November 25, 2021: IRES Faculty Seminar with Naoko Ellis

IRES Seminar Series

Time: 12:30pm to 1:30pm (every Thursday)

Location: AERL Theatre (room 120), 2202 Main Mall

View Zoom Video.


An engineer’s journey towards transdisciplinarity


Trained as technical experts, engineers are bred to solve problems. It was not until I taught the Environmental Engineering and Sustainability Leadership course that I realized how much of a gap there was between engineering solutions and the societal/political adaptation necessary for a sustainable future. We understand that for technological advancements to become solutions impacting society positively, various non-technical aspects must be in place. How do we then train engineers to become solution providers who understand the complexity of society? How are boundaries of engineering manifested? These questions have led me to join IRES last year, and continue working towards climate emergency through transdisciplinary research. This talk is a reflection on the journey to date, and an invitation to engage with the new collaborative PhD program.


Naoko Ellis

Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of British Columbia


Dr. Naoko Ellis is a professor in chemical engineering with a profound desire to help create a low carbon future. Her commitment to a sustainable future is evident through her research interests, which include biomass utilization, sustainability leadership, CO2 capture, and transdisciplinary learning. She is curious about how learning with and from “others” – crossing the disciplinary boundaries – can inform and frame the complex societal problems we face. Some of her recent projects include CO2 capture and conversion unit installation on UBC campus; indigenous wellbeing using data science; and reimagining how we train PhD students. Naoko is also an IRES Faculty Associate.