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									Implementing research
    for sustainable

    Luke Georghiou
   Cassingena Harper

• Sustainable development (SD) is necessity to
  safeguard the interests of future generations
• Important that the research community
  responds to SD challenges and opportunities
  – increasing the research content focus on SD
  – ensuring relevance to demand-driven green
SD in Practice               SD in Content
• Research has growing       • Distinction between research
  footprint (towards 3%        explicitly directed towards SD
  GDP)                         goals and broader thrust of
• Internalised SD values       research which may turn out to
  more likely to be            have relevance for SD
  expressed in the           • How does SD becomes a core
  direction and outputs of     part of the research agenda
  their work                    – Individual researcher’s
                                   career incentives
                                – Institutional priorities for
                             • Interaction between SD
                               research and innovation and
    Sustainable practices in research

• Facilities, consumables and
  estates may all have high
  energy or hazardous nature
• What can be done to promote
  more sustainable practices in
• How to raise awareness on
  sustainable practices and
  identify incentives for take-up?
• How can Europe-wide scope
  be used to share knowledge
  for exchanging good practice?
          Research targeted at SD
Two types
i)    addressing a specific problem in that
      domain – for example sustainable
      transport or sustainable construction;
ii)   entire field or sub-field is engaged with
      these issues

•      Trade-off status and training framework
       of discipline vs. flexibility of needs-
       based approach – perhaps SD best
       thought of as a paradigm

•      Is sustainability science emerging as
       distinct discipline or is it defined by the
       problems it addresses?
              Sectoral issues
• Sectors vary in degree to
  which they are driven by SD
  – No one-size-fits-all approach
  – Examples of agriculture and
• Need more cross-sectoral
  – framework and mechanisms
    for closer interactions
    between researchers in
    different fields and users in
    range of application areas
          Investigator-driven research and
                    its translation
• Sustainable solutions may depend upon

                                                Advancing knowledge
  advances in knowledge in areas of research                          Pure basic    Use-inspired
  such as nano, bio, cognitive science and                            Research     basic research
  complexity where initial aim was                                      (Bohr)       (Pasteur)

   – general advancement of knowledge; or                                           Pure applied
   – pursuit of a different objective                                                Research

                                                                      Advancing application
• Two implications
   – Continue to support investigator-driven
     research on basis of excellence
   – Role for translational science to inject
     radical thinking to more incremental
     approaches of applied research

• Pasteur’s Quadrant and understanding
       Incentives and rewards in the
              research career
• Is interdisciplinary research in SD
  undervalued by the scientific
  community and its reward system?
• Apparent rise in prestige of SD
  research in past decade with increasing
  papers in leading journals

• Should there be prestigious prizes and
  rewards to raise the status of SD
  research and researchers?
      Priority setting and agenda
• Complex process to construct and
  implement priorities
  – Meaningful granularity
  – Interdependence between fields
  – Re-orientation or re-labelling?
        Research and innovation
• Understanding the relation between them
• How to transfer to more sustainable modes of
   – overcome lock-in to dominant sociotechnical regimes
   – Put in place infrastructures and policy/regulatory frameworks
• Critical role for users and link to demand-side
  innovation policies
• Building constituencies including researchers
• Coordination, engagement and building the capacities
  and incentives for users to play a major role in the
• Embedding in a Grand Challenge initiative more likely
  to succeed?
            Research and policy
• Similar feedback loops to
• Role of policy users
   – Risk of purchaser lock-in

• Is there a need for
  coordinated Grand
  Challenge Initiatives to carry
  forward SD research?

• Challenges for improving the level, quality,
  relevance and impact of research on SD
• An effective research system for SD is an
  effective research system for all purposes
• Dedicated, sector-specific approach is called
• Critical role of intersectoral and cross-
  disciplinary approaches in bringing knowledge
  to bear on the challenges posed by SD
• Linkages to innovation and policy play key
  role in constructing agenda for SD research

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