Broadening the Application of the Sustainability Science Approach
Policy guidelines on research and education
The shift towards a sustainable society is one of the central challenges of our times.
Science has a significant role to play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Science must focus on problem solving through interdisciplinary research that integrates social dimensions to make concrete contributions to sustainable development. Through research and education, transdisciplinary sustainability science is a fundamental component of this approach. It faces the challenge of not only analysing and supporting the indispensable transformative processes, but also dynamically modelling them. To that end, sustainability science is required within transdisciplinary research and education to support sustainable development with wide-ranging expertise and to educate sustainability experts.
As emphasized in the Guidelines: “Sustainability Science is research and education that results in new knowledge, technology, innovation and holistic understanding which will allow societies to better address global and local sustainability challenges”. This field includes disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary science. It is also geared towards the generation of basic knowledge, applied technology, sociocultural innovation as well as towards new governance or social and economic models. Sustainability Science is an expression of both academic freedom and responsibility towards societal issues.
UNESCO Guidelines on Sustainability Science in Research and Education