More from the Blog

Authoritarianism, populism and political ecology

by Amber Huff and Levi van Sant Based on a number of events convened under the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative, we introduce a series of interventions that explore how political ecologies can help us to better understand and confront the emergence of contemporary authoritarian populism. Shaped by the crises of progressive neoliberalism – and its contradictory nexus of elite cosmopolitanism,…

Enabling Innovations

At the launch of STEPS America Latina in 2015, one of the themes that we focused on at our opening event was what we called ‘enabling’ innovations. These are new institutions, policies or technologies that are not only, themselves, a novel way of doing something or of solving a problem, but that also encourage and…

The challenges of open science

On Friday, November 2nd, the Argentine Congress of Open and Citizen Science (CIACIAR) was held at the University of San Martín, organized by CENIT and Cientópolis, and sponsored by STEPS Latin America. It was a meeting attended by more than 200 people among researchers, scientists, disseminators of science and technology, and university students from Buenos…

Bioleft open seeds transference. Photo: Ana María García.

From digital commons to nurturing social relationships: How to practice open source ideas with seeds?

What happens when you try to transfer open source ideas beyond the digital world? In Argentina we organized a workshop on open hardware and immediately afterward an event on open seeds. Some of the difficulties involved in transferring open source ideas from virtual to more material settings, and from communities of practitioners comfortable with networked, digital culture, to those that are less so, were readily apparent.

Creating bridges in Xochimilco through the “Pathways to Sustainability Game”

By Beatriz Ruizpalacios, Lakshmi Charli-Joseph, Hallie Eakin, J. Mario Siqueiros-García, Rebecca Shelton, Pathways Network The urban wetland in Xochimilco, Mexico City, and the traditional agricultural areas within it, are undergoing rapid change and degradation, driven in part by the lack of regulation of urban growth near and within the wetland ecosystem. Strategizing on the best…

Open and Citizen Science Congress

On November 2nd, starting at 9 a.m. the second edition of the Open and Citizen Science Congress will be held at the University of San Martín, Buenos Aires. The event seeks to bring together different actors involved in open science initiatives. There will be open workshops, posters, debates, talks and an art and science fair….

workshops and meetings

Transformation Labs: Six stories of change

These six stories are summaries of T-Labs (Transformation Labs) carried out by the Pathways Network between 2016 and 2018. The project worked in Mexico, the UK, India, Argentina, China and Kenya. The text is excerpted from the booklet T-Labs: A Practical Guide, published in October 2018. Researchers from the Pathways Network have contributed to each…

Bioleft Project in Comunes meeting

On August 15th, Anabel Marin presented the Bioleft project within the Comunes meeting, on behalf of an interdisciplinary team of members from CENIT, the University of Buenos Aires and CONICET. The meeting was held in Buenos Aires, where an audience of 50 people listened attentively, interested in free and collaborative culture. It is the first…

Open Science Map: Charting the development of Open Science practices in Latin America

Open Science represents a new approach in scientific knowledge based on collaborative work and new ways of spreading information using digital technologies. There are many benefits that come with open science practices such as different forms of participation, a more efficient production of knowledge and alternative trajectories of social and technological development. In Latin America,…

Green fields with grazing animals

In South Africa’s land reform, class matters

In South Africa’s former ‘homelands’ the government is trying to ‘revive’ agriculture. These areas are a legacy of the 1913 and 1936 land acts, which reserved only 13% of the land for black South Africans, and where most victims of forced removals were relocated. One of the pillars of the government’s strategy is to support…

A car drives on a mountain road with clouds of smoke in the background

What do we do about the heatwave?

The heatwave has turned deadly. Tinder-dry fields and forests in Europe, most dramatically in Greece, have burst into flames, with catastrophic results. Crops are failing; for some, the health risks of the heat are critical. These events have added urgency and weight to the calls to put the weather in context. A hot day is…

Three projects that explore open and collaborative production

Over the last decade, radically open and collaborative forms of producing knowledge and material artifacts have been gaining ground, accelerated by the advance of new technologies. Researchers from STEPS Latin America and CENIT (Research Center for Transformation), amongst many others, have been analyzing and contributing to initiatives that explore such alternative forms production. So what…

Round icon with colours representing the Sustainable Development Goals

How can the Sustainable Development Goals be transformative?

The theme of this year’s High-level Political Forum on sustainable development is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.” The HLPF meets every year to review progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s event runs from 9-18 July, with a ministerial meeting on 16-18 July. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to be transformative: they focus…

A colourful chart showing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Democratizing public health and urban sustainability: how can nexus framings be useful?

By Saurabh Arora (SPRU, University of Sussex, UK) and Leandro Giatti (SPH, USP, Brazil) Public health and urban sustainability are inextricably linked. The World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasized this, drawing attention to the critical interdependence of the UN’s third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) – ‘good health and well-being’ – with ‘sustainable cities and communities’ and…

Are Elsevier corrupting open science in Europe?

Elsevier – one of the largest and most notorious scholarly publishers – are monitoring Open Science in the EU on behalf of the European Commission. Jon Tennant argues that they cannot be trusted. Open Science is all about making science work better so that it can address the world’s challenges. It has been at the…

Elif Sarican speaks as part of a panel at the 'Report from Rojava: Revolution at a Crossroads' event

Report from Rojava: Revolution at a Crossroads

Rojava’s revolution is one of the most promising projects of democratization and social transformation afoot in the current conjuncture in the Middle East. Its context within the ongoing Syrian War – a war entangling local, regional, and global powers – marks it as highly precarious. Those struggling for positive societal transformation require solidarity with those…

Dialogues along Plural Pathways: STEPS researchers and Summer School participants in conversation

Following the STEPS Summer School in May 2018, this blog post is a conversation convened by three participants, Nimisha Agarwal, Ankita Rastogi and Jessica Cockburn. It includes introductions to the STEPS Centre’s ideas on six topics by STEPS researchers, and responses to each by different participants at the Summer School, drawing on their own knowledge…

Should we blame livestock for climate change?

Livestock are essential to rural economies and livelihoods across the world. But are these animals contributing to planetary destruction through greenhouse gas emissions? Estimates suggest that 14.5% of all anthropogenic GHG emissions are from livestock, and nearly all of this is from grazing ruminants. But what to do about it? This is a big debate,…

rural scene in Tamil Nadu

Uncovering Transgressive Solidarities

By Divya Sharma, Relational Pathways project In the Relational Pathways project, we are trying to understand the pathways in and out of poverty for farmers in India and Kenya. ‘Green Revolutions’ are a prominent way of discussing how farmers can benefit from technology. In Tamil Nadu, India, we have been using a technique called ‘life…

Food

Narratives of scarcity and the global land rush

by Ian Scoones Narratives of scarcity dominate policy discourses about resources, including land. This was certainly the case during the peak of the global land rush, as we show in a paper recently published online in Geoforum (open access, which is part of a forthcoming special issue on the politics of scarcity) The paper is written with Rebecca…

Contextualising life histories in Tamil Nadu

by Divya Sharma and V. Gajendra, Relational Pathways project In the Relational Pathways project we are trying to understand the pathways in and out of poverty for farmers in India and Kenya. ‘Green Revolutions’ are a prominent way of discussing how farmers can benefit from technology. In Tamil Nadu, India, we have been using a…

Why killing reindeer is poor science

The Norwegian state has ordered Sami reindeer owners to reduce the size of their herds to the ‘carrying capacity’ deemed acceptable by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, arguing that high stocking rates detrimentally affect the fragile tundra ecosystem. Herder Jovvset Ánte Sara has been battling the state in the courts, resisting the requirement to reduce his…

The many futures of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa

A 2016 article by Andy Catley, Jeremy Lind and Ian Scoones – The futures of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa: pathways of growth and change – outlines the different pathways of change emerging in the Horn of Africa. It is published in the Revue scientifique et technique (International Office of Epizootics) and is part of a special issue edited by…

Open science hardware across the Andes

After an intense programme of Open Scientific Hardware (OScH) workshops in Argentina and Chile, researchers André Chagas (University of Tübingen) and Ben Paffhausen (Freie Universität, Berlin) go back home with less material in their luggage but with a bunch of future projects, new friends, stories… And empanadas, for sure! The workshops were organised by Fernan…

Pastoralism is changing in the Horn of Africa

A few weeks back, Ian Scoones, representing the PASTRES project, joined Andy Catley and Peter Little in a webinar organised by the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University, and chaired by Greg Gottlieb, the Center’s director. The one-hour webinar, aimed at policymakers, donors and field practitioners, can be listened to again here. It gets going about 6 minutes…

Boundary object

The Transformation Labs (T-Labs) approach to change

The PATHWAYS Network is exploring solutions to problems in six sites (in Argentina, China, Kenya, India, Mexico and the UK) where socio-ecological systems are transforming. To intervene in these transformations, the project is convening multi-stakeholder processes called ‘transformation labs’ (T-Labs) in order to foster change in the systems being studied by each hub.

Tomato seeds growing

Seeding ideas: knowledge brokering and recombination for agricultural transformations

by Adrian Ely, Paddy Van Zwanenberg, Elise Wach, Martin Obaya and Almendra Cremaschi Straight after the ‘Transformations 2017’ conference, the ‘Pathways’ network gathered at the mid-point in our three year project to take stock. This included discussions in ‘pairs’ of hubs, including reflecting on our ‘theories of change’. In our case, the UK and Argentina…

Forked lightning

How to embrace the darkness

In her book Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit offers a view of uncertainty that may seem surprising. Uncertainty might seem to go hand in hand with fear and even despair – the state of hopelessness which the book guards us against. But for Solnit, uncertainty isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it’s more…

Flooded avenue in Mumbai with only the tops of cars showing above the water

Why Mumbai’s floods are an urban planning disaster

by Hans Nicolai Adam, Lyla Mehta and D. Parthasarathy, Climate Change, Uncertainty and Transformation project As Houston was inundated by ‘biblical’ rainfall and grapples with extreme flooding and its aftermath, another coastal megacity on the other side of the globe also experienced destructive flooding, albeit on a lesser scale. Within the span of a couple…

tending vegetables

A day in the Chinampas

In the wetlands of Xochimilco in Mexico, farming is carried out in a system going back to Mesoamerican times, in chinampas – rectangular floating fields growing crops on a shallow lake. The area is changing rapidly with competing pressures from farming, urbanization and pollution, and we’ve been exploring how local people can respond to this…

Garden cultivation

How Kerala is making the transition towards healthy, home-grown food

In Kerala, agri-food systems are in transition towards self-reliance and sustainability. Through bringing traditional gardening into the mainstream food agenda, and adopting technologies and practices like agroecology, growers and consumers in Kerala are trying to overcome the impacts of external food dependency and related vulnerabilities. Debates on sustainable food systems are still largely trapped in…

Solar power

Unpacking sustainabilities in diverse transitions contexts: Four key lessons from empirical research

In the late 18th century, an Indian philosopher and religious leader offered a piece of knowledge to his followers. Taking into account the diverse religious faiths that exist in societies, he proclaimed that there are as many ways [to God] as there are faiths. The plurality of perspectives and interpretations in sustainability debates astonishingly reminds…

Training group in Lomerio

Research, convening and bridging: sharing insights from the ISSC’s Transformative Knowledge Networks

by Adrian Ely (co-lead, ‘Pathways’ Network), with contributions from Joanes Atela, Mirna Inturias, Dylan McGarry, Iokiñe Rodríguez & Patrick Van Zwanenberg Working with the World Social Science Council’s ‘Transformations to Sustainability’ programme brings the privilege of engaging with an incredible range of scholars and practitioners from across the globe. The programme’s three transformative knowledge networks…

Xi Jinping and François Hollande in Paris

Can China be a global climate leader?

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement has sparked off another round of intense global discussion on China’s potential as a global leader on climate. Since last week, there appears to be a widespread desire for China and Europe to forge a stronger alliance to lead global efforts…

Discussion round a table

Rethinking transformative pathways to equitable growth in Kenya: key research options for the Kenya’s Newton Utafiti Fund

Kenya has witnessed a proliferation of research interventions on both international and national fronts. The country is a host to renowned research and development agencies such as the CGIAR, UN bodies plus several regional research, advocacy and policy bodies all of which are working to fix Kenya’s and wider Africa’s sustainability challenges.  Through these interventions,…

Sunset in Kenya

Beyond policy statements: how politics and ecology combine in land, water and forests

Governing land, water and forests (so-called ‘nexus’ resources) is critical for sustaining livelihoods, especially in the face of emerging shocks such as climate change. This also means that the effectiveness of interventions aimed at addressing climate change and other livelihood issues will heavily depend on how these resources are governed – including how they are…

Submarine

Is Trident Influencing UK Energy Policy?

What explains the UK government’s enthusiasm for nuclear power, despite its various problems – including technical difficulties and cost? Could one hidden factor be the pressure to support the infrastructure needed for military programmes such as Trident? SPRU researcher Philip Johnstone and our co-director Andy Stirling have been researching this question, and explore their findings…

water pipe

Just another drop in the bucket on World Water Day?

Each year, the United Nations uses World Water Day as an opportunity to raise awareness and demand action around the global water crisis. Each year, there is a theme. This year’s theme is wastewater, framed as a ‘grossly undervalued as a potentially affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials’ (pdf)….

Cement factory sending fumes up into the sky.

Exploring the social impacts of green transformations in China

pA transformation lab (T-Lab) focused on China’s green transformation policy and its impacts was held in Shijiazhuang City, Hebei Province on October 22, 2016. The T-lab intended to identify  problems created through the implementation of local “green transformation” policies and sustainable pathways for the future. It was entitled “Transformative pathways to sustainability: Exploring the social…

City street

How understanding politics and science can help create resilient cities

A new article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) explores how urban resilience can be strengthened by considering social and political norms, values and behaviours alongside engineering and environmental science approaches. The article, Urban resilience efforts must consider social and political forces, is written by colleagues at Arizona State University and UNAM…

world map made out of food

How open science practices in evaluation systems can make research socially relevant for developing countries

Researchers’ choices are inevitably affected by assessment systems. This often means pursuing publication in a high-impact journal and topics that appeal to the international scientific community. For researchers from developing countries, this often also means focusing on other countries or choosing one aspect of their own country that has such international appeal. Consequently, researchers’ activities…

water in mozambique

From remunicipalisation to reprivatisation of water? The case of Mozambique

After widespread privatisation in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, many water services around the world began to be transferred back into public control. This ‘remunicipalisation’ has been welcomed by the Transnational Institute and like-minded organisations, who suggest that ‘remunicipalisation is here to stay’ (Lobina et al., 2014). While I am sympathetic to this work on…

People sit around a table talking about sustainable food systems.

Why local land matters for sustainable food systems

Land presents both challenges and opportunities for establishing sustainable food systems. That is one of the learning points from a workshop in Brighton on 7 December 2016. Stakeholders joining the discussions included local small-scale producers, retailers of sustainable produce, non-governmental organisations (Food Matters and The Gaia Foundation), and researchers from the University of Sussex and…

climate change

COP22: Climate change and innovation

The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the UNFCCC took place from 7-18 November 2016. Read research and opinion from STEPS on what happens next. This year’s COP comes shortly after the Paris Agreement enters into force. The agreement aims to keep global temperature rise this century to under 2 degrees….

A woman walks along a pipe with a bucket in her hand.

The New Urban Agenda and its 47 inclusions

  Inclusion can be a powerful term, particularly when applied to cities and urbanisation. It focuses attention on the means through which exclusion and inequality are produced and reproduced, and on achieving a more just ‘inclusion’. This is lost, however, when inclusion becomes a catch-all for social aspirations. Other aspirational terms, including sustainability and resilience,…

biogas in italy

Hot debate about biogas: lessons from Italy

A new STEPS working paper by Bianca Cavicchi and Adrian Ely examines the history of biogas as a source of energy in the region of Emilia Romagna, Northern Italy. Over the last few decades, the potential of biogas in Emilia Romagna has been explored and debated by different agencies and people. But it has not…

Close up image of circuit board lines.

What can we learn from digital transformations?

by Nathan Oxley and Adrian Smith With climate change, inequality, and injustice putting pressure on societies around the world, it often seems that incremental change towards sustainable development is not enough. A growing number and variety of alliances between organisations across civil society, business, politicians and states are calling for something more transformational. So are…

The sugar rush in southern Africa

In a new post on his Zimbabweland blog, STEPS director Ian Scoones discusses a new special issue looking at sugar in South Africa. “It is a good moment to review the political economy of sugar in southern Africa. This is what a new open access special issue of the Journal of Southern African Studies does….

Six grassroots innovation movements, and why they matter

Innovation is increasingly said to be vital for responding to global challenges like sustainable development. Often overlooked, however, is the fact that networks of community groups, activists and researchers have been innovating grassroots solutions for social justice and environmental sustainability for decades. A new STEPS book, Grassroots Innovation Movements (Routledge, 2016) examines six such movements…

Recipe for a Green Economy

Why aren’t the media talking more about climate change and population growth? asked Nigel Chapman, the Director of the BBC World Service and Trust from 2004 to 2009, speaking at the Green Economy Coalition (GEC) Global meeting in London this week, on how to connect better with audiences about a Green Economy. He quoted a…

Landmarks: how to get up close and personal with nature

I’ve just finished reading Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane, and it’s a must-read for anyone interested in sustainability and language. Each chapter focuses on one or two authors who’ve made deep impressions on Macfarlane through their writing about the natural world – including Nan Shepherd’s deep explorations of the Cairngorms, Roger Deakin’s explorations of wild swimming,…

Science, Brexit and ‘post-truth’ politics

STEPS co-director Andy Stirling is one of six researchers writing in the Guardian on ‘science after Brexit’. A longer version of his part of the Guardian article is below. The current woes of British democracy are grim and momentous. This is no time for gratuitous piggy-backing of other issues. The early indications of ‘Brexit’ specifically…

Brexit and development

As Britain faces the prospect of leaving the European Union, here’s a couple of blog posts on what the referendum result might mean for the UK’s role in international development. Ian Scoones on Brexit and Africa: Why Britain’s Decision to leave the EU is bad news for Africa  “The decision will fundamentally affect the continent’s…

Understanding the Anthropocene: blog series

We now live in an era where humankind has become the dominant force behind global environmental change. Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer introduced the term “Anthropocene” to reflect the growing impacts of human activities on the earth and the atmosphere. Sixteen years on from its introduction, it’s clear that the concept has gained traction in…

Painting a new picture of development

Can the Sustainable Development Goals trigger a new approach to development in the world’s Least Developed Countries? On Monday, Least Developed Country experts from around the world gathered in London for a dialogue event to discuss how the world’s poorest countries relate to the new global goals. Organised by the Least Developed Countries Independent Expert…

How do we reform fossil fuel subsidies?

The idea of reforming fossil fuel subsidies is attracting attention in both academic and policy circles. The environmental and economic aspects of subsidies and their reform have been much debated, but the political aspects are less prominent in the discussion. STEPS member Peter Newell gave a keynote talk at ‘The Politics of Fossil Fuel Subsidies…

The financialisation of nature

Financialization describes an economic system or process that aims to reduce all values into a financial instrument. As part of this process, nature is treated as a private resource or financial asset with neo-liberal, market-based approaches increasingly being adopted to protect the environment, such as payments for ecosystems processes. The School of Global Studies (through…

Image of a car on a dusty street.

In the world’s poorest countries, cities could be the test for the Sustainable Development Goals

Ahead of a dialogue event on 13 June, STEPS member Gordon McGranahan discusses how the Sustainable Development Goals present challenges and opportunities for urbanisation in the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The UN’s 2030 Agenda presents a dazzling array of Sustainable Development Goals, claims they are integrated and indivisible, and pledges that no one will…

Learning from the past about rapid transition

What can history teach us for the task of rapid transition in the face of climate change and corrosive inequality? Historian Molly Conisbee, a speaker at this week’s Transformations events at the Hay Festival, has written about how communities adapted during Britain’s dramatic urban growth and upheaval in the 18th and 19th centuries. In a…

The Wicked Foundations of the Anthropocene

The Anthropocene describes how human society has now become the dominant force on Earth’s geology and ecosystems. The notion of the Anthropocene highlights a confounding contradiction: we have an unprecedented ability to control the world around us, yet we are using this power to destroy the preconditions for our own existence, and we seem strangely…

Call for papers: Transformations 2017

A call for papers has been issued for the Transformations 2017 conference in Dundee, UK. Transformations 2017 is the third in a biennial series of international interdisciplinary conferences that focuses on transformations towards sustainability: addressing contemporary challenges and creating conditions for enhancing people’s wellbeing, today and in the future, while strengthening the Earth’s support system.

How can the STEPS pathways approach help us understand the Anthropocene?

by Mathew Bukhi Mabele (Department of Geography, University of Zurich) and Jacob Weger (Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia) It has been sixteen years since Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer first introduced the term ‘Anthropocene’ to signify that the ‘growing impacts of human activities on earth and atmosphere’ had reached planetary proportions. Their central argument is…

Group photo

Seeking sustainable transformations around the world

The new ‘Pathways’ Network, which explores transformations to sustainability in 6 cases around the world, had its opening workshop in Buenos Aires on 24-27 April 2016. At the workshop, participants from Sweden, South Africa, and ‘hubs’ in Kenya, the UK, Argentina, USA/Mexico, India and China discussed research questions and how best to share learning.

How do we link research and action for sustainability?

In March, researchers, knowledge brokers and funders gathered in Pretoria, South Africa to share lessons and experiences on how a decade of ESRC-DFID research support has impacted on poverty reduction. The Conference came just a few months after the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  These goals articulate the value of research and capacity…

Puzzling questions on tackling antibiotic resistance

Last week’s conference on One Health for the Real World was an enriching experience. All the participants agreed that One Health means linking together our understandings of, and responses to, human, livestock and ecosystem health. See for example, this blog by Ian Scoones. There was also widespread agreement that doing so was important, although in…

Discussing low carbon urban mobility in China

On Sunday 13th March, the ‘Low Carbon Innovation in China: Prospects, Politics and Practice’ project held the closing workshop of its research package on urban e-mobilities at the Shenzhen Graduate School of Tsinghua University. The event involved over 50 delegates including senior government officials, automotive companies, mobility entrepreneurs, leading academics, NGOs and students to discuss…

Uncertainty and Climate Change in India

Harbouring one of the largest mangrove forest tracks in the world, the Sunderbans cover a sizeable area in southern Bangladesh and east India. Formed by the confluence of three major rivers, the deltaic region which the Sunderbans are part of, is famed for its tiger habitats and dynamic ecology. Researchers from a Norwegian Research Council-funded and Noragric-led project…

Why we need Degrowth

In this post, Giorgos Kallis responds to a three-part critique by Andy Stirling of his ideas on the ‘Degrowth Hypothesis’. You can read Andy’s blog posts here: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 Andy Stirling’s three-part blog intervention on the occasion of my lecture at Sussex is much appreciated. I am particularly thankful…

Exporting China and Brazil’s agricultural know-how to Africa

Can China and Brazil use their home grown agricultural knowledge, which has driven phenomenal agricultural productivity at home, to transform agriculture in Africa? That was one of many questions discussed at the Contested Agronomy conference. When Lidia Cabral interviewed a Brazilian agronomist from Embrapa, Brazil’s agricultural research corporation in Mozambique, he talked to her about…

To struggle against and to build with: what does student activism in Delhi mean for pathways to justice?

At the weekend, Umar Khalid, one of the six student activists accused in Delhi’s ‘anti-nationalism scandal’ unfolded by the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Modi, returned to the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). In a rousing speech on Sunday night, he made a persuasive case for “anti-nationals of the world [to] unite”. Echoing…

People riding motorbikes in Chennai

The challenges of creating new visions for sustainable urbanisation in India

by Poonam Pandey, from the Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University. A two-day conference organised at Jawaharlal Nehru University, in collaboration with the STEPS centre, raised questions about how to bring about critical new thinking on sustainable urbanisation in India. For the creation of new visions for a sustainable city the foremost questions to be…

Contested Agronomy: more heat than light?

by Jim Sumberg, John Thompson, Ken Giller and Jens Andersson Agriculture, and the agronomic research that supports it, will be critical in making sustainable, equitable and secure development a reality. Surprisingly however, there seems to be increasing contestation around the priorities and methods used by agronomists, and the technologies that they develop and promote. Why…

Solidarity with JNU

We in the STEPS Centre stand in full solidarity and support for our colleagues at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), India.  We were distressed to hear of the circumstances leading to the arrests and raids carried out on the JNU campus in the last few days, and the subsequent events, including violent assaults on faculty and students. Universities…

What would a sustainable city look like?

On Thursday, India announced the first 20 cities to receive funding to become ‘Smart Cities’. It’s a high profile mission to modernise and transform urban infrastructure, especially using digital technologies like sensor networks and data centres. Smart cities are one response to the huge challenges facing urban India. The conference on pathways to sustainable urbanisation,…

How do we end the dominance of rich countries over sustainability science?

by Patrick van Zwanenberg, Anabel Marin & Adrian Ely With the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN last year, SciDev.Net has published a timely report on the global status of sustainability science. Sustainability science (defined as ‘research that supports and drives sustainable development’) is growing significantly as a proportion of world scientific output,…

Four neglected challenges for China’s low carbon future

Last year ended with a momentous political step forward on climate change. The Paris Agreement, signed at the COP21 climate conference in December, requires countries to work together to meet and surpass their ‘intended nationally determined contributions’ (INDCs) with an objective of limiting global average temperature change to 2⁰C, and an aspiration of keeping within…

In search of transformations at COP21

The International Social Science Council has published interviews from the COP21 climate conference with three researchers who are part of their ‘Transformations to Sustainability programme’. The interviewees include STEPS researcher Adrian Ely, and Cosmas Ochieng, director of ACTS, one of the institutions in the STEPS Africa Sustainability Hub. The Africa hub was an important partner…

Call for papers: EASST/4S session on makers, manufacturers and politics of digital fabrication

STEPS member Adrian Smith is one of the organisers of a session at this year’s EASST/4S conference. The session title is ‘Digital fabrications amongst hackers, makers and manufacturers: whose “industrial revolution”?’ The conference itself (title: ‘Science and technology by other means: exploring collectives, spaces and futures’) is on 31 August until 3 September in Barcelona,…

Was COP21 a failure or a success?

In the aftermath of the COP21 climate change conference, the debate over whether the Paris Agreement is a success or a failure is going full blast. Among other things, the deal sets a high aspirational goal to limit warming below 2C and strive to keep temperatures at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. This is a far…

Video: Andy Stirling on research methods and policy

In this video, STEPS Co-director Andy Stirling talks about the need to fully understand what qualitative and quantitative methods are before evaluating their role in science policy making. Andy’s presentation was part of the National Centre for Research Methods seminar held in British Academy, London on 27 October 2015. More on Methods Browse our Methods…

Carbon forestry in Africa: who wins?

2015 is a crucial moment for sustainability and climate change, with the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Paris following hard on the heels of the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals. What to do about carbon, forests, and forest management are crucial questions in reaching global agreements. But as recent research in Africa’s forest landscapes…

Escaping the frames of war

The world is now witnessing yet one further bout in a perennial tragedy. As so often before, organised violence is being used as an instrument of politics. This is no less obscene for being so familiar. And the pathology is all the more distressing, for being so pervasive. A diversity of political perspectives are implicated….

Africa’s land rush

There is a rush on for African farmland – a phenomenon unmatched since colonial times. Africa’s land rush, and the implications for rural livelihoods and agrarian change, is the subject of a new book that I have edited together with Ruth Hall (from PLAAS at UWC, South Africa) and Dzodzi Tsikata (ISSER, University of Ghana at Legon)….

How the Water-Energy-Food ‘Nexus’ in Asia affects real lives

By Carl Middleton, Center for Social Development Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University In Asia and globally, the water-energy-food nexus has received growing attention from policy makers, researchers, and practitioners. A key premise of ‘the nexus’ is that water use is interdependent with energy and food production. Thus, from a nexus viewpoint, the relationship between…

Call for papers: 2016 Initiatives in Critical Agrarian Studies (ICAS) colloquium

A call for papers has been issued for the international colloquium on Global governance/politics, climate justice & agrarian/social justice: linkages and challenges on 4-5 February 2016 in The Hague, Netherlands. Among the speakers will be STEPS Centre director Ian Scoones. The colloquium is organised by the Initiatives in Critical Agrarian Studies (ICAS), a community of…

Opening up science and development in Latin America

STEPS América Latina is the latest regional hub of the Pathways to Sustainability global consortium to be launched. The launch event, which took place on 5-6 November in Buenos Aires, brought together diverse perspectives on how pathways to sustainability can be identified, analysed and nurtured. The first day brought together two highly connected topics: ‘inclusive…

What is Ecological Civilisation? 

The Chinese Communist Party last week held its annual plenum in Beijing at which details of the country’s 13th Five Year Plan, from 2016 to 2020, were set out for the first time. The plan, say commentators, will be notably green, with an emphasis on an economic transition to slower, innovation-led growth, and more stringent…

Making new worlds together

How could we end up in this world nobody ever wanted? This question, posed by Justyna Swat from POC21 during her talk at Monday’s event on makerspaces and sustainability, has no short answer. It also implies a further question: if you could shape the world you wanted, what would it look like? Shared workshops –…

The political economy of small-scale mining in Zimbabwe

There was much discussion about small-scale and artisanal mining at the STEPS Centre’s Resource Politics conference last month. This is where resources and politics come together; perhaps especially so in Zimbabwe. Ever since the enactment of  Zimbabwe’s Mines and Minerals Act, which gives the state rights over mineral resources wherever they are found, mining has been controversial. In the colonial period,…

Making and Sustainability

At an event at the Machines Room in London on 26 October, we discussed the roles that maker communities and the places where they interact can play in sustainable development. Update (13 June 2017): Adrian Smith and Ann Light have written an article arising from their learning from this event (see below). The event was…

Graph showing the growth of the OpenDOAR database in Argentina

Open Access and Open Science in Argentina

In this OCSDNet blogpost for Open Access Week 2015, Mariano Fressoli and Valeria Arza write about Open Access digital repositories and the culture of Open Science in Argentina.  It’s not uncommon to hear that scientific knowledge is “universal” and “beneficial to us all.” However, accessing this knowledge is often complicated, particularly in countries that are…

What can China teach India about dealing with waste?

by Bharati Chaturvedi and Ashish Chaturvedi Just past the first anniversary of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, as we ruminate about the achievements of the Modi government’s much-vaunted programme, it might also be worthwhile to take a look at what our next-door competitor and inspiration China has done about waste. Especially, other people’s waste. China’s rise as…

Exploring ‘dynamic sustainabilities’ in the Anthropocene

In this post, STEPS Summer School alumnus Mathew Bukhi Mabele explains plans for a session on ‘Exploring ‘dynamic sustainabilities’ in the Anthropocene’, which will feature at the 6th Annual Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference at the University of Kentucky, on February 26 – 27, 2016.   Jacob Weger and myself were very lucky to participate at the 2015…

Time to rei(g)n back the Anthropocene?

I was very lucky to be able to participate in last week’s Stockholm Resilience Centre conference on ‘Transformations 2015: People and Planet in the Anthropocene‘. Involving a dynamic and highly policy-influential global interdisciplinary community, this was a large, friendly and very interactive meeting. It more-than-fully lived up to the very high standards set by earlier…

Why livelihoods perspectives still matter

Livelihoods perspectives have become increasingly central to discussions of rural development over the past few decades. They have offered a way of integrating sectoral concerns and rooting development in the specifics of different settings. Central to livelihoods perspectives is an understanding of what people do to make a living in diverse circumstances and social contexts….

How can African agriculture adapt to an uncertain climate? 

 By Stephen Whitfield, Lecturer: Climate Change & Food Security, University of Leeds  Often operating at the margins of sustainability, for smallholder farming systems in Africa the challenge of adapting to uncertain climatic change is particularly acute. Across international research and development programmes, a variety of technologies, agronomic innovations, and cropping systems are advocated as the means to a green revolution; a future…

Bringing vehicle sharing to China

by Dr Dennis Zuev (Research Associate, Lancaster University) & Dr David Tyfield (Reader, Lancaster University) Car-sharing is the fastest growing urban mobility innovation worldwide but is yet to take off in Chinese cities. According to a recent Roland Berger report, the Chinese car sharing market is still developing, but it has very high potential. It is expected to grow around 80% per year until 2018. There are…

Moving beyond products to material culture

Prototyping or debating sustainable developments in makerspaces? In the previous blog I introduced some of the diverse ways that makerspaces are helping cultivate sustainable developments. Admittedly, these initiatives do not represent the totality of makerspaces, where many projects and activities are oblivious to demands for sustainable developments. In this blog I discuss some of the challenges…

Why should we seek sustainable developments in makerspaces?

Community-based workshops like hackerspaces, fablabs and makerspaces, equipped with design, prototyping and fabrication tools have spread rapidly in recent years. Interest in the social, economic and environmental possibilities of these spaces has grown too. Amidst the claims and aims people bring to this collaborative flourishing of tool-based creativity is an argument that makerspaces can become experimental sites for the pursuit of…

Sustainability: the next 50 years

Accelerating sustainability is a challenge that defines our era. A new Institute of Development Studies (IDS) paper by Hubert Schmitz and Ian Scoones, Accelerating Sustainability: Why Political Economy Matters (pdf), brings together what we can learn from development studies and from sustainability studies to understand this challenge and move forward. Their starting point is that…

BEAM Exchange Research: Call for proposals

BEAM Exchange is investing in a significant research programme to develop new knowledge that is authoritative and accessible around critical questions about market systems approaches. A call for proposals has been issued for phase two of the research programme. BEAM is seeking research that builds stronger bridges between theory and practice.

In defence of ethics

Michael Hauskeller writes in defence of ethics: “We are not sitting in an evolutionary elevator that has only two directions: up and down. Instead, there are many different ways of going up and going forward, many different ways of going down and backwards, and many different ways of going sideways, or around in circles, or…

Buba river

Rethinking Africa’s sustainable development pathways

Sustainable development (SD), brought into the spotlight with this week’s UN summit, remains a landmark policy and global development agenda since the 1992 Convention on Environment and Development. Anchored on the Brutland Commission report ‘Our Common Future’, sustainable development articulates the urge to harmonise the temporal and spatial redistribution of development with a natural resource…

Who writes international climate change reports?

Guest blog by Esteve Corbera (ICTA-UAB, Spain) This week in the journal Nature Climate Change, colleagues and I published an analysis of who has participated in the latest 5AR mitigation report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We analyse North-South representation, institutional pathways, co-authorship patterns and disciplinary backgrounds, using Social Network Analysis of…

Resource politics: living in the Anthropocene

By Ian Scoones, Director of the STEPS Centre This week we are hosting a major conference at the STEPS Centre at Sussex on resource politics. There are panels looking at everything from mining to wildlife to carbon to water, with big themes cross-cutting on: Scarcity, politics and securitization; Resource grabbing; Governance, elites, citizenship and democracy;…

Conference: Resource Politics 2015

This year’s STEPS Centre conference, Resource Politics: transforming pathways to sustainability, took place from 7-9 September 2015 at the Institute of Development Studies. Plenary speakers include Rohan D’Souza, Betsy Hartmann, Melissa Leach, Johan Rockström, Michael J. Watts and Myint Zaw. Materials from the conference are now online, including a Storify, graphic panels, photos and blog…

More about the research

Although reliable numbers are hard to come by, Myanmar pig production is expected to grow rapidly over the coming decades. Livestock intensification This growth is being accompanied by an intensification of both pig production (the backyards and farms on which pigs are bred) and the pig supply-chain (the stages pigs pass through from farmer to…

Book: Gender Equality and Sustainable Development

A new book, Gender Equality and Sustainable Development, edited by Melissa Leach, has been published in the STEPS Centre’s Pathways to Sustainability book series. For pathways to be truly sustainable and advance gender equality and the rights and capabilities of women and girls, those whose lives and well-being are at stake must be involved in…

Submerged origins of UK nuclear lock-in?

By Andy Stirling, STEPS Co-Director and Phil Johnstone, Research Fellow at SPRU – Science Policy Research Unit Many legitimately contrasting views are possible on the pros and cons of nuclear power. But when seen in a global context, successive UK Governments are quite striking in their tendencies to adopt partisan positions. Growing evidence is persistently…

Cecil the Lion and Zimbabwe’s conservation carve-up

The huge uproar generated by the shooting of Cecil the lion provides a fascinating lens into Zimbabwe’s new elite land politics and the relationship between humans and “wild” nature. The country’s extensive game ranches and conservancies were mostly subject to land reform in the early 2000s. Many of the former owners were evicted, along with…

Does the Anthropocene mean we have to ‘put democracy on hold’?

Our co-director Andy Stirling is at the 2015 conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences in Berlin today, and sent us this abstract of his keynote, ‘Emancipating Transformations: from Anthropocene control to culturing systems’: “Current global environmental governance reverberates with talk of a new ‘Anthropocene epoch’ defined by ‘human domination’, in which a…

Sussex Sustainability Research Programme seeks new Director

The University of Sussex is recruiting a Director for its Sussex Sustainability Research Programme. Initiated this year, SSRP spans four of the University’s Schools and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), aiming to develop a world-leading programme in sustainability research. The members of SSRP include the School of Life Sciences, SPRU, the School of Business,…

Pollution in the Hindon River

This month, the Hindustan Times featured a short series of articles about the Hindon river and its tributaries. The Hindon runs through Ghaziabad, one of the study sites in our project on Risks and Responses to Urban Futures. The paper reports that the waters of the Hindon are severely depleted after groundwater extraction, and pollution…

Welcoming the medics to the One Health movement

The Ebola epidemic alerted many to the interconnectedness of human, animal and environmental health. The medical community has traditionally lagged behind animal health and ecosystem experts in embracing One Health, the predominant movement espousing this approach, but now a report from a Lancet and Rockefeller Foundation co-convened Commission on Planetary Health appears to do so enthusiastically…

Partners

The Myanmar Pig Partnership comprises a multidisciplinary team including vets, microbiologists and social anthropologists from across the UK, Myanmar and Vietnam. There are four partners: The University of Cambridge (lead) The STEPS Centre Myanmar Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department University of Oxford Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam There are also two official collaborating institutions: The Food…

Hand holding maize seeds / Photo: Speak-It films

Global lessons for agricultural sustainability from GM crops

Governing Agricultural Sustainability: Global lessons from GM crops is the latest title in the STEPS Centre’s Pathways to Sustainability book series. Editor Phil Macnaghten introduces its reframing of the GM debate explored in the book. By Phil Macnaghten, Professor of Technology and International Development, Wageningen University ‘Can GM crops help to feed the world?’ It…

For or against GM crops? Other positions are available

Academic cheerleaders for biotechnology corporations need better arguments if they want to persuade the public, write Erik Millstone, Andy Stirling and Dominic Glover, introducing their article in a forthcoming edition of Issues in Science and Technology (PDF). Companies involved in crop genetic engineering (GE) see themselves as principled heroes in a struggle against opportunistic reactionaries….

Restart Podcast: Adrian Smith on grassroots innovation

The London-based Restart project, which promotes community repair for electronics, interviewed STEPS researcher Adrian Smith for their latest podcast, ‘Searching for the roots of grassroots innovation’. In it, Adrian discusses our historical and comparative project on ‘grassroots innovation’, including the Lucas Plan, the origins of 1980s tech networks in London, and the wider context of community…

STEPS Director Ian Scoones wins ESRC Impact Award

STEPS Director Ian Scoones was a winner of the Outstanding International Impact Award at the ESRC’s 50th anniversary Celebrating Impact Award ceremony, for his work on rural livelihoods in Zimbabwe. ESRC Blog: Building impact over time: experiences from Zimbabwe by Ian Scoones The awards recognise and reward the successes of ESRC-funded researchers who are achieving…

Myint Zaw to join us for Resource Politics 2015

Myint Zaw, winner of one of this year’s ‘Green Nobels’, the Goldman Environmental Prize for Asia, will speak at Resource Politics 2015, the title of this year’s STEPS Centre annual conference. Journalist and social activist Zaw launched a national movement that successfully stopped construction of the hydroelectric Myitsone Dam on Myanmar’s treasured Irrawaddy River, despite…

Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical

Today sees the publication of “Laudato Si”, the Pope’s encyclical on the environment. Encyclicals are for Catholics (and there are 1.2 billion of them in the world) but in this one, Pope Francis aims to “address every person who inhabits this planet”. In it, he warns of the impacts of climate change and calls for…

Carbon Conflicts: A new book from STEPS

Carbon Conflicts and Forest Landscapes in Africa, edited by Melissa Leach and Ian Scoones, examines the management of forests and carbon. Tackling climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our age. And this year is a crucial moment with the Conference of the Parties meeting in Paris in December 2015 to forge…

Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Finance: STEPS Africa is “a huge contribution”

On behalf of the Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury on Kenya, Hon. Henry Rotich, Professor Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources formally launched the STEPS Africa Sustainability Hub today in Nairobi. The speech underscored the importance of Low Carbon Economy Development in Africa. “Low carbon development will play an important…

Global land grabbing: new papers & special issues

This week 200 delegates assemble in Chiang Mai in Thailand for a major conference on land grabbing, conflict and agrarian-environment transformations in southeast Asia. It is co-organised by the Land Deal Politics Initiative (LDPI), a research network co-founded by the Future Agricultures Consortium. The conference marks the next step in this work, aiming to locate…

Waste(d) laws in India

by Ashish Chaturvedi Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies Last year, I wrote about the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Mission), launched on the anniversary of Gandhi’s birthday. As part of this endeavour, and due to the limited impact of existing regulations, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has taken…

Glyphosate, politics and chemical safety

Glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide, hit the headlines in March after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that it is a “probable human carcinogen”. The IARC, which is responsible for providing an evidence base for the cancer control policies of the World Health Organisation and its members, had completed a…

Nepal: resilience, disasters and development

The doyen among Nepal’s ethnographers, the Janku-blessed Bihari Krishna Shrestha had a valid point. Since his phone had gone dead after the Big Earthquake of 25th April, I had gone to his house in Chakupat to find out if he was OK. Our working together goes back to the Marich Man Singh-constituted “Pokhrel Commission” in…

Stories from STEPS: Waste not, want not

The first of a new series of digital stories from the STEPS Centre looks at the working lives of India’s waste pickers, and reveals the hidden connections within the life and politics of the city. Read the story now on Medium: Waste not, want not The story picks up themes from our ‘Pathways to environmental…

Sustainable urban waste management in India

By Fiona Marshall and Pritpal Randhawa Today in Delhi government officials, representatives of waste pickers associations, NGOs, industries and resident welfare associations will participate in the launch event for our new policy brief on Rethinking urban waste management in India. This is just one of the outputs from a joint venture between the STEPS Centre,…

Water purification and the regulatory vacuum in India

By Aviram Sharma, Centre for Studies in Science Policy, JNU Water purification technologies have witnessed a rapid rise at firm, household and community level in developing countries, especially during the last two decades. Yet they remain as one of the most neglected areas of research. So much so, in fact, that these ‘emerging’ technologies often…

China conference

China Daily covers launch of China Sustainability Hub

Mutual learning across continents is one of the key imperatives behind the launch of our China Sustainability Hub and the focus of a China Daily article about the Hub, which is coordinated by Beijing Normal University School of Social Development and Public Policy (BNU-SSDPP) In Research hub helps China’s sustainable development Cecily Liu today reports…

Made in China? Mutual learning in a global development era

This week marks the 60th anniversary of the Bandung conference when Asian and African countries gathered in Indonesia to discuss independence, peace and prosperity. The conference resulted in 10 principles based on friendship, solidarity and cooperation in this newly post-colonial era for many of the states involved, prefiguring what many now term ‘South-South’ cooperation in…

Sustainability in a Changing China

The STEPS Centre is delighted to be working with partners in China to launch a Sustainability Hub for collaborative, interdisciplinary research and learning, launched today at an international conference on Pathways to Sustainability in a Changing China. Beijing Normal University School of Social Development and Public Policy (BNU-SSDPP) and the STEPS Centre are working together…

Addressing Resistance to Antibiotics

There is growing international concern about the threat to public health of the emergence and spread of bacteria resistant to existing antibiotics. An effective response must invest in both the development of new drugs and measures to slow the emergence of resistance. A new Working Paper from the STEPS Centre and Future Health Systems, Addressing…

Join us for a Nexus methods workshop

Applications are invited for a Nexus Network workshop on Transdisciplinary Methods for Developing Nexus Capabilities led by STEPS Co-director Andy Stirling. The workshop will take a critical look the research challenge in addressing nexus issues, with interactions based on short panel interactions, with break-out groups and lots of room for discussion. The workshop at the…

45 years of Earth Day: transitions and transformations

It’s 45 years today since the first Earth Day. Plenty has happened since then to explore different pathways to sustainability – from big, high-profile international conferences and governance, to local activism and action, and all scales in between. This year, 2015, is a crunch year for science, environment and development agreements, with the COP21 climate…

Greening Agrarian Studies

In honor of this year’s Earth Day, The Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS) is delighted to offer readers free access to a special virtual issue entitled ‘Greening Agrarian Studies’. “As the title suggests, this collection brings together 40 articles on various environmental themes that speak to critical agrarian studies,” said  Saturnino (‘Jun’) M. Borras Jr,…

A new tool to prepare for zoonotic surprise

A new website from the STEPS-led Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium illustrates how scenarios modelling can provide a new and vital new tool in the global health community’s toolkit. The site, at www.diseasescenarios.org, explores how this multidisciplinary approach can help shed light on the complex processes at play in determining disease risk – and…

Watch video: ‘India’s Risks’ book launch

You can now watch video of the launch event of the book ‘India’s Risks: Democratizing the Management of Threats to Environment, Health and Values’. The video features contributions from Professor M V Rajeev Gowda, Honorable Member of Parliament and Prof Ian Scoones, STEPS Centre Director. The launch event was held at the British Council in…

Market-based environmentalism under fire

Last week I was lucky enough to attend the fantastic Financialisation of Nature conference, co-hosted by the STEPS Centre, along with the Sussex Centre for Global Political Economy and Sussex Doctoral School. Organised by and run for PhD students and early career researchers, I was invited as a discussant on one of the sessions and…

Seed Laws… Government Advocacy and Grassroots Action

By Adrian Ely, Anabel Marin and Sam Geall Research at the STEPS Centre addresses sustainable development challenges that are felt both globally and locally. Over the last two months three events have reinforced the international linkages within our work, illustrating the interconnectedness and similarity of diverse efforts of researchers and civil society groups across the…

Why we should argue about agronomy

“The real problem is that too many people are playing politics with agriculture, and poor people are suffering – agronomists should stick to the facts!” Organic agriculture, agroecology, Conservation Agriculture, the System of Rice Intensification, Holistic Management (Savory System), integrated pest management, Green Revolution style intensification, genetically modified crops – what do all of these…

Mind your (innovation) language

by Adrian Smith and Saurabh Arora, SPRU At the STEPS Centre, we recently organised a couple of workshops looking at the topic of alternative innovation and its proliferation of innovation prefixes, such as social, inclusive, frugal, and sustainable. Our workshops were prompted by the observation that a variety of interacting cultural, social, economic, and technological…

Join us for Resource Politics 2015

The ESRC STEPS Centre’s annual conference, Resource Politics: transforming pathways to sustainability will be held at the Institute of Development Studies on 7-9 September 2015. Registration is now closed. Among the plenary speakers are: Rohan D’Souza, Betsy Hartmann, Melissa Leach, Johan Rockström and Michael Watts with those among the panel speakers including Tor Benjaminsen, Esteve…

The Politics of Green Transformations

It’s a crunch year for science, environment and development agreements – COP21, the Sustainable Development Goals – but will 2015 be the transformative moment it is being hyped as? (Michael Jacobs, Mariana Mazzucato, Camilla Toulmin and Andrew Simms debate at the book launch. Photo credit: Lance Bellers) Overview | Book | Launch debate | Video | Blogs…

Green Transformations: Video

←BACK TO GREEN TRANSFORMATIONS HOMEPAGE Book launch debate The Politics of Green Transformations was launched on 24 February 2015 with a high-profile debate at the National Liberal Club in London, chaired by co-editor Peter Newell (University of Sussex). Michael Jacobs (IDDRI), Mariana Mazzucato (SPRU), Andrew Simms (NEF) and Camilla Toulmin (IIED) discussed what it takes to create the multiple ‘green transformations’…

From Knowledge Economy to Innovation Democracy

The ESRC STEPS Centre’s Co-Director Professor Andy Stirling recently gave a keynote speech at the European Commission’s ‘FTA 2014: future oriented technology analysis’ conference. Prof. Stirling’s address, From Knowledge Economy to Innovation Democracy: collective action in the shaping of scientific and technological futures, was based on his extensive work on technocratic transitions and opening up…

Climate innovation systems: new STEPS working paper

A new STEPS working paper discusses the academic evidence for a promising idea for supporting climate change technology in developing countries. The paper, CRIBs (Climate Relevant Innovation-system Builders): An effective way forward for international climate technology policy by David Ockwell and Rob Byrne follows a shorter policy-focused paper and summary briefing on the same subject…

Researchers pick ‘breakthrough’ technologies for growth

Dr Adrian Ely, STEPS Centre head of impact and engagement was interviewed for a story about ‘breakthrough’ technologies by Aamna Mohdin for SciDev.net Desalination using renewable energy, vaccines to help eradicate HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and electronic textbooks that adapt to readers’ skills are among the 50 development-boosting technologies identified in a report published last…

Davos, development and delivering progress

As the money men and women of the world gather in the Swiss ski resort of Davos for annual The World Economic Forum (WEF), the challenges of addressing inequality, mitigating against climate change and living sustainably on this fragile planet are at the forefront of their minds. Actually, I lie. Those things do not appear…

Resource Politics 2015: Call for panels and posters

We are delighted to announce our annual conference, Resource Politics: transforming pathways to sustainability, to be held at the Institute of Development Studies on 7-9 September 2015. Among the plenary speakers are: Rohan D’Souza, Betsy Hartmann, Melissa Leach, Johan Rockström and Michael Watts with those among the panel speakers including Tor Benjaminsen, Esteve Corbera, Wendy Harcourt…

How climate change transformed India’s megacities

By Alankar, researcher at Sarai / STEPS Uncertainty from Below project. The megacities of India like Delhi and Mumbai are exhibiting today what we can call ‘urbanization of poverty’ and ‘urbanization of consumption’. More than half of the populations of both cities survives under acute poverty. At the same time, both these megacities today house…

Soil and politics

What do you think of when you think about soil? There are radically different ways to answer the question. For some scientists, it’s a subject of investigation – what do soils need to grow which types of plants the best? How can they be managed, improved or damaged? For archaeologists or paleontologists, digging into the…

Major new research project on animal-to-human disease transmission

The ESRC STEPS Centre has begun work on a major, international research project exploring the factors that drive animal-to-human (‘zoonotic’) disease transmission in Tanzania, with the aim of informing new strategies for disease control and elimination. Anthropologist Dr. Linda Waldman, a member of the STEPS Centre, will be undertaking the social science element, including participatory…

STEPS blog: best of 2014

We can hardly believe it, but it’s nearly the end of 2014. To mark the occasion, the STEPS Centre communications team has picked 12 of our favourite blog posts by STEPS members, one from each month of the year. Choosing them has been a difficult task, as there’s been a lot to write about our…

Space, markets and employment: 3 films from Zimbabwe

A new series of films explores the links between land reform and economic activity in Zimbabwe, focusing on three commodities: tobacco, beef and horticulture. The films are produced for the ‘Space, Markets and Employment in Agricultural Development’ (SMEAD) project by Pamela Ngwenya, supported by the field team. They are accompanied by an overview film. Zimbabwe is one…

COP20: Research from the edge

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP20) in Lima, Peru (1-12 December 2014) will settle the key elements of a global climate deal to be finalised in Paris next year, when the deadline for a new deal runs out. The ESRC STEPS Centre and its partners around the world have been working on policy-relevant research in…

STEPS America Latina launches new website

The Centro STEPS America Latina – the new Latin American regional hub for our Global Pathways to Sustainability Consortium  – has unveiled its own dedicated website. The new website is now live at www.stepsamericalatina.com. The Centro STEPS website is run by a team at the Centro de Investigaciones para la Transformación (CENIT) in Buenos Aires,…

Maker culture and sustainability

What are citizen labs and ‘maker’ culture providing to sustainable development? STEPS researcher Adrian Smith was part of a panel discussing this question at an event on 18 November in Madrid. A recording from the event is now available. >> Listen to the discussion on the Medialab-Prado website (audio in Spanish) The debate explored the…

Innovation choices in the face of uncertainty

Professor Andy Stirling writes chapter accompanying the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser’s inaugural report Sir Mark Walport recently launched his first ever annual report as UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, Innovation: Managing risk not avoiding it. The accompanying evidence and case studies includes a chapter written by Professor Andy Stirling, Co-Director of the ESRC-funded STEPS Centre,…

Genetically modified rice plants

GM Food and the precautionary principle

“Precaution does not necessarily mean a ban. It simply urges that time and space be found to get things right.” Professor Andy Stirling, writing in the Guardian Overview The UK House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee is carrying out an inquiry into genetically modified (GM) foods and the way in which these are regulated in Europe…

China and the new climate deal

“The joint US-China announcement on tackling climate change has been described as “historic”, a “turning point” and a “positive signal”. It has also been written off as insubstantive or even “hype”. “The reality, perhaps unsurprisingly, lies somewhere in between. What it might represent, however, is a future that pairs economic growth with environmental concerns,” writes…

Informing the UK’s approach to SDGs

A Parliamentary inquiry about the UK’s position and approach to the development targets to replace the millennium development goals has published evidence from the ESRC STEPS Centre. The Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry is looking at how best the UK can move forward on setting and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

STEPS Centre Conference 2010 / Lance Bellers

ESRC Studentships: study with the STEPS Centre

The STEPS Centre is delighted to offer PhD training in association with the Sussex ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, one of a network of 21 Doctoral Training Centres in the UK, set up by the Economic and Social Research Council to support the development and research training of postgraduate researchers. A grant of more than £3.5million from the ESRC together…

Political Ecology: resources, power and justice

With conceptual roots in political economy and cultural ecology, as well as close relationships with development studies and science and technology studies, the multidisciplinary field of political ecology shares a number of theoretical and methodological complementarities with the STEPS Centre’s pathways approach. In early September 2014, the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University hosted an…

Business for peace?

It is difficult to avoid being swept up in the current tide of optimism about Africa and resource development. For once, Africa is not only portrayed by outsiders as a continent of poor people suffering and fighting over civil wars and dependent on good will and aid. At the same time, the new, positive single…

Journal of Peasant Studies new special issue: critical perspectives on Food Sovereignty

A new special issue on ‘Critical perspectives on food sovereignty’ from the Journal of Peasant Studies has been released, with free articles available for a limited period. The guest editors are Marc Edelman, James C. Scott, Amita Baviskar, Saturnino M. Borras Jr., Deniz Kandiyoti, Eric Holt-Gimenez, Tony Weis and Wendy Wolford. View/download the issue: Critical perspectives…

New Multicriteria Mapping software launched

Multicriteria Mapping (MCM), a new software package to aid decision-making by exploring contrasting perspectives on complex issues, has been launched. MCM was pioneered by STEPS co-director Andy Stirling as a way of ‘opening up’ technical assessment by systematically ‘mapping’ the practical implications of alternative options, knowledge, framings and values. The new software will make MCM…

Ebola: difficult questions for development

As the horrific Ebola crisis unfolds across West Africa, and the international community belatedly responds, there are some bigger questions that arise beyond the immediate challenges on the ground. These are worth raising and discussing, as they challenge our understanding of ‘development’ as framed and practised over the last few decades in fundamental ways. The…

STEPS wins ISSC Transformations to Sustainability grant

The ESRC STEPS Centre is delighted to have won an International Social Science Council (ISSC) seed grant under the new Transformations to Sustainability Programme. The ISSC programme aims to build the knowledge partnerships needed for longer-term research on the fundamental innovative processes of social transformations towards sustainable and equitable futures. Led by Director Professor Ian Scoones,…

Join us for What Works at the Nexus?

Join us at the first Nexus Network conference: What works at the nexus? New connections in food, energy, water and environment on Thursday 27 November from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm at the Coin Street Conference Centre in London. This is an opportunity for network members to meet, hear high-profile keynote speakers, discuss nexus challenges from a variety…

Adrian Smith on grassroots prototyping at SCORAI Europe

Adrian Smith, STEPS Grassroots Innovation project convenor, will talk about grassroots prototyping past and present to a SCORAI (Europe) workshop on sustainable consumption at Kingston University today. The flourishing of community-based workshops for prototyping new forms of production and consumption using versatile digital design and fabrication technologies can learn from similar community workshops in the…

Complex Adaptive Systems & health: new resources

In June 2014, Future Health Systems (FHS) and the STEPS Centre co-hosted a workshop exploring Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) approaches to health systems strengthening in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). FHS and STEPS are particularly concerned with policies, programs, and individual level interventions promote and protect people’s health and wellbeing, particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. The…

‘Innovation histories’: capturing legacy & learning from long-term programmes

By Annie Wilkinson, post doctorate researcher, Institute of Development Studies (This post is part of a series of reflections emerging from a workshop on complex adaptive systems research methods held in Baltimore in June 2014.) At the recent workshop on methods for complex adaptive systems (CAS) research in Baltimore, jointly organised by the STEPS Centre and Future Health Systems (FHS),…

GM in China: ‘Paranoia’ and public opinion

Biosafety certificates permitting Chinese researchers to grow genetically modified rice and corn expired last week, with little indication that the Ministry of Agriculture will renew them. The certificates, issued in 2009, concerned two types of Bt rice, which express a gene of the bacillus thuringiensis bacterium, conferring pest resistance, and phytase maize, which when used…

A day with Argentina’s ‘street engineers’

They take pride in what they do at the Reciclando Sueños co-operative. Situated in the La Matanza district of greater Buenos Aires, the workers describe themselves as cartoneros profesionales (professional recyclers) and ingenieros callejeros (street engineers). Whilst some in the city see waste picking as a lowly activity, these workers consider themselves to be providing…

India’s risks: forging a new multidisciplinary debate

by Raphaelle Moor A prospective superpower, India is grappling with a host of risks that threaten to hamper its progress towards becoming a more economically successful, egalitarian, safe and harmonious society. India’s population routinely deals with the risks from HIV/AIDS, earthquakes, floods, industrial accidents and environmental disasters, and more recently the risks and uncertainties brought…

Recordando el Plan de Lucas: que nos puede decir el movimiento para producción social útil sobre la innovación inclusiva hoy?

This post is a translated and edited version of an article first published in English on the Guardian’s Political Science blog En enero de 1976 los trabajadores de Lucas Aerospace publicaron un plan alternativo para el futuro de su empresa manufacturera. Fue una respuesta novedosa a los anuncios que miles de despidos porrazones de reestructuración…

Livelihood pathways after land reform in Zimbabwe

Understanding livelihood pathways requires sustained fieldwork in particular sites in order to understand what changes and why. Systematic longitudinal studies are sadly rare in many developing country settings. Project grants for a few years are insufficient to sustain the research effort required. Long term studies are especially important when major changes have occurred. We cannot…

Sustainable Development Goals: lessons from the ‘nexus’

As part of our engagement with the ‘nexus’ of food, water, energy and the environment, STEPS members will be participating in an Overseas Development Institute event on 11 September 2014. The event Tackling trade-offs in the food-water-energy nexus: lessons for the SDGs features contributions former STEPS Director Melissa Leach and includes a contribution from our…

Urban Futures: Background and research questions

This page provides detail of the background and research questions of the project ‘Risks and Responses to Urban Futures’. For a shorter overview, see the project homepage. Urbanisation creates of new opportunities for many, while also resulting in a dramatic increase in the concentration of poverty and environmental degradation in peri-urban zones. Peri-urban areas, at…

Global health meets genomics: inequality and politics

Scientific advances in the understanding of genetics and genomics have the potential to generate major improvements for human health in the near future. However, from a global health perspective, the translation of this technology into new medical treatments raises profound international and local issues around inequality, identity and insecurity. On 18th July 2014, we attended…

Building low carbon, high growth futures in Africa

An article in New Scientist magazine pubished today sets out one of the most hotly-contestated questions about increasing energy access in the global south: can low carbon techology deliver meaningful opportunities for economic growth? Author Fred Pearce, who sits on the STEPS Centre’s Advisory Committee, in unconvinced that those on either side of the low carbon argument have made a strong enough…

Community-based Micro Grids: Experiences in Rural Kenya

By Lorenz Gollwitzer I am standing in Olosho-Oibor, a small village three-hours from Nairobi, at the bottom of the Ngong Hills (famous as the place where Denys Finch Hatton crashed his plane and died in Karen Blixen’s autobiography Out of Africa). Beeping in my pocket, my smartphone has just received an email, yet the nearest connection to the national grid…

Ebola: failures, flashpoints and focus

By Annie Wilkinson, post doctorate researcher, Institute of Development Studies As the worst Ebola epidemic on record shows no signs of abating in West Africa, fear and ignorance are increasingly said to be playing a role in its continued spread. Meanwhile, local practices such as the consumption of bushmeat and deforestation are the go-to explanations…

Antibiotics: Avoiding a return to the dark ages of medicine

By Annie Wilkinson, post doctorate researcher, Institute of Development Studies Listeners to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme woke up yesterday to Prime Minister David Cameron’s prediction of a return to the “dark ages of medicine” if the problem of growing antibiotic resistance is left unchecked. This doomsday scenario is one where routine infections which we have come to think…

The nexus – politics, practice and disciplinary dilemmas

STEPS researchers have written a series of blogposts for the Guardian and the Nexus Platform website addressing the challenges of the water-food-energy-environment ‘nexus’. Andy Stirling addresses the challenges of working across disciplines, Jeremy Allouche looks at nexus politics while James Wilsdon and Rose Cairns discuss joining research, policy and practice. The Guardian Nexus blogpost series launches the Nexus Network,…

GM Crops: Continuing controversy

By Ian Scoones, STEPS Centre Director In 2002, the international press was full of headlines such as ‘Starving Zimbabwe Shuns GM Maize’. This was repeated again in 2010. The context was the refusal to import whole-grain GM maize from South Africa, as regulatory approval had not been granted, and there were fears that the food…

STEPS Summer School 2014 – Elsie Khakasa’s review

Guest post by Elsie Khakasa, STEPS Summer School 2014 participant. This post is reposted from Elsie’s blog with kind permission. Two weeks of a thought provoking and intense summer school have left me excited, and intellectually invigorated. I was fortunate to take part in this year’s STEPS Centre Summer School on Pathways to Sustainability, held from…

Political Ecologies of Carbon project researchers to speak at Green Economy in the South conference in July

Martin Kijazi and others from the STEPS Centre’s Political Ecologies of Carbon in Africa project will be speaking at the international conference “Green Economy in the South – Negotiating Environmental Governance, Prosperity and Development” in July. The conference takes place from 8-10 July 2014 at the University of Dodoma, Tanzania. More information can be found…

STEPS Summer School 2015: apply

Applications for the STEPS Summer School 2015 are now closed. Who should apply? Applications are invited from 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. There is a premium on interdisciplinary approaches and on interests and orientations…

Against authoritarianism: Why we shouldn’t ‘put democracy on hold’ to achieve sustainability

Does the human response to global environmental challenges need to be channelled through authoritarian, controlled ‘transitions’? Threatened by climate change, should we ‘put democracy on hold for a while’? Or could more unruly modes of change, inspired by other ongoing radical social transformations – release from colonialism, racism and patriarchy, for example – offer more…

The Wonders of Walkshops

By Melissa Leach, IDS Director The STEPS Centre Summer School has been running here at IDS over the last two weeks – 38 fantastic PhD students and early career researchers from 25 countries. As ever we’ve all been enriched, enlightened and challenged by presentations, discussion and searching debate around building pathways to sustainability and social…

Learning from Great Transformations Past and Present

Reflecting on Karl Polanyi at the Resilience 2014 Conference By John Thompson, STEPS Centre Food and Agriculture Convenor In June 2013, I served on the Scientific Steering Committee of the international conference on Transformation in a Changing Climate, which was held at the University of Oslo. One of my duties for that event was to…

The power and politics around ‘objective’ performance monitoring

Performance monitoring, most prominently exemplified in the Millennium Development Goals, is often perceived as providing objective results. Using the case of access to rural water supplies in Ethiopia, a new journal article (£) by STEPS alumna Katharina Welle explores the power and political dynamics inherent in sector performance monitoring. Welle, K. (2014) Monitoring performance or…

Grassroots fabrication in makerspaces: the importance of culture, context & relationships

On Thursday 10th April 2014, the Grassroots Innovations project organised a half-day World Café workshop in Copenhagen on the topic of grassroots fabrication in makerspaces. It formed one session within a wider conference exploring an ‘Innovative Civil Society’ and hosted by the international Living Knowledge network of science shops. Makerspaces are one of the case…

On the benefits of walking and talking

Our Summer School kicked off today, with 38 students from 25 countries meeting at IDS for two weeks of intensive debate and discussion. On Wednesday, after a short lecture on ‘uncertainty’, they’ll take a long walk over the South Downs, talking to each other around a set of guiding questions. This builds on a strong…

STEPS Centre Summer School 2014

Our Summer School brought together an exceptional group of people who are exploring and developing ideas on building pathways to sustainability. This year 38 participants from 25 countries challenged the STEPS team and each other on questions of science, society and development through a mix of lectures, walks, discussions and public events. Storify: The story…

Resilience 2014: Planetary boundaries, politics and pathways

How can we build development pathways that enhance sustainability and resilience, integrating ecological integrity, social equality, human rights, well-being and security? That was the tough question at the centre of Professor Melissa Leach’s presentation at the Resilience 2014 conference in Montpellier, France, this morning. Prof. Leach, former STEPS Centre Director and new IDS Director, opened the second day of the conference in…

New leadership for the ESRC STEPS Centre

A new leadership team has been announced at the ESRC STEPS Centre today. The two founding Co-Directors, Prof. Ian Scoones and Prof. Andy Stirling remain at the helm of STEPS, with Prof. Scoones (right) taking over as Director and Prof. Stirling retaining his Co-Director role. This follows the appointment of the former Director, Prof. Melissa Leach, as…

Ebola in Guinea – people, patterns and puzzles

By Melissa Leach, Principal Investigator of Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium The francophone West African country of Guinea doesn’t often make international headlines, but has this week for the nastiest of reasons. An outbreak of Ebola, first identified in the forested south-east of the country in mid-March, has now spread across the country…

Understanding water for food security

Lyla Mehta, STEPS Centre water & sanitation theme convenor, is heading a team writing the report on Water and Food Security to the Committee of World Food Security (CFS). Water for all, provided in an equitable and sustainable way, is central to global justice for poor women and men. It has a particularly important role…

IPCC: should climate change debates be more political?

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, focusing on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, makes sobering reading. But it also situates climate change among a range of other challenges and uncertainties faced by society, especially poor people. IPCC reports always provoke a discussion about trust in climate science. But they should also make…

Future Earth launches new website

Future Earth, the international hub for research on sustainability, has launched a new website to share news of its events and projects. Future Earth was launched in June 2012 and aims to bring together research on global environmental change from across disciplines, with input from governments, civil society, business and others. STEPS Director Melissa Leach…

Sustainable energy for whom?

How can we move from “sustainable energy for some” towards “sustainable energy for all”, whilst promoting economic development in some of the world’s poorest nations? In a new blogpost for [email protected] the STEPS Centre’s David Ockwell and Rob Byrne reveal new research that shows capacity building has been more influential than market mechanisms in the Solar Home Systems sector in Kenya. “There’s…

STEPS-JNU Symposium 2014: Powerful storytelling

The power of simple storytelling to move and inspire is explored in a new post about ‘photovoice’ by Julia Day, STEPS Centre Deputy Director and Head of Communications, written for the WonkComms blog. Photovoice, a participatory method using photography and people talking about their experiences, is being used to great effect by our partner Shibaji…

Dams, displacement and development

A dam disaster in Zimbabwe prompts STEPS co-director Ian Scoones to reflect on dams, displacement and development more broadly on the Zimbabweland blog. He points to a new paper in Energy Policy that reiterates the advice of the World Commission on Dams, and the need for a more diverse approach to water resources development. With…

Photovoice – Uncertainty through the lens

← BACK TO SYMPOSIUM 2014 HOMEPAGE The views of people living and coping with the everyday effects of climate change in India are explored here through an innovative ‘Photovoice’ presentation created by Shibaji Bose of the Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR), the communications officer for India on our Uncertainty from Below project. The Photovoice powerfully brings together…

Steps-JNU Symposium 2014 – Storify

←BACK TO SYMPOSIUM 2014 HOMEPAGE We told the story of the Symposium as it happened via Storify. By collating resources and social media from difference sources we hoped to bring the event debates to life. [View the story “STEPS-JNU SYMPOSIUM: Exploring Pathways to Sustainability” on Storify]

STEPS-JNU Symposium 2014 – Videos

←BACK TO SYMPOSIUM 2014 HOMEPAGE View video clips from our 2014 Annual Symposium, ‘Exploring pathways to sustainability’, co-organised with the Centre for Studies in Science Policy at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Video vox pops We asked participants: “How do you build pathways to sustainability?” Here are their short (c.2 minute) responses. ) Opening session…

Telling stories about scarcity

‘Scarcity’ is a key term in debates about the global rush for land and other resources. A new Future Agricultures working paper, co-authored by STEPS director Ian Scoones, looks at different narratives of scarcity related to the future of food and farming in Africa and globally, and finds that political questions – about distribution, needs,…

STEPS-JNU SYMPOSIUM: Every case is its own study? Every movement has its own goals?

By Adrian Smith, Researcher, STEPS Centre / SPRU Learning with and across diverse grassroots innovation movements Here in Delhi, first at the Grassroots Innovation Movements Workshop, and then at the STEPS-JNU Symposium, participants were interested in the commitments and positions taken in STEPS Centre research projects. Our project on Grassroots Innovation Movements in Historical and…

STEPS-JNU SYMPOSIUM: Making climate change visible

By Ian Scoones, Co-Director, STEPS Centre The second session at the JNU-STEPS Symposium focused on how uncertainties generated by climate change are appreciated both ‘from above’ and ‘from below’ – and indeed by those in the middle. Three highly contrasting rural and urban case studies from Delhi and Mumbai, presented by Alankar of Sarai, Kutch…

STEPS-JNU Symposium: Exploring Pathways To Sustainabilty

Our 2014 Annual Symposium, ‘Exploring pathways to sustainability’, was co-organised with the Centre for Studies in Science Policy at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India and launched a new initiative across four schools at JNU to create a STEPS ‘Sustainability Hub’ for collaborative, interdisciplinary work. This exciting initiative will engender cutting-edge, academically rigorous research across the social and natural sciences,…

IDS seeks 3 new fellows in environmental change

The Institute of Development Studies is seeking to recruit up to three new researchers with international reputations for innovative interdisciplinary work broadly within the area of ‘Environmental Change’. A particular concern is to understand the challenges posed by climate change, in interaction with other environmental and social changes, and options for climate resilient pathways in…

Missing politics and food sovereignty

Over the last two decades La Via Campesina has grown as a movement campaigning for a change in the global agri-food system. Some claim that it is the world’s largest social movement. Its main rallying cry has been a demand for ‘food sovereignty’, a term, as Marc Edelman notes, that has a longer genealogy but…

Controlling animal-to-human disease in Africa

African trypanosomiasis is a devastating disease, both for humans and animals. Over the last hundred years huge efforts have been made to control it. A working paper by Ian Scoones looks at the scientific and policy debates surrounding control of the disease and its vector, the tsetse fly, in Eastern and Southern Africa. The paper…

Food Sovereignty: a Critical Dialogue

On 24 January 2014, the event ‘Food Sovereignty: A Critical Dialogue’ will bring together sceptics and advocates of food sovereignty to discuss the future of this controversial idea in critical agrarian studies. Ian Scoones will be chairing the opening keynote session of this event, held at the International Institute of Social Studies in the Netherlands….

Linking global and local sustainability: new journal article

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012 was another opportunity to reflect on the links between global and local sustainability. High-profile global processes, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and others, have aimed to unite action at a global level to address sustainability challenges….

Apply now for ESRC Studentship Awards

Apply now for ESRC studentship awards to join our Innovation and Sustainability: Management and Policy course, part-based at the STEPS Centre. Open to all UK and EU students, the ESRC studentships at the Sussex ESRC Doctoral Training Centre pathways are designed to dovetail with both the University’s Research Themes and the ESRC’s Strategic Challenges in ways that maximise the…

Prof Melissa Leach appointed director of IDS

Professor Melissa Leach, ESRC STEPS Centre director, has been appointed as the new director of the UK’s Institute of Development Studies. Prof. Leach will continue in her current roles, as director of the ESRC Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre and the Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium, until she begins her new role…

COP19: A push for pro-poor low carbon development

Julia Day, STEPS Centre Communications Manager All too often discussions about low carbon technologies range around the interests of high and middle income countries, but fail to factor in the needs of Least Developed Countries (LDCs). But there are compelling reasons why a broader definition of technology can help low carbon, pro-poor pathways to sustainability…