What is Sustainability Science? – University of Copenhagen

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Sustainability Science is ..

Rapidly developing trans-disciplinary, cross-faculty framework for studying issues with interacting cultural, ethical, political, social, legal, economic, technological, ecological and bio-physical elements, and with a time perspective beyond that of the present generation.

Achieving sustainable development, locally, nationally and globally, is an extremely wide-ranging challenge to society, and not the least to science.

In order to meet this challenge, basic and applied research, as well as a wide variety of individual disciplines, need to join forces.

Cross-faculty framework for collaboration

Sustainability Science is a particular and most promising framework for this concerted effort of disciplines, representing different scientific cultures, having different time-perspectives, and differing also with respect to the relative weight of basic versus applied and policy relevant research.

It should not be viewed as a new discipline, replacing the traditional ones, rather it may be seen as a framework for collaboration between traditional disciplines, when organizing a scientific response to the immense challenges we face today.

Systems-based research

Sustainability science is systems-based. This means it requires input of many different academic disciplines. The University of Copenhagen is well placed to make research and educational contributions to systems that require urgent attention from academia. 

Coherent sustainability science must not only account for how bio-physical and man-made systems interact in causal terms, but also how the former affect the latter by being incorporated in the self-understandings of the agents and institutions that ultimately possess the capacity to decide upon possible futures.

Read about the University’s systems-based research

Contact us if you want to know more sustainability@science.ku.dk