Thinking Globally, Acting Locally


An Initiative with Impact

Are you passionate about sustainability? Do you want to make a difference in your community by developing innovative solutions to local sustainability challenges?

September 30, 2022 
Submission deadline

October 2022
Announcement of the five selected teams

May 2023
Teams submit their reports

June 2023 
Western hosts Research Forum

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally is an innovative new pilot program aimed at supporting student-led initiatives that engage with our local communities to collaboratively advance sustainability.

This new initiative will engage teams of undergraduate and graduate students, supported by a faculty mentor, to conduct research projects focusing on at least one of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. As part of the research proposal, each team will identify an external advisor from a community organization who will collaborate on the project and leverage the research for real-world impact.  

In addition to the above criteria, each team will:

  • include at least two undergraduate students.
  • include at least one graduate student as a “senior researcher”, “project manager”, and “peer mentor”.
  • include one Western faculty mentor.
  • have an opportunity to set goals, reflect on learning, and identify transferable skills, all hallmarks of the experiential learning process.

After you click the button above, you will log in to Western Connect with your Western credentials. Navigate to the "Programs" tab on the left menu bar, and click "Thinking Globally, Acting Locally (TGAL)" to submit your research proposal.

The main outcomes of this initiative are to:

  • develop viable solutions to local sustainability challenges.
  • increase the visibility of Western's contributions to community sustainability challenges.
  • support and promote high-impact research and experiential learning for students.

This initiative will enhance research and experiential learning opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students. It will also provide graduate students with professional skill-development opportunities in mentoring and managing projects.

This initiative will focus attention on local sustainability challenges and will foster the development of innovative solutions with the potential to benefit our local communities. It will also highlight Western’s commitment to sustainability and to engaging with and supporting our local communities.

$20,000 for Research Support

Five research teams will be selected from the submitted proposals to pursue their research projects.  Research projects will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Development Goals

  • The team clearly identifies how their idea supports at least one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.


  • The sustainability issue is clearly identified and supported with facts and statistics.
  • The proposed solution addresses the problem in an interesting and/or original manner.

Project Plan

  • The project’s objectives are focused and clearly specified.
  • The project’s indicated approach clearly addresses the stated objectives.
  • The project clearly outlines a timeline for implementing its plan.
  • The project clearly specifies its anticipated impact for the local community.
  • The project clearly indicates the relevance of its local solution(s) at the global scale.


  • The project plan is practically feasible within the specified timeline.
  • The project plan clearly outlines and justifies the budget (finances, resources, etc.) required to implement its proposed solution.

Critical Local Engagement

  • The team clearly demonstrates engagement with local community partners and/or stakeholders in the development and planning of their idea.
  • The team demonstrates they would work with local leadership in implementing their proposed project plan.

The selected teams will each receive a budget of up to $20,000 to support the achievement of their project goals. Each team will be expected to complete their research with targeted outcomes that are achievable within an eight-month time frame (October – May).

Celebrating Achievement

The teams will be required to present their achievements at a Thinking Globally, Acting Locally Research Forum hosted by Western. The forum will celebrate the teams’ achievements and promote the implementation and advancement of their work.

In addition to presenting at the forum, teams are encouraged to work with their external advisor to create a knowledge mobilization plan to share their project with the broader community and to foster ongoing efforts related to the work.

All undergraduate and graduate students in all Western degree programs are eligible and encouraged to participate.


Varun Ravikumar (he/him/his)
Coordinator, Thinking Globally Acting Locally (TGAL)
Western University
School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
International and Graduate Affairs Building, Room 1N07
London, ON, Canada N6A 3K7 |