Sustainability Research Made Practical, Thanks to U-M Doctoral Students

Lisa A. Pappas, Graham Sustainability Institute
Release Date: 

Academic sustainability research is complex, but the Michigan Journal of Sustainability (MJS) is making this information accessible and useful to a broad range of readers. The second issue of this online open-access journal is available now at

Founded and managed by a team of U-M Sustainability Doctoral Fellows, the journal provides peer-reviewed articles that are written to be easily understood by practitioners, concerned citizens, and others reading outside their own area of expertise. The objective is to translate interdisciplinary research into a format that end-users can apply in their real-world decision-making and also to help academic researchers exchange ideas. This latest issue includes content about climate adaptation, public health, and sustainable urban planning.

“We’re very excited about the robust and varied content in this second issue,” said MJS Co-Editor in Chief Rebecca Mandell, of U-M’s School of Public Health. “In addition to contributions from the University of Michigan, for the first time we also have articles from external authors – both academics and practitioners.”

Co-Editor in Chief Susan Cheng, of U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA), elaborates on the journal’s unique advantages and recent enhancements.

“MJS provides new ways of presenting sustainability research to a broad audience. For example, our ‘Seeing Sustainability’ articles use photographs and maps to help illustrate specific sustainability challenges and potential solutions.”

Michigan Journal of SustainabilityAs part of the journal’s collaborative, open-access nature, the editorial board is actively encouraging readers to submit content for review and possible publication.

“We hope readers will contribute to future issues by adding diverse perspectives and innovative topics,” Mandell said. “This will support our mission of creating a rich, interdisciplinary discourse across research, policy, and practice.”

In addition to Cheng and Mandell, the MJS Editorial Board for Volume 2 (Fall 2014) includes: Co Editor-in-Chief Nicholas B. Rajkovich, Sarah Mills, and Missy Stults, all from the U-M Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning; Patrick Harlin, School of Music; Lingli He and Lauren Stadler, College of Engineering; Thomas Jenkinson and Brian Vickers, LSA; and Michelle Reicher Newstadt, School of Education. All of these doctoral students are part of either the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program or the Graham Sustainability Fellows Program, the latter of which is concluding with its final cohort.

“Thanks to these doctoral students, the Michigan Journal of Sustainability is filling an important and underserved niche: translating high-quality research into language and formats that are easily digestible across disciplines and sectors,” said Don Scavia, special counsel to the U-M president on sustainability and director of the Graham Sustainability Institute. “I’m thrilled to see the journal continuing to grow and expand to meet this need.”  

The third issue of journal, slated for release in January 2015, will focus exclusively on climate adaptation. The goal of this special issue is to foster thinking about bridging the science-policy divide to help society adapt to existing and projected future impacts from disasters, climate variability, and long-term climate change.

Although the deadline for abstracts for the Climate Adaptation special issue has passed, the MJS editors are still accepting articles for consideration. The editors also have an open call for contributions for its next “general” issue (to be published later in 2015). Instructions for submitting articles for consideration are available online.

The Michigan Journal of Sustainability is hosted on Michigan Publishing’s platform for scholarly journals. All issues (and individual articles) are available at no cost at