The complexity of sustainable development requires science and the scientific community to develop multifaceted and diverse research approaches in order to respond to the sustainability challenges society is facing. Connected to this is the debate on the link between science and policy, and how research policies should be shaped to optimize the contribution of research to sustainable development. In this context, the community of sustainability scientists strives for a new way of conducting research. Sustainability science as a developing discipline - or paradigm - of research focuses on searching for solutions while going beyond traditional boundaries of disciplines.
As mentioned in the report
Gearing European Research towards sustainability. RD4SD Exercise
( 3.7 MB), there is a need to mobilise sustainability scientists at a European level.
Dr. Jill Jaeger, a member of the Scientific Committee of the Sustainable Development Conference, was commissioned to prepare a
background paper ( 143 KB) to provide an overview of the current state of play of sustainability science and the challenges it is facing: How to overcome the disciplinary division of science? How to provide a better definition of the underlying concepts? How to go beyond the limits of "classical scientific research" to integrate other stakeholders?
On the basis of this background paper, a
workshop () bringing together sustainability scientists from across Europe was organized in Brussels in October 2009, to discuss the need and potential of sustainability science.
Key institutional players in Sustainability Science in Europe
Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies, SE
Stockholm Resilience Centre, SE
Stockholm Environment Institute, SE
Dutch Research Institute for Transitions, NL
International Centre for Integrated Assessment and Sustainable Development (ICIS), Maastricht University, NL
Institute for Environmental Studies, Free University of Amsterdam, NL
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research (PIK), DE
Institute of Geography and Geology, Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald, DE
Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, NO
University of Osnabrück, DE
Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, ES
Environmental Change Institute (ECI), University of Oxford, UK
School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, UK
University of Cambridge, Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership, UK
Centre of Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, CH
Environmental Philosophy Group, Institute for Environmental Decisions, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETS), Zürich, CH
Sustainable Europe Research Institute, Vienna, AT
Networks involved in sustainability science in Europe