Why #FriendsOfIRIS?

Because, the YorkU Vice-President of Research does not want to recharter the pan-university research centre in Sustainability, despite overwhelming interest and support, and a strong record of activities that underpin the recent announcement that York University is one of Canada’s Greenest Employers.

Please write to YorkU president, Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri and ask him to #SaveIRIS:  mshoukri@yorku.ca 

Sign the Change.org Petition


The Institute of Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS) is one of the Senate-chartered research centres at York University, Toronto. It was launched in 2004 with a pan-university mandate. Previously, the York Centre for Applied Sustainability, based in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, was active during the 1990s, into the early 2000s.

On Wednesday 23 April 2014, Professors Dawn Bazely (Biology & then IRIS Director) and Sheila Embleton (Linguistics & IRIS Steering Committee member) were informed, that, despite an external review by three professors from Law (Stewart Elgie), Business (Neil Craik) and Biology (Jack Schultz), endorsing IRIS’ work as an Institutional, or Pan-University research centre, that rechartering of the Institute would NOT be recommended to York University’s Senate by the Vice President Research and Innovation.

Over 100 faculty members had signed on to the 2013 rechartering application. As well, we received letters of support (though whether they are actually support letters, has been disputed by VPRI) from all university faculties save one (Fine Arts).

This website will make the various documents public, so that readers can judge for themselves whether IRIS failed to bring enough value to the Sustainability space (from local to global) to justify the VPRI’s decision.

The untransparent (to IRIS members) process that led to this unexpected decision by the VPRI, traces its roots back in  2012, when the office of the Vice-President Research and Innovation (VPRI) of York University started developing a new process for the rechartering of York University’s Organized Research Units. This was a long and drawn-out process in which the VPRI’s rules, regulations and guidelines were continually evolving: #ShiftingGoalPosts

Throughout, the IRIS faculty and staff tried their best to keep faith with the process. Many of our emails to VPRI went unanswered, and there were many flip-flops about how we were allowed to operate. Since VPRI Hache stated, in an email (24 April 2014), to Dr. Andrew Tanentzap, Cambridge University, that the rechartering process is fair and transparent, we will be posting various documents and correspondence here, to ensure that all of the many IRIS community members, past and present, can have open access to the information.

This is, after all, what sustainability is supposed to be about: good governance and transparency.

Dawn Bazely (IRIS director 2006 until 23 April 2014: except June 2011-12)

@dawnbazely; skype name dbazely

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