A year of STEPS: 2015 highlights

Credit: STEPS Centre

As it’s nearing the end of 2015, here are some highlights you may have missed from the STEPS Centre’s last 12 months. We’ll see you next year!

STEPS researchers and islanders on the move in the Sundarbans

Our coverage of the COP21 climate conference

STEPS members wrote blogs, organised events and reflected on the future of climate change action around the Paris conference in December.

STEPS América Latina launch

Open Science, horizontal innovation and more were on the agenda at the launch event in Buenos Aires in November.

Rei(g)ning back the Anthropocene?

Andy Stirling shared concerns about the increasing popularity of the ‘Anthropocene’ idea, and responses followed from Johan Rockström, Victor Galaz and Laura Pereira.

Sustainability: the next 50 years

Framing part of a new strategic direction for the Institute of Development Studies, this paper brings together insights from development studies and sustainability studies. It is co-written by Hubert Schmitz and Ian Scoones.

Making and Sustainability

Blog posts and other resources from an event on the role that maker communities, and the places where they interact, can play in sustainable development.

Sustainable Development Goals

Ian Scoones, Adrian Ely, Melissa Leach, Joanes Atela and Ben Ramalingam reflect on the implications of the new SDGs.

Resource Politics

Papers, video and commentary by leading thinkers on how natural resources are conceived, used, shared and fought over worldwide.


The UK’s chief scientist Mark Walport spoke in October about the contribution of anthropologists to the Ebola outbreak, which STEPS members helped to bring about. The initiative brought insights about people’s culture, values and expectations into efforts to tackle the disease.

Methods and the Nexus

As part of a longer project on research methodologies, STEPS co-director Andy Stirling discussed what transdisciplinary methods mean for studying the ‘nexus’ of water, energy, food and climate.

Africa Sustainability Hub launch

Low carbon development was the focus of a new Africa hub, launched in June, which will become a focus for sustainability research and engagement in the continent.

Stories from STEPS

3 new digital stories on Medium.com explored some of our projects in depth – on grassroots innovation, uncertainty and climate change, and the future of waste in cities.

Summer School

Two participants at our 2015 Summer School blogged about their experience, reflecting on an event which brought together participants from around the world to discuss pathways to sustainability.

Water and Food Security

Lyla Mehta wrote for the Guardian on the vital importance of water for ensuring food security, following her involvement in a major report from the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE).

China Sustainability Hub launched

A new hub launched in Beijing in April explores agricultural transformation; technology collaboration for international development; and low carbon innovation and sustainable cities.

Resistance to Antibiotics: what can be done?

A timely paper from STEPS and Future Health Systems looked at how to deal with the threat of antibiotic resistance in low- and middle-income countries.

Why we should argue about agronomy

Ahead of next year’s Contested Agronomy conference, Jim Sumberg sets out the case for ‘political agronomy’ approach that recognises contestation and controversy in the science and practice of agronomy.

The Politics of Green Transformations

A book from the STEPS Centre, setting out major questions for how to achieve transformations for sustainability, was launched with a debate in February in London. Blogposts from participants and video of the debate are available.

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