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"Mobilizing Social Sciences for Sustainability"

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  • Sweden is the first and only country, as
    far as we know, to undertake such a multi-institutional self-
    examination. This augurs well for the social science commu-
    nity and the pursuit of sustainable development.


  • But, I’m not here tp praise the report, but rather highlight some forward looking issues, or some of the issues that the report does not cover, but should cover.


  • The systems approach has been very useful to research on
    water management, climate change, air pollution, and many
    other environmental problems, and has identified a number
    of important social factors that influence – or are influenced
    by – the environment. However, this systems framework limits
    the range of social science in circulation in that it tends to
    position social researchers as those who can fill in the ‘social’
    boxes, e.g. with data on economic, social and demographic
    trends.

  • There is a risk here of decoupling. By that I mean the risk of going back to a model where social science is produced to communicate with peers within the discipline, rather than with a wider sustainability science community.

    If funders are too eager to create an isolated social science infrastructure with calls, reviews and evaluation that DOES NOT link to the international agenda, we are again building monodisciplinary walls.



  • The issue is not whether social scientists should avoid a systems approach, or whether they should but rather. Funders

  • My hypothesis is that innovation does not really happen in isolated departments, but rather in tightly coupled networks.
  • First, joint vision. All other are related to the infrastructure of research, funders play an enormously important work
  • First, joint vision. All other are related to the infrastructure of research, funders play an enormously important work
  • First, joint vision. All other are related to the infrastructure of research, funders play an enormously important work
  • First, joint vision. All other are related to the infrastructure of research, funders play an enormously important work
  • First, joint vision. All other are related to the infrastructure of research, funders play an enormously important work

  • Funders have a critical, fundamental role to play here in helping make the transition.
  • Funders have a critical, fundamental role to play here in helping make the transition.
  • Funders have a critical, fundamental role to play here in helping make the transition.
  • Funders have a critical, fundamental role to play here in helping make the transition.
  • Funders have a critical, fundamental role to play here in helping make the transition.
  • Funders have a critical, fundamental role to play here in helping make the transition.
  • Funders have a critical, fundamental role to play here in helping make the transition.

  • There is no need to make a choice really, not mutually exclusive, but rather make sure to make these two communicate. It might sound easy, but in fact, the whole system - educational and financial - is not set up to deal with this interplay between systems analysis, and human dimensions of GEC.
  • This is the sort of product we want to see, but for the social sciences! The question is: how do we create a funding infrastructure that promotes this sort of synthesis work, that forces us to work in transdisciplinary teams ACROSS the social sciences?
  • Transcript

    • 1. How do we mobilize Swedish Social Science Research on Sustainability? Comments by Victor Galaz Stockholm Resilience Centre
    • 2. You have to agree
    • 3. You have to agree Agenda vision mismatch Lack of innovation Quality versus relevance Limited view on relevance Imbalanced focus Career trajectories
    • 4. Forward looking The international sustainability science landscape The role of Swedish funders in promoting innovative research
    • 5. The international sustainability science landscape IHDP Earth System Science ESG IGBP Partnerhip International Council DIVERSITAS for Science PECS IPBES
    • 6. The international sustainability science landscape IHDP Multi-disciplinary Earth System Science ESG IGBP Integrated Partnerhip International Council Policy-relevant DIVERSITAS for Science PECS IPBES
    • 7. What is the role of Swedish social sciences in this new international context?
    • 8. “The systems approach has been very useful to research […]. However, this systems framework limits the range of social science in circulation in that it tends to position social researchers as those who can fill in the ‘social’ boxes, e.g. with data on economic, social and demographic trends. pp. 31
    • 9. RISK “The systems approach has been very useful to research […]. However, this MONODISCI systems framework limits the range of social science in circulation in that it tends to position social researchers as those PLINARY who can fill in the ‘social’ boxes, e.g. with data on economic, social and demographic trends. WALLS pp. 31
    • 10. Environment and sustainability “as a case of” general monodisciplinary research - very high relevance for one discipline - little, if any, interest for the international sustainability research community
    • 11. The question is how to contribute constructively to integrated analysis of global change challenges.
    • 12. The question is how to contribute constructively to integrated analysis of global change challenges. Swedish funders need an explicit strategy (calls, review process, evaluation) to make sure social science research actively contributes to an emerging international sustainability research agenda.
    • 13. Innovation Yes, innovation is important, yet risks becoming an empty buzzword Organization? Methods? Theoretical approaches? Communication? Science- policy interface?
    • 14. Arizona State University Institutional innovation Cross-disciplinary institutes From theoretical to practical Commitment to innovation
    • 15. Arizona State University Institutional innovation Cross-disciplinary institutes From theoretical to practical Commitment to innovation
    • 16. Innovation capability Based on Skarzynski & Gibson 2008
    • 17. Common vision of innovation Innovation capability Based on Skarzynski & Gibson 2008
    • 18. Common vision of innovation Collaborative Innovation environment that reward capability challenging the “status quo” Based on Skarzynski & Gibson 2008
    • 19. Common vision of innovation Collaborative Innovation environment that reward capability challenging the “status quo” Building innovation capabilities Based on Skarzynski & Gibson 2008
    • 20. Common vision of innovation Supporting Collaborative tools, processes Innovation environment that to enable reward idea capability challenging the generation “status quo” Building innovation capabilities Based on Skarzynski & Gibson 2008
    • 21. IGBP IHOPE ESSP DIVERSITAS IPBES ICSU ESG PECS
    • 22. IGBP IHOPE ESSP DIVERSITAS IPBES ICSU ESG PECS
    • 23. IGBP IHOPE ESSP DIVERSITAS IPBES ICSU ESG PECS
    • 24. IGBP IHOPE ESSP DIVERSITAS IPBES Social science community, organized in a way that ICSU promotes innovation ESG PECS
    • 25. Thank you! Victor.Galaz@stockholmresilience.su.se
    • 26. Example - emerging infectious diseases Institutional analysis Narratives Cultural and ethical dimensions Systems perspective ....

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