Research for sustainability transformations – Strengthening critical reflection and methodological capacities across disciplines (REFLECT)

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To address the wicked sustainability problems of our time, actionable knowledge, co-created with multiple stakeholders and actors in societies, is needed. To meet these knowledge needs of sustainability transformations, this project engages SYKE, CDE and SPRU researchers in thinking critically about research for sustainability transformations and its methodologies. This is done by:

  1. organising a research seminar series,
  2. fostering international collaboration and mobility,
  3. strengthening the methodological contribution of SYKE’s action-oriented research, and
  4. initiating international transdisciplinary research projects for sustainability transformations.

A seminar series is organised to promote reflective and critical discussion on methodologies and new research questions posed by sustainability transformations. First seminar starts with a methodological discussion on action-oriented research for sustainability transformations. The second seminar will concentrate on the question of justice and power in sustainability transformations research, while the third seminar will promote critical reflection of theories of change implied by various research approaches to sustainability transformation and transitions. The seminars will consist of keynote presentations open to the public and presentations gathered by an open call from SYKE, CDE and SPRU researchers.

To contribute to the methodological development of action-oriented research in sustainability research, a collective article on how to open action research for plurality of knowledge in sustainability transformations is compiled. A selection of case studies carried out in SYKE, CDE and SPRU will be chosen to explore the methodological issues in action research further.

First seminar: Action-oriented research

The first seminar on 18 and 19 March 2021 consisted of two parts. On Day I we heard two lectures on action-oriented research in sustainability transformation by Dr. Guido Caniglia (KLI) and Prof. Stephan Rist (CDE). Day II was devoted to methodological insights from research practice.

Second seminar: Justice in transitions

The second seminar was held on 3 June 2021 together with the Just food project, with keynote speeches from Prof. David Schlosberg (SEI), Dr. Mari Martiskainen (SPRU) and Research Prof. Minna Kaljonen (SYKE).

Third seminar: Participatory methods in sustainability transitions

The third seminar took place on 30 September 2021. Keynote speeches were given by Professor Jason Chilvers (UEA), Professor Maija Setälä (UTU), Professor Lorna Heaton (UdeM).

More information

  • Minna Kaljonen, Research professor, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE,, Tel. +358 295 251 252

The seminars were organized as a collective effort between Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE, Finland), Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern (Switzerland) and Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex (United Kingdom). The CDE engagement in the seminars was supported by the Mercator Foundation Switzerland, while the SYKE engagement was funded by SYKE seed money.

Published 2021-02-01 at 12:17, updated 2022-02-15 at 9:00