A new series of peer-reviewed papers is synthesizing the state of knowledge on social transformations to sustainability in order to inform research and practice responding to the massive challenges of global environmental change. The papers will appear regularly in the journal COSUST (Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability) and will also be collected in a virtual special issue on the journal’s homepage on ScienceDirect. The series is a collaboration between the International Science Council (ISC) and COSUST, on the initiative of the ISC Transformations to Sustainability programme (2014-2019), which is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
The series has started with the inclusion of some existing papers from recent issues of COSUST and will continue with original contributions, drawing on work done within and beyond the ISC Transformations to Sustainability programme. The papers will review the recent literature on social transformations to sustainability in various sustainability contexts and draw out implications for research, practice and policy. Many of the papers will also be used as the basis for shorter, accessible ‘Knowledge briefs’, continuing the series launched with ‘Ten essentials for research that responds to the climate challenge’, which was published in 2018.
The aim of the parallel series of peer-reviewed papers and knowledge briefs is to assemble and make widely available the best of current, solutions-oriented knowledge on social transformations to sustainability.
The Belmont Forum launched a second Collaborative Research Action focused on Arctic region. The title of this international funding opportunity is “Resilience in Rapidly Changing Arctic Systems”. The call aims at bringing together researchers from natural and social sciences and other expertise across the globe to develop proposals from integrated teams of scientists and stakeholders to address key areas of arctic resilience understanding and action. This collaboration of academic and non-academic knowledge systems constitutes a transdisciplinary approach that will advance not only understanding of the fundamentals of arctic resilience but also spur action, inform decision-making, and translate into solutions for resilience.
Project teams must be international in their composition and must draw off of support from a minimum of three funding organisations supporting this call from minimum three different countries. The following funding organisations participate in the call: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Canada), Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education (Denmark), National Research Agency (France), Icelandic Center for Research (Iceland), Japan Science and Technology Agency (Japan), Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (Netherlands), Research Council of Norway (Norway), Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Russia), Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Sweden), and National Science Foundation (United States).
The deadline for the submission of proposals is on 14 June 2019. More information about the call can be found on the Belmont Forum website.
The Kick-off of the NORFACE and Belmont Forum research programme Transformations to Sustainability (T2S) took place in Fukuoka, Japan on 22-26 September 2018. The Kick-off consisted of a three-day workshop for the twelve funded T2S projects and a T2S launch session at the World Social Science Forum, alongside which the Kick-off was organized. The T2S Kick-off provided a successful platform for discussions, reflection and mutual learning among the representatives from the funded projects and with a wider audience.
The T2S Kick-off was attended by 22 representatives from the twelve NORFACE-Belmont Forum funded T2S projects. The event started with a combined workshop for the twelve projects and the three Transformative Knowledge Networks funded by the original Transformations to Sustainability programme (2014-2019) of the International Social Science Council. The workshop provided a meeting ground for the two cohorts of projects, fledgling and mature, to explore what could be learned from each other about doing transdisciplinary research on transformations to sustainability and how social science can effectively contribute to equitable transformations to sustainability. The workshop included poster and storytelling sessions, discussions on impact and mutual learning, and a field trip to the Rainwater Society initiative, which aims to promote decentralized water management subsystems, in part by encouraging different generations of people to work together to harvest rainwater and develop green spaces.
The workshop was followed by a well-attended T2S launch session at the World Social Science Forum, where the NORFACE-Belmont Forum T2S programme was presented. The context, opportunities and challenges for the social sciences in leading research on transformations to sustainability were addressed, after which the twelve funded T2S projects presented themselves to the participants of the session. The audience was able to ask questions to and exchange views with the panel of project representatives. The synthesis of the various projects at the end of the meeting provided a positive final conclusion: keep “discovery” alive – we can discover a lot about the world through these projects.