Global Sustainability Institute Conference 2015: The Interface between Sustainability Research and Policy

Bringing together leaders from academia, business, government, NGOs and beyond to explore the interface between sustainability research and policy, this conference is an invitation to debate how research can contribute to meaningful steps towards a sustainable future, to challenge the status quo of the role of the researcher in sustainable policy development, and to cultivate interdisciplinary collaborative partnerships.
When 26 Jan, 2015 12:00 AM to
27 Jan, 2015 12:00 AM
Where Cambridge, UK
Add event to calendar vCal

Comprising of high-profile keynote addresses, parallel presentations sessions and interactive workshops, the conference structure is designed to support researchers and stakeholders from across disciplines and sectors to bridge the boundaries of sustainability research and policy development.

1. Improving the evidence for action

  • What is the future of modelling in sustainability research?
  • Are certain models or modelling techniques e.g. Agent based models (ABM), System Dynamics (SD) models, Hybrid SD-ABM models, Multi-model ensembles more appropriate for understanding complex and uncertain systems?
  • What tools, knowledge or skills do policy makers need in order to engage with models?
  • Case studies of where models or research have been used in policy development
  • Measuring the impact of evidence-based policy making - case studies of effectiveness
  • Bridging the gap between science theory and policy practice

2. Dealing with uncertainty

  • Decision making in situations of deep uncertainly (Robust Decision Making, InfoGap, Real Options, Non-Probabilistic methods etc.): which is best?
  • Communicating uncertainly and risk
  • How should we characterise uncertainty and what impact does it have for policy development?
  • The use of expert judgement in decision making and assessing risks in the absence of perfect information
  • How can we bridge the gap between scientists (who live with uncertainty) and decision makers (who want to reduce or eliminate the uncertainty)

3. Sustainability policy in 2015

  • Where is sustainability on the political agenda for the May 2015 UK Parliamentary elections?
  • Evidence for draft targets and future research agendas to help deliver against the Sustainability Development Goals
  • How has research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and others supported the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC
  • Academic engagement in political discourse: the World Economic Forum, UN, G8 and G20
  • How does UK education policy ensure students acquire the necessary knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development (SDG 4.7) and become agents for transformational change
  • How can we develop sustainability literacy in business and policy?

4. Exploring the policy/research interface

  • The relationship between theory and policy
  • Critiquing reliance on evidence-based policy
  • What is the role of different stakeholders (business including the finance sector, NGOs, civil society) in influencing policy and what evidence is there of their success in changing policy?
  • Can we achieve progress on sustainability without policy intervention?
  • The role of personal and public credibility of academics involved in climate change and sustainability research
  • The influence of research impact requirements (i.e. in the Research Excellence Framework and by research funders) on sustainability research
  • What impact does the research league tables and measurement bodies (such as the Research Excellence Framework) focus on discrete disciplines have on academia advancing solutions to sustainability?
  • Reflection on evidence-based policy: evidence is only as good as the questions that you?re constructing
  • What is the role of the researcher in delivering change?

5. Achieving impact through communication and dialogue 

  • The role of social media in communicating climate change impacts and opportunities and the sustainability agenda
  • How to engage and ensure public support for a sustainable future?
  • Is it the role of academics to communicate sustainability research?
  • The use of engaging narratives in communicating complex topics
  • How can the creative industries contribute not just in the communication of sustainability research but also into the formation of research questions?


Registration is now open, early booking registration discount is available until 31st October 2014 at

More information about this event…


W200px eLTER logo