The Inter-D Program (Interdisciplinary Studies) graduate program at USask allows students to design their own graduate program with oversight by the CGPS' Interdisciplinary team to bring together qualified faculty from different disciplines. Because there are no constraints on which fields are brought together, there are virtually no two students in the same subfield.

Interdisciplinarity suggests establishing connections across, or the hybridization of techniques, tools, or theories from, different disciplines in order to advance understanding beyond the scope of a single discipline. It can also suggest creating “undisciplined” spaces between disciplines or working to transcend disciplinary boundaries altogether. Interdisciplinary approaches take on issues, problems, or creative projects that cannot be adequately addressed within a single discipline, or even multi-disciplines.

To be considered "interdisciplinary" individual programs will integrate course work and research that crosses two or more disciplines into a concise program that is not available within the traditional academic setting. InterD students create their individualized program of studies with their supervisor and Student Advisory Committee. 

Program management committee

Steven Rayan

Director of Interdisciplinary Programming & Committee Chair

Pammla Petrucka

Committee Member

Colleen Bell

Committee Member

David Zhang

Committee Member
Hyunjung Shin

Committee Member

Katie Labelle Committee Member

Sarah Buhler Committee Member

Ghazal Mousavian Committee Member


In pursuit of advanced interdisciplinary research exceeding the provisions of existing departmental programs, CGPS' Interdisciplinary program has no restrictions regarding the topic and in many cases the student draws upon expertise from several distinct faculties. Annual events are developed for InterD students as program requirements and are open to the public. Celebrate interdisciplinarity with us.

Repairing AI for Environmental Justice

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024
Health Sciences, Room 1150



Repairing AI for Environmental Justice, Keynote Lecture




Let us imagine that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is broken. Not in the physical sense in which pieces are falling apart and need to be put together; rather, in the metaphorical sense in which there are serious ethical concerns related to the design and development of AI that demand repair.

In this talk I will outline a definition of Sustainable AI as an umbrella term to cover two branches with different aims and methods: AI for sustainability vs the sustainability of AI. I will show that AI for sustainability holds great promise but is lacking in one crucial aspect; it fails to account for the environmental impact from the development of AI. Alternatively, the environmental impact of AI training (and tuning) sits at the core of the sustainability of AI, for example measuring carbon emissions and electricity consumption, water and land usage, and regulating the mining of precious minerals. All of these environmental consequences fall on the shoulders of the most marginalized and vulnerable demographics across the globe (e.g. the slave like working conditions in the mining of minerals, the coastal communities susceptible to unpredictable weather conditions). By placing environmental consequences in the centre one is forced to recognize the environmental justice concerns underpinning all AI models.

The question then becomes, how can the AI space be repaired to transform current structures and practices that systemically exacerbate environmental justice issues with the consequence of further marginalizing vulnerable groups.


Event Programme

  • 1:45 pm: Catered reception with our keynote (Health Sciences E-Wing Atrium, outside Health Sciences 1150)
  • 2:20 pm: Doors Open to HLTH 1150
  • 2:30 pm: Welcome, Land Acknowledgement, and Opening Remarks by University and CGPS Leaders, incl. CGPS InterD Director (Dr. Steven Rayan)
  • 2:45 pm: Keynote Lecture: Dr. Aimee van Wynsberghe, University of Bonn: Repairing AI for Environmental Justice
  • 3:45 pm: Q&A Period with Keynote

About the Guest Speaker

Aimee van Wynsberghe is the Alexander von Humboldt Professor for Applied Ethics of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Bonn in Germany. She received her PhD in Applied Ethics from the University of Twente in 2012 after degrees from the University of Western Ontario in Cell Biology, the Catholic University of Leuven in Applied Ethics, and from the Erasmus Mundus program in Bioethics.  Her doctoral thesis concerned the creation of ethical frameworks for the future design and implementation of care robots. 

At Bonn, Prof. van Wynsberghe is director of the Institute for Science and Ethics and the Bonn Sustainable AI lab. She is co-director of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics and a member of the European Commission's High-Level Expert Group on AI. She is a founding editor for the international peer-reviewed journal AI & Ethics and member of the World Economic Forum's Global Futures Council on Artificial Intelligence and Humanity. She is author of the book Healthcare Robots: Ethics, Design, and Implementation and is regularly interviewed by media outlets.

In each of her roles, Prof. van Wynsberghe works to uncover the ethical risks associated with emerging robotics and AI. Her current research, funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, brings attention  to the sustainability of AI by studying the hidden environmental costs of developing and using AI.


Interdisciplinary Studies 
College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
University of Saskatchewan
Room 116, 110 Science Place
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5C9 CANADA

Contact Luis Corredor Duarte, MPA
Interdisciplinary Program Coodinator via

+1 (306) 966-2171

Inquiries from current students in the Inter-D program should be directed to interd.studies@usask.ca

Email Inquiries from prospective students should be directed to interd.applications@usask.ca
To access a knowledge base about the program for current students in the program, and to access information about INTD 990 events, please visit this site: https://canvas.usask.ca/courses/20025 (NSID required)