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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question you can’t find the answer to? Here are our top FAQs.  If you can’t find an answer to your query, email


Q What is the STEPS Centre about?

A Read all about the STEPS Centre and what we do

Q What is the STEPS Centre trying to achive?

A Read about the STEPS Centre’s aims

Q What is the STEPS Centre ‘pathways’ approach?

A STEPS has developed a new theoretical pathways approach to understanding interactions between social, technological and environmental dynamics in diverse local conditions. We have called it the pathways approach because it aims to understand the complex, non-linear interactions – or paths – between social, technological and environmental systems. Some pathways may threaten poor peoples’ livelihoods and health while others create opportunities for sustainability. Read more about the Pathways Approach.

Q How and where did the STEPS Centre start?

A The STEPS Centre began on 1 October 2006 and held its official launch on 25 June 2007. In summer 2011 we secured a new phase of funding from the Economic and Social Research Centre which runs until 2016. We are based across two institutions on the University of Sussex campus, in the UK – the Insitute of Development Studies and the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU).

Q How is the STEPS Centre funded?

A We are funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. The ESRC supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s total budget for 2011/12 is £203 million. At any one time it supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes. For more information, see the ESRC website.

Q How is the STEPS Centre run?

A STEPS Director Melissa Leach, Co-directors Ian Scoones and Andy Stirling and STEPS members are based at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at Sussex University in the UK. We are overseen by an International Advisory Committee of globally renowned academics, policy-makers, business and media professionals, chaired by Professor Judi Wakhungu, executive director of the African Centre for Technology Studies in Kenya.

Q Who are the STEPS Centre’s partners?

A Our research projects are carried out with a network of partners across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. We also have affiliate partnerships with programmes and organisations whose work links closely to ours. All of our project and affiliate partners are listed on the Partners page of the site.

Q How do I contact the STEPS Centre?

A Postal address:
STEPS Centre
Institute of Development Studies
Brighton BN1 9RE

E-mail :
STEPS Centre general enquiries, tel: +44 (0)1273 915673
Fax: +44 (0)1273 621202

For more information go to our Contact page

Q How do I get to the STEPS Centre?

A Before you plan your journey, please check if the person you are visiting is based at IDS (Brighton, BN1 9RE, UK) or SPRU (Jubilee Building, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9SL, UK). STEPS members are split between these two buildings on the same University of Sussex campus.

Getting to the STEPS Centre (Multimap link)

University of Sussex campus map (pdf 684kb)

How to get to the University of Sussex:
By rail: Falmer Station is the nearest railway station, change at Brighton for visitors travelling from London and the west.
By car: The University is on the A27 road between Brighton and Lewes, about four miles (six kilometres) from the centre of Brighton.
By bus: Bus number 25 runs between the centre of Brighton and the University – stopping at Churchill Square and Old Steine – bringing passengers directly onto the campus.

For more details, see Contact us

Q How do I study at the STEPS Centre?

A One of STEPS Centre’s key activities is training a new generation of students and researchers in our concepts, methods and approaches. We run MA and PhD courses and host postdoctoral and visiting fellows. STEPS aims to share our learning and build capacity among a new generation of scientists and social scientists.

For more information on our courses contact James Prescott, IDS Teaching Programme Administrator, on +44 (0)1273 915647 or email IDS Teaching on
Or visit our Teaching page

Q Where does the name STEPS come from?

A STEPS stands for Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability.

Q I’m a member of the press. How do I contact STEPS ?

A STEPS Members are very experienced in working with the media. See our Media Centre for more information and contacts.

Q I’m a student writing about STEPS-related issues, can you send me information?

A Please check or research and publications pages to see if you can find the material that interests you. If you still can’t find what you need, do get in touch on and we will try to help.

Q Can I put a link on my website to STEPS?

A Yes, please do. One of our main aims is to generate debate and we actively want to engage with a diverse local and global audiences, from local communities to international governments and global institutions to help make change happen. Putting out link on your page can help do that.

Q Can I have a reciprocal link on the STEPS website?

A We do have external links on our site, as this helps link our research in to a global network of STEPS -related work and organisations. If your link is highly relevant to our work do send it to us and we will consider using it, but cannot promise to include it.

Q I can’t open a PDF document, what should I do?

A Some of our documents are in PDF format, which requires the Adobe Acrobat Reader. You can download it from the Adobe website.

Q Do I need permission to quote or reproduce work from the website?

A You are welcome to reproduce articles from the STEPS website, but you must not alter their meaning or context, must acknowledge the authors and as the source, and you cannot use our work for commercial purposes. Our work is published under a Creative Commons licence (see below). Images are only available for editorial use with our express permission. To request an image, email or phone on +44 (0)1273 915671.

Q What is a Creative Commons licence?

A The Creative Commons website has examples of the different licences available.