Research opportunities

Dalhousie is an international leader in environmental research. You'll learn with people who are working to understand the complex challenges and to find solutions for a healthier, more sustainable world.

Professors' research projects

Prof. Meinhard Doelle
is cross-appointed in the Environmental Science program and the Schulich School of Law. He is interested in exploring the relationship between science and law and policy. Prof. Doelle has written on a variety of environmental law topics, including climate change, energy, invasive species, environmental assessments, and public participation in environmental decision-making. His most recent books are entitled Environmental Law: Cases and Materials (with Chris Tollefson), The Federal Environmental Assessment Process: a Guide and Critique, and From Hot Air to Action: Climate Change, Compliance and the Future of International Environmental Law.

Prof. Jill L. Grant (FCIP, LPP), cross-appointed with the School of Planning, began her career in anthropology, but switched to planning because of her interest in helping people find strategies for improving their living conditions. She has conducted field research throughout Canada, and also in Papua New Guinea, Japan, Europe, the US, and the UK. Her work looks at the cultural context of community planning, exploring the values that planners, developers, and residents bring to the places they design and inhabit.

Dr. Craig Lake is cross-appointed in the Department of Civil Engineering. His interests are around construction and demolition (C&D) waste recycling in Nova Scotia. What is the amount of C&D material generated in the province each year? What are the economics of this situation? In other parts of the world, C&D waste is used much more in terms of recycling/reuse—what are some sustainable options for this in Nova Scotia? What are the challenges and how can they be overcome? Dr. Lake is also interested in the recycling, diversion, and pre-treatment of municipal solid waste and its impact on landfill leachate quality.

Student research projects

  • Evaluate the feasibility of alternative fuel vehicles being used at Dalhousie University, by taking into account the social, economic, and environmental costs and benefits of various alternative fuel technologies.
  • Determine the key design elements necessary to establish a food-producing garden on the Dal campus, with a focus on constructing raised garden beds, garden maintenance and equipment, aesthetics, soil and water concerns, weeds and pests, climate, sunlight availability, slope issues, and potential crops.
  • Investigate the use of disposable versus reusable coffee cups at a popular on-campus coffee chain, before and during a contest period.
  • Observe and analyze the waste diversion compliance levels within the four-bin waste systems at Dalhousie.
  • Determine the environmental, social, and economic implications of Dal’s seafood purchasing choices.
  • Explore administrative and community support, and examine other university bike share programs to determine the best approach for a bike share program on campus.
  • Perform both qualitative and quantitative analyses in order to determine areas of unnecessary energy usage in a campus residence.
  • Study the winter-time dispersal of salt across campus and look into solutions that provide adequate coverage while being more environmentally friendly.
  • Evaluate computer use in a building on campus, to determine how much energy is consumed when not in use versus the costs of buying software with automated shut-down.