Could the 3Ds breathe new life into farming systems research?

by Jim Sumberg, STEPS centre research fellow Hans Ruthenberg Hans Ruthenberg’s Farming Systems in the Tropics, first published in 1971, still stands as a classic. Through detailed and systematic treatment of the major tropical farming systems, he demonstrates how – in principle and in practical application – systems theory can be brought to bear on…

Soldiers hand out masks near a shopping mall in Mexico City after the emergence of H1N1 in April 2009. Photo: Militares y Cubrebocas by eneas on Flickr (cc-by)

Pandemic Flu Controversies

How can a better understanding of the social, political, institutional and policy dimensions of pandemic control and preparedness planning help us deal with new outbreak controversies, such as the new H7N9 avian flu in China? Useful resources about pandemic influenza, including material from the STEPS Centre and Sussex University Centre for Global Health Policy’s recent Pandemic Flu Controversies workshop which discussed lessons,…

DIG-IT Workshop: Dialogue on Inclusive Growth, Innovation and Technology

The DIG-IT Workshop on Inclusive Growth, Innovation and Technology – co-sponsored by the STEPS Centre – promoted a unique forum for discussion of alternative and interdisciplinary frameworks to improve our understanding of the nexus between innovation, technological change, growth and inequalities within and between regions. STEPS Centre co-directors Andy Stirling and Ian Scoones and members, Adrian…

Public events in May: climate, justice, planetary boundaries

Next month we’re running three public events in Brighton on climate change, social justice and planetary boundaries. These events take place during our annual Summer School on Pathways to Sustainability. All of them are open to the public and free to attend. Lecture: Michael Jacobs, Grantham Research Institute / LSE‘Capitalism, carbon and climate change’ 13…

Democracy in the Anthropocene?

Planetary boundaries / Illustration from Global Change magazine STEPS Centre director Melissa Leach recently wrote in the Huffington Post: “When the cover of the Economist famously announced ‘Welcome to the anthropocene’ a couple of years ago, was it welcoming us to a new geological epoch, or a dangerous new world of undisputed scientific authority and…

What multidisciplinary means: Nature doesn’t care about our building blocks

Rats in a maze, by ithinkx on Flickr (cc-by-nc-nd) The deeper you dig into most matters, the more complex things become. International development research is no different – and, given that it is people’s wellbeing that is the chief concern here, the imperative to pay due regard to such complexity is great indeed. Dr Gianni…

Celestial (policy) navigation

by Jim Sumberg, STEPS Centre research fellow The proposition that public policy should be ‘evidence-based’ is now widely accepted (although there is still considerable contestation around the meaning, nature, types, and qualities of evidence, the interpretation of evidence, the politics of evidence etc). The evidence in the phrase ‘evidence-based policy’ is often portrayed as evidence…