Clusters of Scholarly Prominence Program (CSPP)

The Clusters of Scholarly Prominence Program (CSPP) is UTSC’s flagship program for supporting the pursuit of strategic initiatives.


The inaugural competition in 2020 awarded a total of $2.3 million of funding to the following clusters:


The Clinical Research and Evaluation Cluster (CREC)

Cluster Leads: Michael Best (Department of Psychology) and Zindel Segal (Department of Psychology)

Team Members: Hilary Brown (Health and Society), Andrea Charise (Health and Society), Claire De Oliveira (Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation),Vina Goghari (Psychology), Sohee Kang (Computer and Mathematical Sciences), Anthony Ruocco (Psychology), Amanda Uliaszek (Psychology) and Linbo Wang (Computer and Mathematical Sciences).

CREC seeks to improve recovery from mental health conditions through the integrated multi-method evaluation of psychological treatments for mental health. Integrating expertise in mental health treatment with neuroscience, epidemiology, health economics, health humanities, and biostatistics, the CREC will be the first interdisciplinary unit for conducting large-scale evaluations of clinical treatments.


The Centre for Environmental Research in the Anthropocene (CERA)

Cluster Leads: Marc Cadotte (Department of Biological Sciences) and Myrna Simpson (Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences)

Team Members: John Hannigan (Sociology), Marney Isaac (Physical and Environmental Sciences), Scott MacIvor (Biological Sciences), Nick Mandrak (Biological Sciences), Carl Mitchell (Physical and Environmental Sciences), Dan Silver (Sociology), Andre Simpson (Physical and Environmental Sciences) and Ken Welch Jr. (Biological Sciences).

CERA will create a cutting-edge collaborative research program that will address key questions about how anthropogenic stressors influence the ecosystems in which we live. CERA will pursue a multipronged set of programs that will enhance collaboration, partnership, research and training at UTSC.



Flourish: The Arts and Social Wellness Cluster

Cluster Lead: Andrea Charise (Department of Health & Society)

Team Members: Mark Campbell (Arts, Culture and Media), Allison Crawford (Psychiatry), Obidi Ezezika (Health & Society), Barry Freeman (Arts, Culture and Media), Cassandra Hartblay (Health & Society), Elliot Leffler (Arts, Culture and Media), Roger Mantie (Arts, Culture and Media), Janet Parsons (Physical Therapy) and Nikki Woods (Family and Community Medicine).

Flourish: The Arts and Social Wellness Cluster will advance creative arts engagement as an impactful intervention for enhancing social connection and wellness across the life-course. Team expertise includes arts-based (health) research methods, fine and performing arts, community-engaged practice, assessment/education science, and knowledge translation/ implementation. Using an arts-led, community-engaged leadership approach, our aim is to establish a UTSC Centre for Arts and Wellness—to advance research, scale initiatives, generate policy, and enable high-quality, intergenerational personnel.



Suburban Mobilities Cluster

Cluster Lead:  Steven Farber (Department of Human Geography)

Team Members: Hilary Brown (Health & Society), Andre Cire (Management), Angelina Grigoryeva (Sociology), Chris Higgins (Human Geography), Matthew Hoffmann (Political Science), Avni Shah (Management), Daniel Silver (Sociology), Andre Sorensen (Human Geography) and Nicholas Spence (Health & Society).

The Suburban Mobilities Cluster is a multi-disciplinary research program that draws on expertise across nine disciplines to tackle four suburban mobility challenges: rising suburban inequalities, improving transportation design and technology, climate change, and resilience to shocks. Towards addressing each challenge, the initiative will advance new research approaches, develop partnerships and engagement, and create student support and embedded training opportunities.

Link to announcement from University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute




The second competition in 2021 awarded $1.8 million to the following clusters:


Urban Just Transitions from Scarborough to the Globe

Cluster Leads: Matthew Hoffmann (Department of Political Science) and Laura Tozer (Department of Physical & Environmental Science)

Team Members: Mary Elizabeth Luka (Arts, Culture and Media), April Franco (Management), Nicole Latulippe (Human Geography), Jim MacLellan (Physical & Environmental Sciences), Andre Sorensen (Human Geography) and Oleksandr Voznyy (Physical & Environmental Sciences).

Urban Just Transitions from Scarborough to the Globe brings together researchers from five different departments at UTSC who will look at ways to achieve a just transformation to a zero-carbon society and energy system, which will be important in addressing climate change. The cluster will focus on how justice and equity can play a role in transitioning away from carbon pollution. It will build relationships with communities in Scarborough and learn how community-university research partnerships can help envision and build a more equitable and sustainable city.



Sustainable Food and Farming Futures Cluster

Cluster Leads: Jayeeta Sharma (Department of Historical and Cultural Studies) and Marney Isaac (Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences and Department of Global Development Studies)

Team Members: Aisha Ahmad (Political Science), Shyon Baumann (Sociology/Culinaria), Daniel Bender (Culinaria/Historical & Cultural Studies), Andre Cire (Management), Obidimma Ezekika (Health & Society), Roberta Fulthorpe (Physical & Environmental Sciences), Eliana Gonzales-Vigil (Biological Sciences), Ryan Isakson (Global Development Studies/Human Geography), Kenneth MacDonald (Human Geography/Culinaria), Adam Martin (Physical & Environmental Sciences), William McConkey (Management/BRIDGE), Lena Mortensen (Anthropology/Culinaria), Adam Mott (Biological Sciences), Jeffrey Pilcher (Historical & Cultural Studies) and Phani Radhakrishnan (Management).

The Sustainable Food and Farming Futures Cluster will identify how the environmental impacts of agriculture can be reduced, while simultaneously promoting food security, equitable food systems, and the availability of culturally relevant foods. It will develop innovative research on sustainable agriculture systems (including crop resiliency, urban agriculture and agroecology) and collaborations with community partners and other stakeholders to advance socially just means of food production.


The third competition in 2022 awarded a total of $600,000 of funding to the following cluster:


Water Pathways Cluster

Cluster Leads: Mathew Wells (Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences) and Cosima Porteus (Department of Biological Sciences)

Team Members: George Arhonditsis (Physical & Environmental Sciences), Laura Brown (Geography, Geomatics and Environment), Maria Dittrich (Physical & Environmental Sciences), Nicholas Mandrak (Biological Sciences), Bonnie McElhinny (Anthropology), Bailey McMeans (Biology), Carl Mitchell (Physical & Environmental Sciences) and Chelsea Rochman (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology).

The Water Pathways research cluster brings together a diverse team of researchers to confront a growing number of water quality problems posed by population growth, pollution, climate change, and invasive species. By combining physical and social science perspectives this cluster will be bigger than the sum of its parts and can make transformational change. We will position the Water Pathways group as leaders in Ontario that can work with community groups and conservation agencies to identify pollution problems and to determine effective social and scientific strategies to restore water quality.


The fourth competition in 2023 awarded a total of $597,822 of funding to the following cluster:

Education and Training for the 21st Century Workforce (ET21)

Cluster Lead: Elizabeth Dhuey (Department of Management)

Team members: Laurent Cavenaile (Management – Economics), Ethan Fosse (Sociology), Rob Gillezeau (Management – Economics), Kristina McElheran (Management – Strategy), Pamela Medina Quispe (Management – Economics), Phil Triadafilopoulos (Political Science), Michal Perlman (Applied Psychology), Brad Seward (Centre of Industrial Relations and Human Resources), Linda White (Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy)

The Education and Training for the 21st Century Workforce (ET21) Cluster seeks to address growing labour inequalities and strengthen educational approaches, programs, and services to help children and youth develop skills that align with the competencies needed to thrive in the new realities of the 21st-century economy. The objectives of ET21 include understanding the implications of changing workforce demands on skill needs, understanding skill formation and outcomes leading to positive trajectories and developing a sustainable research and knowledge-sharing network of academic and community partners.



Program Purpose

The purpose of the CSPP is to promote self-sustaining, interdisciplinary, interdepartmental and, if appropriate, interdivisional collaborative clusters of scholarship in areas of established and emerging strength at UTSC that have a demonstrable capacity to augment the University of Toronto’s (U of T) global standing through prominence in scholarship, creative activity, and exceptional learning. Funded clusters can contribute in new ways to the enterprises of the three institutes that represent UTSC’s established strengths or can contribute to emerging strengths.


Award Details

Proposals can request funding ranging up to $200,000 per year. The budget does not have to be equal each year of the proposed project if the expected spending each year is based on the research goals, objectives, and methods proposed and justified in the application. Successful applications will be funded for 1, 2 or three years.