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STEPS Centre Summer School

Our fourth Summer School, with 42 participants from 31 countries, took place from 11-22 May at the Institute of Development Studies in Brighton, UK. Find out what happened…

The Summer School brings together highly-motivated doctoral and postdoctoral researchers,working in fields around development studies, science and technology studies, innovation and policy studies, and across agricultural, health, water or energy issues.

Storify: 2015 Summer School

Our Storify collects together tweets, images & discussions to tell the story of the Summer School as it happened.

View the Storify

View a photo gallery on Flickr

Public lecture: Mike Hulme – ‘(Still) Disagreeing about Climate Change: What Way Forward?’

Mike Hulme, professor of climate and culture in the Department of Geography at King’s College London, discussed why climate change continues to be an idea which both unites and divides us. This was the only event of the Summer School open to the general public.

13 May 2015 at 5.30pm
Fulton A Lecture Theatre, University of Sussex, Falmer
Free admission, all welcome. This event will be followed by a drinks reception in the same venue, which all attendees are welcome to attend.

More details / register online

About the Summer School

Download the 2015 brochure (pdf, 250KB)

The STEPS Centre Summer School on pathways to sustainability aims to bring together an exceptional group of people who are exploring and developing ideas on pathways to sustainability. Through a mix of lectures, walks, discussions and public events, participants will challenge the STEPS team and each other on questions of science, society and development.

The summer school has run since 2012 with the generous support of the ESRC, IDRC and UKIERI.


“Wonderful opportunity. A fantastic group of participants, and the very knowledgable faculty treated us as colleagues on this journey towards sustainable pathways together. All in all, a truly memorable and rewarding experience.” 2014 participant

The summer school exceeded my expectations. I was absolutely amazed at the commitment and time that STEPS directors and staff gave to us. Truly incredible to have so much quality time with them and other students from around the world of such high calibre. Beautiful to have 24 nations in the same room thinking and discussing global to local issues!” 2013 participant

“Academically it enhanced my methodological thinking, professionally, it enhanced my perspectives of career aspirations. Personally, it was very humbling to learn from the multiple talents of the participants.” 2013 participant

“It was challenging, stimulating and also fun, exciting and very engaging. I never expected to have so much time to speak with STEPS staff.” 2013 participant

“I liked the fact that it really was an open space in which everyone’s (teachers AND students) ideas and experiences could be shared and critically engaged with. There was so much critical engagement and that was incredibly enriching. I really valued how much everyone respected each other’s thoughts and ideas”  2012 participant

“An engaging and exciting couple of weeks. It’s been fantastic” 2012 participant

How it works

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is the main venue. IDS is on the edge of the Sussex University campus, set in the middle of rolling countryside but with good transport links to Brighton.

The programme includes lectures and discussions, ‘walkshops’ – longer discussions held on walks through the surrounding area – social events, and a chance to play the African Farmer online game. The Summer School also includes some time in smaller groups, where participants get to reflect and discuss their own work, led and mentored by members of the STEPS Centre.

The discussion in these groups goes towards a mini-conference, planned and run by participants themselves, with support from the STEPS team.

Summer School 2015

Summer School 2014

Summer School 2013

Summer School 2012

Video clips from 2012

Below are some extracts from lectures given in May 2012 by Melissa Leach, Andy Stirling and Ian Scoones.