of projects to accelerate their transformative potential.

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Other partners / supporters

Carried out in partnership with : Acadia University, Concordia University, the EDS Institute of Laval University, the Eco-Consulting Department of the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC), the CLAD project of the University of Montreal, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Canada and The House of Social Innovation (MIS) with funding from Quebec Secretary’s Office for Canadian Relations.