Program Structure

CREATE Climate-Smart Soils Scholars will be registered in an undergraduate or graduate program at one of the participating universities (Guelph, Dalhousie, McGill, Toronto, Manitoba, or Saskatchewan) under the supervision of one of our investigators. Scholars will complete the following components as part of their program:

Scholars who have successfully completed the above requirements will be provided with a certification that indicates they are a graduate of the CREATE-CSS program and describes the extra-thesis training that this program entails.


RESEARCH projects

Scholars will create a thesis project to the level of their degree (undergraduate, Masters or PhD) in collaboration with their thesis advisor (one of our investigators). Projects that qualify in the CREATE-CSS include projects that:

1. Enhance the scientific basis for development and design of climate-smart soils;

2. Improve and develop tools, models, indicators and metrics relevant for the assessment of climate-smart soils that are practical and relevant for stakeholders;

3. Integrate socio-economic, gender and diversity analysis in the design and assessment of climate-smart soil practices leading to innovation in agricultural systems.


Core Course

The core course will be held over a week each year in September in Guelph, Ontario. Scholars will be exposed to a wide variety of soil-specific climate change mitigation initiatives.



Each graduate student will participate in one 4-month internship with a collaborating organization to allow them to build their professional network, professional skills and industry experience. This will ensure that CREATE-CSS will graduate students with the background to address the needs of the market place.

Examples of past internships include:

1) Evaluation of the impact of a conservation agriculture program in East Africa and production of a yield report, including travel to Kenya to interview farmers and conduct field surveys (Canadian Foodgrains Bank, read more here);

2) Review of the 4R nutrient stewardship best management practice guidance documents and development of a guidebook to initiate and implement 4R nutrient stewardship in Ghana and Ethiopia (Fertilizer Canada); and

3) Investigation of practices and potential for carbon sequestration in Canada’s managed soils for a significant technical report (Soil Conservation Council of Canada/Compost Council of Canada, read more here).


professional skills

Individual Development Plan

When scholars enter the program, they will create an Individual Development Plan in collaboration with their supervisor and an industry mentor, which will guide them to set career- and life-specific goals for their program. The IDP will guide their role in the rest of their professional skills.

Adaptive Project Management & Leadership Short Course

This online short course will introduce scholars to managing complex agri-environmental projects and cover leadership and communication processes.

Workshop on Gender & Diversity Leadership

This facilitated skills training and action planning session will help scholars become leaders in equity, diversity and inclusion in their programs and careers.

Science Communication

Scholars will complete communications modules to develop their academic, non-academic, and graphic communication skills by which they will effectively communicate the impact pathways of their research to a broad audience.

Other available resources

The following resources for professional development are available at host universities: