Sustainability Science

Sustainability Science is an emerging, transdisciplinary academic field that aims to help build a sustainable global society by drawing and integrating research from the humanities and the social, natural, medical and engineering sciences combined with knowledge from relevant actors from outside academia such as policy-makers, businesses, social organizations and citizens. The field is focused on examining the interactions between human, environmental, and engineered systems to understand and contribute to solutions for complex challenges that threaten the future of humanity and the integrity of the life support systems of the planet, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and land and water degradation. This working group focuses on the concept ‘Sustainability Science’.

Vital questions that will be investigated are:

– What core ideas does this concept embody?

– What insights does the concept provide, particularly regarding cultural, economic, political, social and technological change for sustainability?

– Has its trajectory or evolution been affected by resistance or critique? And if so, what kind of critique has been raised against it and from what ontological and epistemological position(s) and perspective(s)?

– What is the future of SS, should it remain an open field or should it be institutionalised? Does it compete with or complement disciplinary science?

For more information please contact:

Prof. Anne Jerneck
Professor in Sustainability Science
Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies
Lund, Sweden

Dr. Thaddeus Miller
Assistant Professor
Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning
Faculty Fellow, Institute for Sustainable Solutions
Portland State University,
Portland, USA

Relevant articles

Clark, W.C. & Dickson, N.M. (2003). Sustainability science: The emerging research program. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Clark, W.C. (2007). Sustainability Science: A room of its own. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Jerneck, A. (2014). Searching for a Mobilizing Narrative on Climate Change. The Journal
of Environment and Development, Volume 23, 1 (March 2014):14-39.
DOI: 10.1177/1070496513507259

Jerneck, A. et al. (2011). Structuring Sustainability Science. Sustainability Science.

Kates, R. et al. (2001). Sustainability Science. Science.

Kates, R. (2011). What kind of a science is sustainability science? PNAS

Kayikawa, Y. (2008). Research core and framework of sustainability science. Sustainability Science.

Komiyama, H. & Takeuchi, K. (2006). Sustainability science: building a new discipline. Sustainability Science.

Miller, T.R. (2015). Reconstructing Sustainability Science: Knowledge and Action for a Sustainable Future. The Earthscan Science in Society Series. Routledge: London.

Miller, T.R., Wiek, A., Sarewitz, D., Robinson, J., Olsson, L., Kriebel, D., & Loorbach D. (2014). The future of sustainability science: a solutions-oriented research agenda. Sustainability Science.

Sarewitz, D.,Wiek, A., Withycombe, L. & Redman, C. L. (2011). Key competencies in sustainability: a reference framework for academic program development. Sustainability Science.

Further links

IARU Sustainability Science Congress