School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

The PhD-Community Initiative – Coming in Fall 2016

PhD-Community InitiativeQueen’s School of Graduate Studies will launch a new initiative to provide PhD students with interdisciplinary and experiential learning opportunities that will aid in cultivating team skills and translating their particular knowledge/skills beyond their discipline and academia.  Recognizing the transferability of the knowledge and skills acquired as part of their PhD training will broaden their career prospects in multiple sectors. 

Setting Ideas in Motion

The PhD-Community Initiative will bring together PhD students from multiple disciplines to form teams that will engage with local community organizations. These organizations have identified an issue, challenge or goal that could benefit from a fresh, interdisciplinary, analytical approach to help them move forward in a positive way. The community partnerships will be mutually beneficial. Students will gain a valuable, collaborative learning experience as they apply and translate their knowledge and skills beyond their direct area of focus and community partners benefit from the experience as they gain thoughtful, creative and informed strategies that can benefit their organization. Alumni will play an important role in guiding and mentoring student teams.

Pilot Projects


In partnership with community organizations, several projects have been identified to be part of the pilot PhD-Community Initiative in fall 2016. Very brief descriptions are provided below. Additional information and details on how students can get involved are coming soon!

Sustainable energy in remote areas (SERA)
Students will investigate the implications of energy solutions including the cultural and social issues as well the geography and environment of providing services in northern and remote areas of Canada.

Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS) Community Outreach Expansion
Students will explore ways to expand outreach initiatives of QUBS and extend the reach into various communities (e.g. new immigrants to Canada).

Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network (PREVNet)
PREVNet is a national network of leading researchers and organizations, working together to stop bullying in Canada. Students will develop strategies to get various instruments that evaluate school culture and promote anti-bullying practices off the ground.

Night Economy project
This project will explore the elements that constitute a strong and vibrant night economy that could enhance the attractiveness of Kingston to young professionals.

Sistema Kingston is an intensive after school program for children in grades 2-4 that focuses on positive social change through the pursuit of musical excellence for children who do not otherwise have access to music. Student will consider the long-term sustainability of the program.


Learning outcomes for our students


Our students will not only gain experience in engaging with organizations to understand their needs and challenges, but they will also:

  • Expand their network
  • Develop and demonstrate skills in working collaboratively as part of a team
  • Recognize the value of their skills and knowledge beyond their area of specialty
  • Build their professional skill set and competencies through practical experience.

How Alumni can get engaged

The School of Graduate Studies is seeking PhD trained alumni with years of non-academic work experience who would be interested in mentoring a student team participating in the PhD-Community Initiative. Our alumni mentors would advise teams on how to define the project scope and engage with stakeholders, guide the team in project management and working effectively as a team, and assist the team in unlocking their potential – please note that subject matter expertise is not required. Mentors would be expected to meet regularly with their team (virtually or face-to-face) throughout the 4 month project period (November - February).

Interested in becoming involved as alumni mentor for the PhD-Community Initiative? Please send an email to and we will follow up with further details.