WGSI is entering a new mandate and while the spirit of our work – catalyzing collective action on complex issues – will remain the same we do not anticipate hosting any more Summits. Rather, we will be focusing our efforts on specific projects related to Canadian implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals like our Voluntary Local Review Pilot Project or renewable energy projects using power sources like solar or hydroelectric. Please watch this space for updates.

OUR PURPOSE (2009-2019)

Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) brings together brilliant minds and unheard voices from different disciplines, generations, and geographies to address the pressing challenges of tomorrow — today.

Solutions that include diverse viewpoints have never been so important. Our world is changing with unprecedented speed — and although we are more connected than ever, we continue to approach global challenges from a remarkably narrow lens. With so much talent and ingenuity worldwide, we know there is a better way.

Through local and global collaborations, we create the conditions where big picture conversations happen. Then we offer the space and time for people to act on that change.

HOW WE DO IT (2009-2019)

Our groundbreaking events and partnerships are the catalyst for this discourse. The cornerstone conversation is our Summit Series hosted in Waterloo, Canada, every two years. We believe in the importance of creating a level playing field where people can think outside the box.

That’s why our Summit Series is not a traditional conference. Summit attendees include the world’s sharpest leaders, ideators, and emerging minds — through the space we create, we elevate the expertise, lived experiences, and ideas of this unlikely group of collaborators.

Since 2011, we have collectively addressed some of the most pressing obstacles facing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in Canada and abroad. Whether it’s access to renewable energy sources like solar power, decarbonization, high school education, or another topic, WGSI is not afraid to take risks and adopt new approaches in pursuit of big picture solutions. As an organization, we are more interested in asking the right questions than we are in suggesting the answers.

Summit dialogues are just the beginning. WGSI’s network continues to connect and collaborate long after they have returned home, revealing unexpected pathways to action for years to come.


Our collaborations weave lasting networks that touch every level, from individuals to our local community to global media partnerships.

These partnerships are even more impactful when fused with the potential of science and technology. We create a bridge between academia and real-world, practical solutions. The conversations we facilitate uncover the most effective ways to take meaningful action, bringing a sustainable future closer for people worldwide, from northern Ontario to sub-Saharan Africa.

We take an experimental, adaptable, and generational outlook. Long-term solutions carry more value than short-term ones, and we are interested in how the innovative ideas, science, and technology of today will create a more fair and equitable world 10, 20, and 50 years into the future, and spreading the use of things like green energy resources, such as wind or solar power into the developing world.


WGSI sits at the intersection of two global thought leaders: the University of Waterloo and Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. WGSI was founded through a partnership between the two institutions, and while WGSI operates independently, they remain key collaborators in our mission.

Look up, we’re on the cusp of what comes next. We are the catalyst for collective action.