Research for Sustainable Development Workshop How to enhance connectivity?

Directorate I - Environment
Sustainable development
Research for Sustainable Development Workshop
How to enhance connectivity?
Brussels June 7&8 2007
Directorate I - Environment
Sustainable development
Research for sustainable development
How to enhance connectivity?
EC Workshop, Brussels, 7-8 June 2007
Rationale for the workshop
The workshop will address the question of how to create connectivity in sustainable
development research. Connectivity refers to linkages between the different pillars of
sustainable development policy, between policy and research, and between the various forms
of knowledge relevant for sustainable development problems (disciplines, research fields,
specialties, or even trans-disciplinary knowledge). The workshop will build on national
experiences and problems identified by Members States and Associated Countries (MS&AC)
in order to formulate recommendations to improved connectivity in and through FP7.
The aim of the workshop is threefold:
1. To share information of experiences between MS&AC.
2. To build a comparative perspective from which we can learn for EU policy
3. To explore opportunities for improved connectivity in and through the 7th Framework
On 2 April, MS&AC were asked to provide a brief overview of sustainable development
policy in their country, of experiences with sustainable development research, of ways to
increase connectivity. Most of the countries submitted statements and these will form some of
the material used in the workshop, especially with a view on exchanging experiences, but also
to assess how EU initiatives can build on these national experiences and add value to them.
We have developed the agenda on the basis of these inputs, and with the view to maximise
discussions and interactions.
On Thursday morning, we will get to know each other, express our expectations and take
stock of the policy context, i.e. the renewed sustainable development strategy and FP7, and
the mirroring effect between the two. We will also listen to Dr. Wiebe Bijker (University of
Maastricht) who will provide a keynote speech on interdisciplinarity, in order to reflect
together on the nature, potential and limits of interdisciplinarity.
Thursday afternoon, we will turn to the discussion of the input provided by MS&AC. As you
will understand, it would not have been feasible to ask each participant to present their input.
To optimise the dynamics of the meeting, we have asked Dr. Willem Halffman1, from the
University of Amsterdam, to review all the input and present them in a synthetic manner. We
have identified four MS&AC with situations we believe to be typical of different approaches
to sustainable development research, and they have accepted to present their national context.
These are United Kingdom, Sweden, Slovakia and Cyprus. As you will see, there will be
ample time for all participants to take the floor, if they wish. Based on the results of the
discussion, we will progressively turn, Friday, to how we can make the most out of the
"sustainable potential" of FP7, and come to conclusions about what kind of FP activities can
enhance connectivity, while not increasing entropy...
Thursday 7 June
PART 1: Setting the scene: what interdisciplinarity can and cannot do
Chair: Manuela Soares, Director for environmental research, DG RTD.
09:00 Opening & Welcoming Remarks, by the Chair.
09:15 Tour de table: brief introduction of participants and expectations from this meeting.
09:40 Introduction: "FP7 is tailored for sustainable research", by Nicole Dewandre, Head of
Unit "Sustainable development", Dir I, DG RTD.
The EU´s Sustainable Development Strategy and its relation to research on
sustainable development; sustainability in the 7th Framework Programme; objectives
of the meeting.
10:30 Coffee break
11:00 Keynote: Prof. Dr. ir. Wiebe Bijker2 (science and technology studies, University of
Maastricht). How can we understand interdisciplinarity? When and how is
interdisciplinarity meaningful? How is interdisciplinarity related to policy relevance?
(With examples of how and where interdisciplinarity ‘works’.)
12:30 Lunch
PART 2: Exploring national experiences
Chair: Nicole Dewandre
14:00 Overview of national experiences, by dr. Willem Halffman (University of
Amsterdam), based on reading the submissions of MS&AC. What are the main
conclusions of the briefs submitted? What do countries struggle with and how do
countries tackle problems of connectivity?
14:30 Discussion: do you recognise your country in this overview? Are there important
aspects we have missed?
15:00 Presentations of two typical examples of national sustainable development research
and research policies: United Kingdom, by Prof. Malcolm Eames, from Brunel
Business School; Cyprus, by Ms. Katerina Kari, from Research Promotion
What is the state of the national sustainable development strategy?
How does this strategy connect to research priorities and how does this relate
to interdisciplinarity?
What are the key problems of research of sustainable development and what
solutions can be retained from these national experiences?
16:30 Coffee break
16:30 Presentations continue with Sweden, by Mr. Uno Svedin, from The Swedish
Research Council Formas and Slovakia, by Mr. Julius Oszlanyi from Institute of
Landscape Ecology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences;
18:30 Closing of day 1
Friday 8 June
Learning from national experiences (conclusions)
09:00 Summary of the discussion so far by Willem Halffman, followed by reactions and
further expansion on national experiences: what do we learn? What ‘works’? What
does it work for?
10:30 Coffee break
PART 3: Research on sustainable development and FP7
Chair: Nicole Dewandre
11:00 Making the most out of sustainability potential of FP7
What can we learn from national experiences to address connectivity issues in FP7?
How can we turn potentialities offered by FP7 into concrete achievements for
sustainable development?
12:30 Lunch
14:00 What activities can FP7 develop to enhance connectivity?
After having taken stock of the national contexts and the FP7 potentialities, we should
have an improved and shared perception of the limitations and bottlenecks, and
identify what activities should be promoted through FP7 to enhance connectivity,
…while not increasing entropy!
16:00 Closing
Directorate I - Environment
Sustainable development
Research for Sustainable Development
How to enhance connectivity?
Brussels June 7&8
Preparatory Input
Finland .................................................................................................................................29
Greece ..................................................................................................................................35
Hungary ...............................................................................................................................38
Israel ....................................................................................................................................47
Latvia ...................................................................................................................................50
Lithuania ................................................................................................................................... 52
Norway ................................................................................................................................54
Slovakia ...............................................................................................................................65
Slovenia ...............................................................................................................................75
Spain ....................................................................................................................................78
Switzerland ..........................................................................................................................84
The Netherlands ...................................................................................................................87
United Kingdom ...................................................................................................................90
This paper consists of preparatory inputs for “Research for Sustainable Development”
meeting from (alphabetically) Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia,
Lithuania, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The
Netherlands and United Kingdom, which endeavour to cover the following:
(1) Existence or not of procedures to connect research to policy in the field of sustainable
(2) Implementing arrangements, or pilot initiatives in research policy and research
organisations in order to foster interdisciplinarity in research for sustainable development or
to integrate research on different aspects of sustainable development (the three pillars
environment, economy, social -or the three P's people/ planet/ profit- or, approaching
integration from another perspective, air/ land/ water). Which disciplines are involved?
(3) References of publications / reports presenting an overview of "research for sustainable
development" (such as the French "La Recherche au service du développement durable" or
the German "Research for Sustainability").
(4) Issues that you would recommend discussing at the meeting.
The meeting will address connectivity in multiple ways: linkages between the different pillars
of sustainable development policy, between policy and research, and between the various
forms of knowledge relevant for sustainable development challenges. Based on this input, we
will aim to identify how and what kind of FP7 activities can enhance the connectivity and get
the most out of the “sustainable potential”.
1. Facts and figures
2. The Austrian Sustainable Development Strategy (ASDS)
and its implementation process
3. FORNE – coordination for research for SD
4. Research programs:
a. PFEIL 10 - program for R&D
b. proVISION - provision for nature and society
c. Nachhaltig Wirtschaften - technologies for SD
d. e2050 - Energy 2050
5. NOSTRES (cooperation among research and education)
in the Ministry of Science and Research
6. Risiko:dialog (dialogue on risk)
7. Selected publications on SD research and policy in Austria
Austrian Sustainable Development Strategy
1995: National Environmental Plan (NUP)
2001: Greenbook for ASDS,
6th roundtable „Sustainable Austria“ discusses the Greenbook
2002: final version „A Sustainable Future for Austria“,
approved by the Council of Ministers (not by parliament)
start of implementation
2003: fist work program (200 measures)
2004: second work program (80 new measures),
first progress report, indicators report
2005: external evaluation
2006: second progress report (qualitative statements)
2007: renewed strategy – from a federal to a national SDS
4 fields of action
1. Quality of Life in Austria
2. Austria as a Dynamic Business Location
3. Living Spaces in Austria
4. Austria´s Responsibility
20 Key Objectives (5 per field of action)
Background / objective / starting points
11 with quantified targets, 9 only qualitative
52 indicators (linked to the fields of action)
60 innovative examples (already existing measures)
Implementation process
Please take note that this input was provided in the form of a Power Point presentation.
Key Objective 4.
Solutions through education and research
The key objective for a sustainable development is to halve the number of people
without a completed education by the year 2015. By the year 2003, the “indicator for life-long
learning” required in accordance with EU obligations must be identified, and then a
quantitative target for increasing the number of people with vocational further training must
be defined for the period until 2015.
National research programmes for a sustainable development and their international
networking must be expanded further. The research system is called upon to provide the
knowledge categories “system knowledge” (structures and processes), “target knowledge”
(scenarios and forecasts) and “transformation knowledge” (from the status quo to the target
status) that are equally relevant for implementation.
Key Objective 6.
Innovative Structures Promote Competitiveness
To promote structures favourable to innovation, the share of thematically focussed
programmes oriented towards the model of sustainable development must be increased
continuously up to the year 2015 within the scope of R&D funding. The aim of the Austrian
Sustainability Strategy is to catch up with the leaders in Europe with regard to the research
quota, which is to be increased to 2.5% of GDP by 2005, and to establish the core issues of
sustainable development (such as resource efficiency, space relevance, participative
approaches, as well as inter- and transdisciplinarity) as guiding principles of national research
policy. This should consolidate the cooperation between various actors in innovations systems
such as e.g. research institutions and enterprises, support the introduction of innovative
products and services on the market, promote the start-up of new companies, and achieve a
stronger need-orientation of R&D in the sense of product-service combinations.
• Implementation process of ASDS
“Committee for a Sustainable Austria”
• Federal ministries and interest groups nominated one to two members
• Coordinating SD-activities in their institutions
• Networking and cooperation between their institutions
• Developing and implementing measures to achieve the objectives of ASDS
(e.g. programs, projects, laws, decrees …)
“Forum Sustainable Austria”
• About 40 experts from science and NGOs
• Strategy: feedback on the work-programs (process accompanying evaluation)
• Political instruction: suggestions for new measures, dialogue with the comittee
• Own secretariat
“Process management group”
• 4 representatives from the Ministry of the Environment
• Support by the Research Institute for Managing Sustainability and “Coverdale”
(Management Consultants)
• Coordinates and structures the process, supports committee and forum
• International exchange of experience
“Work programs” (2003 and 2004)
Involved institutions are responsible for the creation and implementation of measures
within their scope
Establish network and secure coherence between different ministries
So far annual, from 2004 on bi-annual cycle
Data base supports decentralized documentation and management of measures
“Progress reports” (2004)
• Document progress of the ASDS implementation process (qualitative)
• Indicator-Report (quantitative) as an appendix
Process Reviews (2002 and 2004)
• Not mentioned in the ASDS; so far two reviews published by the Research Institute
for Managing Sustainability; in German on
“Evaluation” (2005)
• interdisciplinary group of independent scientists
FORschung für Nachhaltige Entwicklung / Research for Sustainable Development
main actors:
• Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology
• Federal Minstry for Education, Arts and Culture
• Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management
• Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development
• creating sustainable natural, social and technological systems
• securing a viable economic location on a long-term basis
• improving R&D quality
primary task: to ensure coordination of Austrian SD research programs among each other
and with other national and international research programs; for this end, a framework
strategy 2004 plus for research for SD in Austria has been developed; its target system is
continuously being re-developed in order to derive new core themes
semi-annual meetings of the FORNE steering committee
Programm für Forschung und Entwicklung im Lebensministerium 2006-2010 / Program
for R&D in the Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water
Management 2006-2010
• bundling and focusing research activities of the Ministry
• intensified interdisciplinary co-operation
• efficient utilization of research results in order to securing quality of life
activities: targeted establishment of networks; national and international funding of
contract research projects
duration: 2006-2010 (builds on and resumes Pfeil 05)
annual research funds of the Ministry: €3-5 mio
proVISION - Vorsorge für Natur und Gesellschaft /
proVISION - provision for nature and society
sponsor: Federal Ministry of Science and Research
proVISION focuses on the connectedness between ecosphere and sociosphere and
emphasizes 7 core topics:
1. risk assessment
2. sustainable living
3. integrated welfare
4. environmental balance
5. adaptable space
6. global responsibility
7. sustainability mediation
program start: 2004
budget 2004-2006: €7,1 mio,
so far: approx. 20 projects, 80 scientists from 25 institutions
Nachhaltig Wirtschaften
Technologies for Sustainable Development
sponsor: Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology
The program initiates and supports trendsetting research and development projects as well
as the implementation of exemplary pilot projects.
1. Building of Tomorrow: refers to residential and office buildings that feature
improvements as compared to current building practice in Austria
2. Factory of Tomorrow: addresses the trade and industry sector as well as service
enterprises that produce and provide products in a zero-waste and zero-emission
manner to meet tomorrow's needs
3. Energy Systems of Tomorrow: focuses on research and development questions
pertaining to renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, paying special
attention to aspects of an efficient overall system
supported activities:
1. generation of innovative approaches and project definitions
2. activities focusing on fundamental research
3. applied research and development
4. networking and co-operation between individual projects
5. support for implementation (promotion, trainings, etc.)
6. pilot and demonstration projects
program start: 1999
interim report 2004:
1. research funds granted: €35 mio.
2. 284 projects
3. further € 42 mio. planned until 2010
a strategy process to develop a long-term vision for Austria's energy future
sponsor: Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology
• facilitating a shared view of the problem situation
• develop and assess long-term energy options
• establish a R&D focus
• derive technological innovation strategies
potential priorities:
• energy systems and nets
• advanced biogenic fuel production
• energy in industry and trade
• energy in buildings
• energy and end users
• advanced combustion and conversion technologies
• foresight and strategic questions
NOSTRES ForschungsBildungsKooperation
NOSTRES cooperation among research and education
a strategy- and cooperation project, sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Science and
aims at a research and education system based on partnership and complementary
• methods seminars and workshops for an exchange of experiences
• identification of beneficial conditions for co-operation among research and
• manuals with hands-on suggestions
a funding program is currently being prepared
an initative of Radio Austria 1 and the Austrian Federal Environment Agency
a platform fostering dialogues on risk issues with potential effects on the environment,
technology, economy and health and on the interface of ecologic, economic,
technological, political and social developments
aims at
• supporting a dialogue culture for potential and actual risk issues,
• offering orientation for individuals and the society,
• detecting trends in risk perception of the society.
• Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management
• Federal Ministry of Science and Research,
• Federal Ministry for Economics and Labour
• Austrian Research Promotion Agency
• University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences
Selected Publications on SD Research and Policy in Austria
1. Albert, R. et al: „Umsetzung nachhaltiger Entwicklung in Österreich, 2. SustainBericht“ [Implementation of sustainable development in Austria, 2nd Sustain report],
Wien: Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft, Verkehr und Kunst, 2001
2. Albert, R. et al: „Wissenschaft und Nachhaltigkeit“ [Science and Sustainability],
Wien: Bundesministerium für Land- und Forstwirtschaft, Umwelt und
Wasserwirtschaft, 2001
3. Dumreicher, H.: „Von der Information zum Wissen - die Forschungslandschaft der
Nachhaltigkeit aus bibliometrischer und hermeneutischer Sicht: das Beispiel
österreichische Kulturlandschaftsforschung“ [From information to knowledge – a
bibliometric and hermeneutic view on the sustainability research field: an example
from Austrian landscape research], Wien: Bundesministerium für Bildung,
Wissenschaft und Kultur, 2005
4. Begusch-Pfefferkorn,K.: „KLF-Resultate - Empfehlungen, Indikatoren, neues Wissen
aus der österreichischen Kulturlandschaftsforschung“ [Results from KLF recommendations, indicators, new knowledge from the Austrian landscape research],
Wien: Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Kultur, 2005
5. Schönbäck, W.: „Nachhaltigkeit des österreichischen Finanzausgleichs - Status quo
und Optionen“ [Sustainability of the Austrian fiscal equalisation scheme – status quo
and options], Wien: Wirtschaftsforschungsinstitut, 2005
6. (a database for research and sustainable development by the Austrian
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management; aims at
offering a publicly accessible research platform)
Question 1 & 2: Procedures to connect research to policy in the field of Sustainable
Development and implementing arrangements, or pilot initiatives to foster
interdisciplinarity in research
Question 1 and 2 are very much linked. Research in support of policy making very often
requires an integrated and multidisciplinary approach. That is why we treated the two
questions together.
A) Link between the research (Programme) priorities and policy needs
Since 1996, Belspo implemented 3 research programmes related to Sustainable
development. (SPSD I (1996-2000), SPSD II (2000-2005) and SSD (2005-2010).
The drivers behind the last one ‘ Science for a Sustainable development’ are international
treaties or strategies such as the Lisbon Strategy (with the 3 % objective), the Amsterdam
Treaty, the revised E.U Sustainable Development Strategy, commitments which Belgium has
made within the framework of different international Conventions and Agreements4,.
recommendations by international organisations, development of national policy plans and
the creation of a European research area.
The Pogramme addresses the following priority research areas: ‘Energy’, ‘Transport and
mobility’,’Agri-food’, ‘Health and environment’, ‘Biodiversity’, ‘Climate (incl. Antarctica and the
North Sea)’,’Atmosphere, terrestrial and marine ecosystems (incl. Antarctica and the North
Sea)’ and ‘Transversal research’. The entirety of the priority research areas was chosen
because of the necessity to deal with the complex, global, interrelated problems which lie at
the basis of a sustainable development policy. In order to better translate/operationalise the
concept of sustainable development, in and between the priority areas, transversal and
generic research is necessary. Accordingly, the Programme includes a "Transversal
research" part, in order to deal with the following questions:
• the change of unsustainable production and consumption patterns;
• the role of spatial and temporal dimensions of sustainable development;
• the search for and analysis of instruments to support a sustainable development
policy, in particular instruments aimed at a better equilibrium between the social,
economic and environment-related pillars of sustainable development.
The goal of the research actions is also to support specific decision-making in relation to both
sector-related and trans-sectoral problems. The Programme thus promotes interactions
between the priority research areas, so as to respond to common and complex problems
such as air pollution (tropospheric ozone, aerosols…), environment-health relations, the
impacts of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the life cycle of products and services,
renewable forms of energy, the challenge of globalisation, the integrated management of
coasts and basins...
Agenda 21, the Implementation Plan of the WSSD (World Summit on Sustainable Development), the
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, the Vienna Convention and
the Montreal Protocol, the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), the Convention
on Biological Diversity (CBD), the Antarctic Treaty and the Madrid Protocol, the declarations of the
interministerial North Sea Conferences, the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment
of the North-East Atlantic Ocean, the Aarhus Convention, the Millennium Declaration of the UN, the Doha
Declaration of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Frankfurt Charter, the Helsinki Agreement on Health
and Environment…
Determining the full programme content is a process of dialogue between the BELSPO, the
responsible Minister, the Council of Ministers and the programme steering committees
consisting of representatives of the Federal, Regional, and Community administrations. Calls
for research proposals are organized, and proposals undergo peer review by foreign experts.
After examination by the programme steering committees, the Minister approves the
recommended proposals, which are then managed by the BELSPO.
BELSPO programme managers are involved in several policy-preparing fora at the national
and international levels, where they have the opportunity to exchange information from their
research programmes, notably on relevant research projects and results, and bring back new
elements to be included in future research programmes. In addition, administrators participate
in the user groups of BELSPO projects, exchange information with scientists, and give advice
to the networks on e.g. how to better integrate policy needs.
B) Programme/project implementation in support of policy development
All projects are implemented by interdisciplinary networks of 2 to 5 teams so as to offer
support to decision-making on the basis of an integration of different dimensions,
perspectives, etc. of the issues concerned. Some networks consists out of biologists and
physicists; others out of economists and physicists or ‘lawyers’ and biologists.
Projects can be a combination of sectoral, trans-sectoral, and integrated approaches to
the concerned issues of the calls or a targeted action aiming at formulating, within a
relatively short time span, answers to specific policy issues at the (inter)national level. This
may involve applied research, exercises integrating scientific results, proposals for
harmonizing, standardizing data and information.
To stimulate co-operation between complementary research projects projects are clustered.
This ‘‘clustering’’ approach brings the research teams, their users committees, and possibly
other outside experts together around a specific subject. This improves the cohesiveness
and enhances the value of Belgian research in specific fields.
The clusters aim in particular at:
the comparability and/or harmonisation of disciplinary methods and hypothesis;
the analysis and integration of the research results in support of policy
the organisation, structuring and accessibility of the scientific data, information and
the exchange of “good/best practices”;
We are considering a new ‘clustering’ exercise within the SSD programme.
C) Examples of other tools to link research and policy
Scientific results and expertise become useful information for policy support when they are
appropriately integrated into the policy development process via various transfer mechanisms.
Here are some of the specific mechanisms of transfer between science and policy.
1. Dissemination of research outputs. In general, scientists make use of general and
specialized journals or other communication media to inform on findings, sound the
alarm on upcoming problems, and contribute to awareness building in society. In
addition to approaching the media, they may also be approached by the media.
Educating students and the public is another important factor in the dissemination of
knowledge and information.
2. Integration of individual research results into synthesis and assessment reports.
Much effort goes into assembling different research output components into broad and
more comprehensive pictures and deeper understanding in the context of:
(inter)national research programmes; producing state-of-the-art synthesis reports;
informing policy actors, other scientists, and the public at large. Research results from
individual teams receive added value and become more policy-relevant when
aggregated at a higher level within international programmes. At the same time,
Belgian researchers involved in these programmes contribute to generating and taking
stock of expertise that may be applicable to the Belgian context. Scientific assessments
comprise detailed, integrated, state-of-the-art scientific and technical information in a
particular area, often accompanied by a synthesis report and/or a specific summary for
policymakers. Some assessments are designed specifically to meet the needs of
international conventions, e.g. the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment meets the needs
of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Ramsar Convention.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate change assessment
constituted the basis for developing the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the series of UNEP-WMO scientific assessments on
ozone depletion led to various amendments and adjustments to the Montreal Protocol
that crafted the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Synthesis
and assessment reports also reach international and public research institutes and
platforms and also the general public, industries, NGOs, and other societal
organizations, which can in turn influence policy development at the national and
international levels.
3. Involvement of scientists in international and public research institutes. Institutes
such as the European ‘Joint Research Centre’ (JRC) and the ‘International Institute for
Applied Systems Analysis’ (IIASA) are involved in providing assistance, for example
to the EC, by integrating research outcomes, developing models, standards, and
norms, and responding to direct policy demands. Some Belgian scientists have been
active in science policy bridging projects coordinated by these institutes, such as the
IIASA study in which a Science and Policy Committee discussed European
environmental problems in the next 40 years and the implications of alternative
ecologically sustainable development paths. Within the Belgian context, institutes
such as the ‘Flemish institute for technological research’ (VITO) respond to specific
policy demands.
4. Involvement of scientists in platforms. A new concept introduced by the BELSPO is
that of thematic platforms where researchers and potential users of research results
meet. These platforms promote interactions amongst scientists, between scientists and
concerned policymakers, and between scientists and the public. They also advise
science policy decision-makers in Belgium (federal and regional) and Europe on
specific topics. The Belgian Biodiversity Platform: is the information and
communications hub on biodiversity science and research in Belgium. It gives a
privileged access to primary biodiversity data and biodiversity research information. It
encourages interdisciplinary cooperation among scientists and serves as an interface
between researchers and policy makers In particular the thematic forums promote
the dissemination of research results towards policy makers
5. Application of scientific expertise through participation in advisory councils, scientific
committees, and policy-preparing fora.
6. Contribution of scientists to shaping (inter)national research agendas. As
members of scientific committees and expert groups in research organizations and
programmes, scientists can influence the setting of research agendas.
7. Additional support mechanisms include the organization of workshops and
symposia where scientists and policymakers meet, programme and project
information is disseminated, and press contacts on policy relevant issues take place.
Occasionally, specific reports are produced and scientists are invited to take part in
policy-preparing fora.
Question 3 References to publications/report presenting an overview of ‘research for a
sustainable development’
1. The Second multi-annual scientific support plan for a sustainable development policy
- 2001-2005
On the following websites you find the descriptions of the SPSD II programme and its
projects, including references of publications (to order or to download) : Global change,
ecosystems and biodiversity SPSD 2 : Sustainable production
and consumption patterns SPSD2 : SPSD 2 – mixed
actions : on this web site you find
report of finalises ‘mixed actions’, multidisciplinary projects integrating the 3 pillars
of Sustainable development SPSD 2 – supportive
actions (including clusters) By way of an example of a multidiciplinary cluster: : Synthesis of research in the
framework of the cluster sustainable consumption of SPSD II: Sustainable
consumption: what role for consumers?
2. Science for a Sustainable Development (SSD) (2006 -2011)
Question 4: issues recommended to be discussed
(No order of priority)
1. Scientists are rewarded if they publish in high level magazines. The more specific the
research, the better for his career. Those researchers however, who try to work in a
multidisciplinary way, using a lot of time to get the people on the same wavelength
and to make them understand each other, are not realy rewarded. They often publish
less in peer reviewed magazines and but rather in more general ones. Scientists will
be eager to dig into the challenges of multidisciplinary researcher and integration
when they can take profit ( in means of career). What can FP 7 do to motivate
researchers, to reward them and so to attract more scientists willing to do
multidisciplinary research.
2. How scientific research must be organized and implemented in order to reduce the
lag time between the production of research results and policy implementation.
Sometimes research results are very scattered and fragmented. Therefore EU
support for integration and assessment seems necessary. These exercises allow also
a better focusing on further needs.
3. The number of inhabitants on earth increases as does the industrial development and
production and consumption with the related pressures on our system earth.
Therefore, it is important to know what the impact (including non-linearity) is of the
system earth, how it the earth as a system reacts, what the carrying capacity is. This
requires a different approach (e. g. the study of the connections between the
components of the energy-climate-society system (Cfr. the Netherlands proposal)
of research as well as appropriate computer systems. What is the opinion of the E.C
and the member states ?
1. Existence or not of procedures to connect research to policy in the field of sustainable
The encouraging of the scientific research in Bulgaria, as it is outlined by the National
Strategy for Scientific Activity Development, is in compliance with the European framework
programmes for scientific development, technological development and demonstrations, and
other specialised initiatives, Trans-European programmes for scientific research and
innovations. National Science Fund (NSF) is a main financial mechanism for support national
research. The Fund supports activities, programmes and projects, which are focused on
encouraging the scientific research in the Republic of Bulgaria. The governing bodies of the
Fund are Executive Council, Chairperson of the Executive Council and Manager. The
Executive Council consists of 9 members, which are habilitated scientists with an experience
in organising and managing international programmes and initiatives. The permanent
scientific-expert commissions under the Executive Council has been established for
implementing the whole activity on evaluation of the scientific projects and programmes for
the following basic fields of science: mathematics and informatics; natural science; biology;
medical science; agricultural science; technical science; social and humanitarian science. In
the draft of the Bulgarian National Strategy for Sustainable Development a separate chapter is
developed dedicated to the linkages between the policies and scientific research and
2. Implementing arrangements or pilot initiatives, in research policy and research
organizations, in order to foster interdisciplinary in research for sustainable development,
or to integrate research on different aspects of sustainable development (the three pillars
environment, economy, social or the three P’s – people/planet/profit – or, approaching
integration from another perspective, air/land/water). Which disciplines are involved?
Programmes for research and development
NSF aim to help strategic research for important for the economy and society spheres and
increase institutional integration:
From 2005 the following programs started:
The programmes last for three years 2005-2008.
All projects, approved for financing are listed on the website of the NSF
The predominant parts of the producing enterprises are Small and Medium. Bulgaria’s
joining of the EU stipulates increasing the level of their competitiveness. By developing
favourable conditions for business start-ups, development, international growth, and research
intensive Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and by actively including them in research,
development and innovation programmes, this facilitates the conditions for increasing the
investment share for research and development activities. A large percentage of SMEs have a
limited scientific base and have insufficient capacities to include scientifically applicable and
development projects.
Investments in research intensive and development activities have the strongest impact on
productivity, and from there generating added value, especially in scientific advancement.
Company sponsored research lays the foundations for implementing scientific research and
increasing innovation processes in industry. To increase the competitiveness of the Bulgarian
industry, it is necessary to strengthen its innovation potential in two areas:
Improving the innovation processes in companies (administration innovation, product
administration and process innovation);
Creating favourable conditions for industry to fully absorb modern scientific results.
This inculcates increasing the knowledge level and experience in industry, as well as
developing effective mechanisms for technology transfer and know-how.
Fulfillment of a direct dialogue for supplying scientific research services and support in
the sphere of innovation process between the SME and НИ sector
The creation of favourable conditions for SMEs to use scientific services
Energy is the main element in all sectors of the economy in the modern society. It is entirely
dependant on constant energy supplies, in order to maintain its quality of life. The need for
energy will continue to quickly increase in the future for the needs of industry and with the
application of new energy-intensive technologies.
Reliable energy suppliers in the future must have the following cardinal qualities: not to
contribute to global warming, to be pollution free and not to consume finite natural resources.
The attached programme, “New Energy Technologies” is consistent with long-term forecasts
with the economy’s development, science, social and societal life in the country, as well as
including Bulgarian scientific teams in the European research area.
• Increasing competitiveness of the country’s scientific and technological potential of the
country and improving quality of life through advancement of new energy technologies.
• Creating favourable conditions for the national infrastructure in the energy sphere.
• Integrating Bulgaria in the European community as a full and wanted partner in developing
and introduction in new technologies in the energy sphere.
Some problems can have a direct impact on the further development of energy technologies.
Amongst the priorities are the development of hydrogen fuel cells and other gases, developing
new technologies for producing heat and electricity from biomass, developing new
technologies for utilizing heat and solar electrical energy. Fourteen projects are financed
through this programme, such as: “Technologies for solar photo elements on the base of
AZB5 heterostructures”, “Developing improved technologies for the production of biogas
from organic waste in different bio-reactors”, “Heavy metals as a modulator of the methane
fermentation process”, and etc.
During April 2007, the “Scientific Research” Fund of the Ministry of Education and
Science called for the following competitions for the preparation of proposals for
financing scientific-research proposals
1. Competition “Scientific Infrastructure”:
1.1 “Building and developing specialized infrastructure in the sphere of natural science
for the joint use of consortium of minimum three scientific organizations”
1.2 “Building and modernizing IT scientific centres”
2. Competition “Young Bulgarian Scientists”
2.1 “Scholarships for postdoctoral practice in foreign scientific organizations and
mandatory work in a Bulgarian scientific organization”;
2.2 “Assisting the development of the scientific potential in the public institutions for
higher learning”.
3. Competition “Stimulating scientific research in public institutions for higher
learning with the length of the projects – 3 years in the following priority areas:
1. Health and Medicine;
2. Energy efficiency and energy security;
3. Nano-science;
4. Information and communication technologies;
5. Cultural-historical heritage.
The priority areas from 1-4 are with horizontal axis – with an economic aspect.
The purpose of the competition is to encourage the pursuit of high quality scientific research
in the public institutions for higher learning (ДВУ).
Inter-institutional integration with other secondary schools and
universities, scientific organizations, Small and Medium Enterprises,
university hospitals and national centres;
Effective international scientific collaboration and encouraging the
participation of university scientists and teams in the development of
the European university area;
Strengthening the ties between “science-industry” through the
execution of joint scientific research projects (НИП) with companies,
Small and Medium Enterprises.
4. Competition “Preparation for scientific research projects for the participation of
Bulgarian scientists in the competition of the Seventh framework programme of
the EU for scientific research, technological development and pilot projects”.
The Bulgarian scientific organizations and universities actively participated in the scientific
research programmes of EU – Sixth framework programme. In the various separate
programmes, around 260 Bulgarian projects are carried out and funded in the value of 31
million Euro. The projects continue between 1 to 3 years. The questions connected with
global warming are through Priority 6 <<Sustainable Development>> with 34 projects in
total with value of 2.9 million Euro.
3. References of publications/reports presenting an overview of research for sustainable
For implementation the sustainable development goals in connection with the international
commitments in 2006 was set up the Governmental Advisory council for sustainable
development. The goal of the council is to develop the National strategy for sustainable
development of the Republic of Bulgaria, based on the principles on the Renewed EU SDS
and the Lisbon Strategy.
This strategy is aimed to define the directions of the country’s sustainable development. There
are identifying the following key challenges:
Climate Change and clean energy;
Sustainable Transport;
Sustainable consumption and production;
Conservation and management of natural resources;
Public Health;
Social inclusion and demography;
Global poverty and sustainable development challenges.
There are planned out activities and instruments which integrate economic, social and
ecological aspects which consist in a united framework of creating general rules, procedures
and requirements in the development of the strategic, planned and program documents with
impact on the sustainable development.
As a national document the Strategy is orientated for the national sustainable development
and the performance of all contracts, conventions on which Bulgaria is a side in this area. It is
a document on social and economic partnership with broad engagement of the civil society.
At the present moment the draft of the National Sustainable Development Strategy of the
Republic of Bulgaria is accepted as an advisory document for discussion with the broad
populace. There are activities to be fulfilling in order to adopt the final document.
General Overview of the Cyprus’ priorities for Sustainable Development.
Cyprus has not developed a Strategy for Sustainable Development yet.
However, with a view to strengthening the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy and
adopting the main principles of the EU’s Sustainable Development Strategy, the Government
of Cyprus has proceeded to the preparation of the National Reform Programme (NRP).
Furthermore, in order for progress to be achieved on the targets that have been set within the
NRP, a Strategic Framework Programme has been developed within which several business
plans are identified covering in detail targets, strategies, priorities and needs in the field of
Sustainable Development. More specifically, the Business Plan ‘Sustainable Development
and Competitiveness’ represents the Planning Bureau’s strategic report describing a
combination of national priorities for Sustainable Development and the allocation of
economic resources from the Structural Funds provided from the European Union to Cyprus,
and the Cohesion Fund (2007-2013) towards Sustainability (Social, Economic,
Finally, a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) was undertaken to assess the
environmental impacts of the report. The results of the SEA have revealed that the concept
of the environment dimension should be integrated in the promotion of new technologies
and innovation activities. As such, research in the fields of environmental technologies
and integration of environmental concerns in innovation activities should be promoted.
In the following diagram the general goals of the Cyprus’s Strategy for the improvement of
the economy’s competitiveness within the Framework of Sustainable Development are
Strategic Goal
Improvement of the Economy’s Competitiveness
within the Framework of Sustainable Development
General Goals
General Goals
Development and
Enhancement of Basic
Promotion of Knowledge
and Innovation and
Improvement of the
Promotion of Sustainable
Communities in the Rural Areas
Priority Axes
in the field of
and Energy
Improvement of
the Urban
and the Rural
Source: ‘Sustainable Development and Competitiveness’ Business Plan 2007-2013, Planning Bureau, Republic of Cyprus.
The NRP is focused on the Macroeconomic and Microeconomic challenges that Cyprus faces.
More specifically, the Chapters on the Microeconomic challenges cover issues such as the
diversification of the economy towards the production of high value added goods and
services, promotion of R & D and innovation, enhancing competition and improving the
overall business climate (i.e. the economic pillar of sustainable development), expansion
and upgrading of basic infrastructures, promotion of the utilization of renewable energy
sources and energy conservation, environmental sustainability (i.e. the environmental pillar
of sustainable development) and employment challenges. Issues such as social cohesion
(one of the main pillars of Sustainable Development-social pillar of SD) are not covered.
(1) Procedures to Connect Research to Policy in the Field of Sustainable Development
The Research Promotion Foundation is an independent organization established by the
Government of the Republic of Cyprus (1996) and governed by a twelve-member Board of
Directors, appointed by the Council of Ministers. The Foundation serves as the only National
organization for the promotion of scientific and technological research in Cyprus.
The Foundation has developed a wide range of activities, among them, national competitive
programmes for financing of research projects and support of research activities; facilitating
the creation of networks between Cypriot and foreign scientists, cooperation with
international organizations supporting research activities and preparation and implementation
of bilateral agreements between Cyprus and other countries in the field of Research and
Technological Development.
For the design of its research Framework Programmes, the Research Promotion Foundation
has taken into consideration the Lisbon Strategy and the EU’s Sustainable Development
Strategy through the NRP, its progress and the allocation of the economic resources towards
the promotion of Sustainable Development.
In Cyprus, some mechanisms have been developed in order to connect research to policy,
as follows:
The Advisory Committee on Research, Technological Development and
Innovation of the Research Promotion Foundation, that consists of the Permanent
Secretary of the Planning Bureau, the Permanent Secretaries from six Ministries
(Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment,
Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Public
Works, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism), the Chairman of the Board of
Directors of the Research Promotion Foundation and five representatives from the
industrial, academic and research communities, is in charge of the two- way
procedure of providing the Research Promotion Foundation with information on
research priorities.
The Foundation organizes, during the phase of designing its Research Programmes,
public debates giving the opportunity to all stakeholders to voice their views on
priority setting.
The Foundation promotes the establishment of the Cyprus Research Council which
will be comprised by policy- makers, academics and other stakeholders in order to
advice on priority setting.
In the Foundation’s Programmes it is compulsory for an end-user to participate in a
funded project. In some cases end-users are governmental authorities and therefore
research results are easily disseminated among policy-makers and could be used
towards the update and improvement of policies.
(2) Interdisciplinarity in Research for Sustainable Development
The Foundation’s Framework Programme (2003-2006) consisted of three Cycles, eleven
Programmes and thirty four Actions. In almost all Actions the thematic priority “Sustainable
Development” or the “Environment” were included.
Particularly, at the Research Programme level, within the Sustainable Development Action,
the RPF has funded a number of research projects between 2003-2006 related only to the
environmental dimension of sustainability due to the way the action is structured allowing
only the submission of proposals targeted towards the solution of environmental problems,
such as waste management, pollution control, traffic impact assessment and analysis,
renewable energy technologies, management of water resources and urban sustainability. The
socio-economic dimension of sustainability is absent from the structure of the Sustainable
Development research programme and as such, a lack of interdisciplinarity in research for
Sustainable Development is observed.
Research projects funded by the Research Promotion Foundation are targeted towards
the main areas that structure the National Reform Programme of Cyprus and its
progress, (Macroeconomic and Microeconomic challenges) and the Business Plan on
Sustainable Development that have been described above.
However, the design of the new Framework Programme of the RPF (2007-2010) gave the
opportunity for discussions and consultation with stakeholders and the elaboration of public
debates on the priorities that should be promoted towards Sustainability.
The forthcoming Framework Programme of the RPF (2007-2010) is comprised of 5 Axes
as follows:
Axis 1: Strategic and Multidisciplinary Development of Research and Technological
Development (Technology, ICT, Humanities, Sustainable Development, Health and
Biological Sciences)
Axis 2: Development of Human Resources
Axis 3: Promotion of Industrial Development and Innovation (Development of patents and
new products, innovation vouchers, development of linkages between research, technology
and policies through the establishment of offices for the dissemination of research results and
final use in the business and the public sector.
Axis 4: Development of infrastructure and large-scale investments
Axis 5: International networking and collaboration
It should be noted that, the experience the Foundation has gained through its participation in
ERA-NET projects targeted towards the coordination of the funding of environmental
research and the exchange of knowledge and best practice on prioritization methodologies,
decision-making processes and ways of integrating socioeconomic issues in environmental
research, have contributed positively towards the implementation of arrangements towards
fostering interdisciplinarity in research for sustainable development.
(3) References/Publications
No publications exist on Research and Sustainable Development. However, research is
mentioned in the following policy documents:
1. National Reform Programme of Cyprus, Progress Report, Ministry of Finance,
Republic of Cyprus, 2006 (Chapter I, III and IV)
2. Environmental Technologies Action Plan Road Map, Environment Service, Ministry
of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Republic of Cyprus, 2005 (p.2)
3. Business Programme ‘Sustainable Development and Competitiveness 2007-2013’,
Planning Bureau, Ministry of Finance, Republic of Cyprus, 2007 (Chapter I, II and
(4) Recommended issues for Discussion
How the 7th Framework Programme could contribute towards the development and
establishment of mechanisms in the member states, for the connection of research to
Information on links between research and sustainable development in Finland
I. Procedures to connect research to policy in the field of sustainable development
The Finnish Innovation system has several features that create and maintain procedures for
linking research to policy. These include:
A National Commission for Sustainable Development (NCSD) with members
consisting of Ministers, representatives of administration, civil society, business and
chaired by the Prime Minister who is also chair of the national Council for Science
and Technology. These links mean that there are connections at the highest policy
level, but they do not on their own connect specific research themes to policy. They
do, however, provide justifications for many different types of research throughout the
innovation system. The strategy for sustainable development approved by the
government provides a general frame of reference (for details see Other high level
processes have also been established, thus the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the
Ministry of the Environment developed jointly the programme: “Getting more and
better from less. Proposals for Finland's national programme to promote sustainable
consumption and production” which also identified research needs.
The Commission for Sustainable Development is supported by a secretariat hosted at
the Ministry of the Environment. It includes a network of specialists preparing the
agenda for the Meetings of the Commission. At this level there is already a more
direct link between R&D and policy development. This preparatory work is also
closely linked with the development and maintenance of indicators for sustainable
development (see The
indicator work provides direct links to a broad area of research. It also includes
explicit research on the use of the indicators. The links through the secretariat of the
NCSD thus mean that a procedures exist which transmit issues and questions to the
research community from policy and vice versa.
The key funding agencies for R&D, the Academy of Finland and the Finnish Funding
Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) have procedures for establishing
research programs. The development of the research programs include procedures for
identifying relevant policy and research questions through contacts and dialogues with
the administration, research and other stakeholders. In many cases the programs are
jointly funded with Ministries support. These general procedures are also applied in
developing specific programs in support of sustainable development (see section II
A network of sector research institutes and universities. Sector research institutes are
R&D centers that are established for specific areas of R&D as part of the public
administration. These research institutes have procedures for close and regular
contacts with policy development. The overall management is based on yearly results
agreements with the managing ministries. The results agreements specify the key
objectives and also to a varying degree of detail the actual research themes. As
sustainable development has been adopted as a general overarching objective (see 1
above) the results agreements can be more specific. Of the sector research institutes
the Finnish Environment Institute has an explicit task to provide R&D for sustainable
development, but it is also an important theme for most of the other research institutes
from their specific angles.
In the past the procedures for integrating the expertise and work of the different
institutes were not very well developed and Ministries also had a tendency to rely
exclusively on their "own" institutes. In recent years both formal and informal
processes and procedures have been developed to improve contacts across the sector
boundaries both at the policy level (the ministries) and the research level between the
institutes and universities. A proposal has been made in early 2007 to formalize the
procedures for identifying joint policy relevant research in the field of sustainable
development and the proposal will be developed under the auspices of the present
government. The basic idea of the proposal is to create a consortium of ministries that
would identify cross cutting common themes under sustainable development. These
themes would direct the research in the research institutes and also universities
through results agreements and also funding mechanisms and procedures yet to be
The practice of establishing working groups for policy preparation also represents a
procedure for linking research with policy development. Experts, in particular those
from research institutes but also from universities, are commonly appointed to
working groups developing policy programs and legislation.
In summary one can note that the procedures for connecting research to policy in the
field of sustainable development are to a large extent general for the innovation
system. It has been possible to take advantage of them in the field of sustainable
II. Arrangements for interdisciplinary and integrated research
The clearest arrangements and initiatives that have explicit references to interdisciplinary and
integrated research efforts in the field of sustainable development are those of the focused
research programs. A limited number of programs have explicitly been labelled to provide
research for sustainable development, but it can be argued that a large number of programs
have explicitly included elements for sustainable development. Those that also have had an
environmental component include the following:
Under the Academy of Finland (for details see > research programmes)
Baltic Sea Research Programme, BIREME (2003-2005)
Biodiversity, FIBRE (1997-2002)
Ecological construction
Finnish Global Change Research Programme, FIGARE (1999-2002)
Finnish Research Programme on Environmental Health (1998-2001)
Sustainable Use of Natural Resources - research program, SUNARE (2001-2004)
Environmental, Societal and Health Effects of Genetically Modified Organisms, ESGEMO
Environment and Law Research Programme, ENVLAW (2005-2008)
Sustainable Production and Products, KETJU (2006-2010)
Under Tekes (for details see > technology programmes)
ClimBus - Business Opportunities in the Mitigation of Climate Change 2004-2008
DENSY - Distributed Energy Systems 2003-2007
Bionenergy 1993-1998
Cactus - Water Management in Papermaking 1996-2000
Climtech - Technology and Climate Change Programme 1999-2002
Environmental Technology in Construction 1994-1999
Forest Cluster Research Programme 1998-2001
Kesto - Materials for Energy Technology 1997-2001
Ketju - Transport Chain Development Programme 1998-2000
Mobile - Energy and Environment in Transportation 1993-1998
Sihti 2 - Energy and Environmental Technology 1993-1998
Waste to REF & Energy 1998-2001
Water Services 1997-2001
Wood Energy 1999-2003
ProACT - The Research Programme for Advanced Technology Policy 2001-2005
Under Ministries
Climate Change Adaptation Research Programme ISTO
Research programme on adaptation to climate change (2006-2010) (Ministry of Agriculture
Biodiversity Research Programme MOSSE (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry)
The interdisciplinarity has been accomplished to varying degrees. At the level of individual
research projects it is difficult to achieve "full" 3P integration, not the least because of
resource limitations, and thus most interdisciplinary projects tend to be based on different 2P
combinations. Integration across the environment and social aspects has proven to be
probably the most challenging. The integration of economic and social aspects is also
demanding due to conceptual and theoretical differences between the research disciplines. An
integration of economic and more technically oriented environmental disciplines has clearly
been easier. One should note, however, that all three aspects of sustainable development are
very diverse and include a great number of disciplines. A discussion of integration at this
"metalevel" blurs the picture. For example parts of legal studies are widely different from say
political science although both would fit within the "social" pillar. Great differences exist also
within the environmental pillar between say biodiversity research and technical-engineering
studies. Integration across these disciplinary barriers may in some cases be as important for
sustainable development as the integration across the pillars.
Integration at the level of the programs has also proved to be challenging. There is often a
lack of resources to make comprehensive syntheses that would analyse in depth the
relationship between the different aspects of sustainable development, raise the trade offs,
problematise the concepts and generate new syntheses. The most successful ones have
probably been those which have had a specific general theme that has acted as a focus and
attractor. Thus for example the syntheses concerning biodiversity (MOSSE) or the pilot work
on adaptation to climate change (FINADAPT) have contributed to new insights and issues.
Another major challenge has been the establishment of dialogues between administration,
society at large and researchers. Many research programs fail to reach policy makers and
produce scientific results that are very slowly if at all used in policy development. Attempts to
overcome this have been made through the organization of different stakeholder seminars that
may achieve some exchange of information, but stopping short of in depth dialogues on the
implications of the research, or the scientific questions embedded in the policy debates.
III. Reports
There are no overarching reports devoted exclusively to the theme of research for sustainable
development, but individual programs have produced reports which highlight specific aspects.
Examples include:
Sustainable use of renewable natural resources — from principles to practices.
Assessing the adaptive capacity of the Finnish environment and society under a changing
climate (FINADAPT)
Several reports in Finnish on biodiversity, global change etc.
IV. Issues to be raised
An issue of particular interest is the role different types of knowledge and how they are
harmonised and made to communicate with one another. In the area of sustainable
development there is no very clear demarcation line between research based knowledge and
other sources of knowledge when it comes to deciding the direction of societal development.
Thus the researchers of sustainable development can be seen to participate at best in societal
learning. The question then becomes how one can foster such learning processes, what
determines their relative success and where the key challenges are. The role of harmonisation
of concepts and approaches and participatory processes are of particular interest in this regard
both at an EU level and at other levels of governance. Research that would explore these
processes from different aspects could contribute to better understanding of what it takes to
achieve functioning connections between research and policy in the context of sustainable
Another key issue is the establishment and maintenance of arenas for dialogues (or even
"trialogues") between researchers, policy developers and society at large. Practical experience
has shown that it is very challenging to ensure the commitment on the part of researchers
(who feel they waste time and resources away from the "real" work) and equally on the part of
policy developers and implementers (who feel they have to listen to completely theoretical
constructs without links to the real world). The broader group of social actors may feel that
they are drawn into discussions that are not linked to their issues of concern. The societal
learning processes are thus likely to require also training in participation across epistemic
communities determined by position in society. The inclusion of sufficient and realistic
budgets for the learning purposes is a challenge for research planning, but also for reviewers
of research proposals.
International Orientation
• North: Morocco
• West: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast
• Central: DR Congo
• East: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda
• South: Namibia, South Africa
South America
Programme Characteristics
Interdisciplinary, application oriented research including economics and social science
Funding with a long term strategy (3 x 3 years / in most cases)
Cooperative participatory research together with the partner countries in order to fit
the needs of the cooperation partners
Capacity building (personal and infrastructure) in the partner countries
Strong stakeholder involvement on all levels
Transfer of project ownership to the partner country after end of funding at the latest
Important international orientation points:
Framework Directive
BMBF Programmes on Biodiversity and Landuse
Biodiversity and Global Change
• Impact of environmental change on Biological diversity in Europe, South America and
in Africa (BIOTA)
• Scenarios and strategies for prevention, mitigation and adaptation mechanisms to
alterations of the landscape
• Standardised long-term observation of changes of biodiversity on the continental scale
in Africa
• Research to meet the climate change induced necessities
Please take note that this input was provided in the form of a Power Point presentation.
Global Change in the Hydrological Cycle
Application-oriented research for sustainable water resource management in the Volta
Basin of Burkina Faso and Ghana
Development of a Decision Support System to optimize water allocation
Establishment of the “Volta Basin Authority“ with 6 riparian states to coordinate
water mangement in the Volta river catchment area
Though the involvement in the ERA-Net „biodivERsA“ BMBF is looking for strategic
funding partnerships to use synergies and to strengthen current funding initiatives
1) Existence or not of procedures to connect research to policy in the field of sustainable
development (please describe them systematically, if they exist).
The national policy for the promotion of Research, Technology and Innovation has had as
main axis the improvement of the competence of Greek enterprises and the national economy,
in general. In this framework, most of the promoted programmes aimed at the enforcement of
Greek enterprises in the materialisation of research & technological development projects as
well as the connection of research with production. Besides that, actions for enforcing the
infrastructures of public and private sector, the human potential and private enterprise were
In recent years, the formation of this policy had, as a rule of thump, the contribution to the
Lisbon targets and, more specifically, the increase of investments in knowledge and
innovation. The Gross National Expenditure on Research & Technological Development
(GNERTD), as part of the GNP, was just 0.62% in 2003 and 0.61% in 2004 (provisional
data). The following diagram shows the evolution of GNERTD (ΑΕ∆ΕΤΑ in the diagram) in
% of the GNP (ΑΕΠ in the diagram) in the period 1999-2004.
ΑΕ∆ΕΤΑ ως % του ΑΕΠ
Source: Ministry for Development
The Greek Reformation Programme, formed in the frame of the revised Lisbon strategy, has
led to the decision of increasing the national expenditure on R&TD to 1.5% of GNP in 2010,
40% of which must come from private participation.
Besides the above, a series of supporting actions for the development of Research &
Innovation in various sectors of the Greek society has been registered. Some examples are the
formation of Regional Innovation Poles, spin-off companies, the activation of the
Developmental Law 3299/2004 and its modification in 2006, the actions in the various
Operational Programmes, the creation of the Enterprise Observatory, the development of
liaison offices in Universities and Research Centres, the participation of Greece in ESA as
member, the new institutional frame for R&TD and others.
Since the old institutional frame presented some weak points regarding, for instance, the
technological parks and spin-off companies, a new institutional frame is to be brought to the
Parliament; this frame expects to address the above problems with the formation of the
National Research & Technology Council, the Intergovernmental Panel and the National
Administration Organisation, while the completion of a new law for the Development of the
Scientific & Technological Research is anticipated. This law expects to improve the research
environment and increase the R&TD investments in both the public and private sector.
The weakest points of the Greek system concern the broadband penetration, the life-long
education, the capital investment in research by companies, the venture capitals, the export of
high-technology products, the employment in medium- and high-technology jobs, the
preparation of new products and submission for patents. Also, the small actuation of
companies comprises one of the weakest points of the Greek innovation, research and
technology and problematises. The majority of the enterprises with some research activities
are located within Attica, while significant contribution comes from others in Northern
2) Implementing arrangements, or pilot initiatives, in research policy and research
organizations, in order to foster interdisciplinarity in research for sustainable
development, or to integrate research on different aspects of sustainable development (the
3 pillars: environment, economy, social – or the 3 P’s: people/planet/profit – or,
approaching integration from another perspective, air/land/water). Which disciplines
are involved?
In the frame of the specialization of the new strategy for the Research & Development, the
Operational Programme “Competitiveness and Enterprise” has the purpose to play an
important role in the improvement of competitiveness and extroversion of the enterprises and
the production system of the country by giving emphasis in the dimension of innovation.
Regarding this enterprise, the safeguard of the civil and environmental protection is
achieved through the conservation or the increase of the natural and societal asset, measures
that will lead to a sustainable development.
In the period to follow, research activities focused on sectors such as biodiversity, surface and
underground waters, marine and atmospheric environment, ground resources can constitute a
precious tool for the improvement of interventions and planned policy measures.
Proposed actions
Further activate of the National Research & Technology Council.
Promote integrated R&TD interventions.
Promote the interdisciplinarity in R&TD.
Promote research on social aspects of SD (i.e. trade offs between sector policies and social
Promote scientific literacy and adapting higher education to foster research capacity.
Support and foster infrastructures to conduct scientific and technological research suited to
local needs.
Support and foster R&TD infrastructures.
Enhance European, Multilateral and Regional co-operations of Greek entities in the
implementation of R&TD projects and mobility of researchers.
Enforce the native research potential and invite Greek researchers from abroad.
Motivate an increase in the number of patents.
Contribute to the transfer of knowledge into innovative products.
Encourage the SMEs to increase their R&D activities.
Promote Greek participations in common R&TD actions with other EU-member countries.
3) References of publications/reports presenting an overview of “research for
sustainable development” (such as the French “La recherché au service du
developpement durable”, or the German “Research for sustainability”).
The overall responsibility for the revision of the NSDS (although not clearly indicated in the
2002 NSDS), lies within the Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public
Works. The revision of the 2002 NSDS is underway.
4) Issues that you would recommend to discuss at the June meeting.
Promotion of measures for the information of the European society in sustainable
development issues.
Sensitization measures of the European society for adopting sustainable development
Promotion of horizontal actions for implementing sustainable activities in various sectors
(research, economy, transport, society).
Use of technologies in various sectors (e.g., transport, energy) to improve citizens' wellbeing and safety.
Continuation of research related to understanding the (existing) factors or discovering new
ones that govern global climate changes.
Technology transfer across Europe to enhance sustainability matters.
Promotion of research in the field of protection and restoration of cultural monuments.
Europe is a multinational continent with many, relatively small countries. These countries
have limited resources especially for more complex topics. A new term came into use in the
90s: the ‘countries with economy in transition’. This expression has disappeared, but the
problems have remained in many cases. The economical structure has changed; the legal
structure is constantly changing. Therefore, this group of countries, who are partly members
of EU-25 already, or EU-27, or are partly waiting for the possibility to join to EU, face the
additional problem of making co-operation with scientists for politicians evident and viceversa, cooperation with politicians self-understood for scientists.
The limited spatial and financial resources should support co-operation between those groups
of countries that have a similar geographical characteristics or are affected in similar ways
(coastal zones, mountains, urban problems etc.), but often problems of different nature block
co-operation between individual countries.
On the national level, the general organizational processes are similar to the general European
ones, but several times they exist only in formal terms. . For example, stakeholder forums are
organized more and more often, but the participants do not have enough information, or the
meetings are already too late in several cases. The financing structure, legal and bookkeeping
rules change too often, which make the execution of the projects and their control more
Connection of research with policy
SDS contains two items of cross-cutting policies, education, training, and research and
development. R&D has FP7 for support on a larger scale, the ERA-nets as a part of FP7 on a
regional/sub-regional scale and there is also the national scale. According to the actual
financial situation, the national funds have quite large year-to-year variability, sometimes they
are quite unstable, their time schedules are not always on time (promised calls, financing
milestones, etc.).
Research connections to policy are as follows in Hungary:
- thematic description of calls: The final version of the calls of the national R&D projects is a
result of a multi-step reconciliation among the ministries concerned;
- supervision of proposals: The representatives of ministries participate in the work of the
committees preparing the final decisions concerning the different calls.
- ministries can support dedicated research from their own budget
- strategic issues go mostly together with research activities (for example climate change
strategy contains indication to climate change research)
Pilot initiatives to foster interdisciplinarity
We still have obstacles before the cooperation of different branches of science in Hungary.
This means that the social, economical and natural sciences are still quite separated from each
other. Interdisciplinarity occurs mainly within one main branch of science. For such type of
co-operation we have already several examples (climate change researches, agricultural
sciences, etc.), but between the basic sciences only few. The most widespread
interdisciplinary research area is economy in natural sciences. Since Hungary has problems
in the field of water management, with decreasing annual amount of precipitation the situation
of irrigation in agriculture raised the interest of social scientists and a new research field was
thus created which analysed the social impacts of drought conditions that lead to migration,
investigation of life conditions in villages, etc.)
Publications about research on SD
Collecting these publications is an on-going activity.
Sustainable Development Strategy
Key challenges:
- Climate Change and clean energy
- Sustainable transport
- Sustainable consumption and production
- Conservation and management of natural resources
- Public health
- Social inclusion, demography and migration
- Global poverty and sustainable development challenges
Cross cutting:
Education and training & Research and development
Rannís – The Icelandic Centre for Research (
Rannís reports to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture with the purpose of
providing professional assistance in the preparation and implementation of science and
Its main functions are:
Operation of the financial support system for research and technological development.
Provision of services and information to the Council for Science and Technology
Policy and its sub-committees.
Coordinating and promoting Icelandic participation in collaborative international
projects in science and technology.
Monitoring resources and performance in R&D, evaluating the results of scientific
research, technological development and innovation.
Promoting public awareness of research and innovation in Iceland.
Rannís serves the Icelandic science community across all areas of science and the humanities.
Rannís serves the framework for science and technology policy in Iceland introduced by an
act of parliament in 2003. This framework operates under the auspices of the Council for
Science and Technology Policy headed by the Prime Minister and including the Minister of
Education, Science and Culture, the Minister for Trade and Industry, the Minister for Finance
and two other government ministers as occasional members. The Council also includes 14
appointees representing the science, economic and business communities within Iceland.
From the 14 non-ministerial members of the Council for Science and Technology Policy the
Minister of Education, Science and Culture appoints a sub-committee on science and the
Minister of Industry and Trade appoints a sub-committee on technology. The two ministers
also appoint boards of directors that oversee the Research Fund and the Technology
Development Fund respectively. There will be overlaps of individuals across these bodies
with the intention of
The Marine Research Institute (
The Marine Research Institute (MRI), established in 1965, is a government institute under the
auspices of the Ministry of Fisheries. MRI conducts various marine researches and provides
the Ministry with scientific advice based on its research on marine resources and the
The three main areas of activities of the MRI are the following:
to conduct research on the marine environment around Iceland and its living resources
to provide advice to the government on catch levels and conservation measures
to inform the government, the fishery sector and the public about the sea and its living
Orkustofnun – Icelandic National Energy Authority (
Orkustofnun, the National Energy Authority, has two main areas of responsibility:
To advise the government on energy issues and related topics
To carry out energy research and provide consulting services related to energy
development and energy utilisation
Icelandic Institute of Natural History (
The Icelandic Institute of Natural History dates back to 1889 when the Icelandic Natural
History Society established a Natural History Museum in Reykjavik. Now owned and run by
the State, the Institute conducts basic and applied research on the nature of Iceland in the
fields of botany, geology and zoology. The Institute maintains scientific specimen collections
and holds data banks on the various elements of Icelandic nature, it assembles literature on the
natural history of Iceland, operates the Icelandic Bird-Ringing Scheme, prepares species
distribution-, vegetation-, and geological maps, conducts research in connection with
environmental impact assessments, advises on sustainable use of natural resources and land
use, and monitors and assesses the conservation value of species, habitats and ecosystems.
The Stefansson Arctic Institute (
The Stefansson Arctic Institute (SAI) was established in 1998 and operates under the auspices
of the Icelandic Ministry for the Environment. It is located in Akureyri in Northern Iceland
and bears the name of explorer and anthropologist Vilhjálmur Stefánsson (1879-1962). The
staff at the Stefansson Arctic Institute includes scientists with broad interdisciplinary research
background and experience.
The role of SAI is to:
be a forum for co-operation with regards to multi-disciplinary research
promote sustainable development in northern areas
strengthen Icelandic participation in international endeavours in this field
facilitate and co-ordinate Arctic research in Iceland
gather and disseminate information regarding northern issues
advise the Government and co-operate with others internationally
provide facilities for scholars who pursue research relevant to the SAI's agenda.
The University of Iceland (
The University of Iceland has decided to address the need for research and cooperation in a
new and challenging field by creating the new Institute for Sustainable Development. The
institute was established in 2006.
There is an increasing appreciation and understanding all over the World on the importance of
sustainable development. The institute promotes international cooperation, research and
education on all matters relating to sustainable development.
The new institute is founded on two older research institutions of the University of Iceland,
the Fisheries Research Institute and the Environmental Research Institute. Research and other
activities of those institutions are now run under the new University of Iceland Institute for
Sustainable Development.
Procedures to connect research to policy in Ireland
Irish policy is informed by research directly, through research commissioned as a background
to specific policy, and indirectly, through generic funding programmes. The major source of
funding for research to inform national policy is the National Development Plan 2007-2013
(NDP). The NDP’s Science, Technology and Innovation Programme provides €8.2 billion in
funding in research and development.
The NDP provides over €3.5 billion in funding to third-level research. This funding is
governed by three research councils, the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social
Sciences (IRCHSS), the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology
(IRCSET), and the Irish Energy Research Council (IERC). These Research Councils work
with the Higher Education Authority to maximise synergies between their respective
activities. An example of connectivity was the joint call in 2006 by IRCSET and IRCHSS for
exploratory studies into the establishment of graduate research education programmes around
project-based research.
A further significant portion of the NDP’s research funding is managed by public-sector
organisations, often in collaboration with universities and other institutes. Relevant
government departments are informed by a number of these public-sector organisations:
The Department of the Environment, Local Government and Heritage is informed the
Environmental Protection Agency (, the Marine Institute (
and the Heritage Council (, among others. In addition to its role as a
licensing body, the EPA manages national environmental data and the NDP’s
Environment Research Sub-Programme, worth €93 million.
The Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources draws on research
from the Marine Institute, Sustainable Energy Ireland and the Irish Energy Research
Council. The Marine Institute manages the Marine Research sub-programme, worth €141
million. Sustainable Energy Ireland is the Irish energy agency and is involved in
managing funding for renewable energy technologies, technique and field trials as well as
demonstrating projects. The Irish Energy Research Council advises on priorities for Irish
energy research to 2013 and the longer term and recommends on the overall provision of
€149 million allocated under the NDP’s Energy Research Sub-Programme. A further €33
million is managed by Geological Survey Ireland ( and other organisations
under the NDP’s Geoscience Sub-programme, worth €32 million.
The Department of Agriculture and Food (DAF) is informed by research from Teagasc
(, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority; COFORD
(, the National Council for Forest Research and Development; and the
DAF Agriculture and Veterinary Laboratories. These organisations manage the NDP’s
Agri-Food Research Sub-Programme, worth €641 million.
The Department of Social and Family Affairs is informed by the Combat Poverty Agency,
a statutory organisation responsible for advising the Irish Government on policies to
reduce poverty in Ireland.
The Department of Health draws on research managed by the Health Research Board
( The NDP has allocated €301 million to the Health Research SubProgramme.
There are also several bodies mandated to provide an interface between government policy,
research and stakeholder input. Comhar Sustainable Development Council ( is a stakeholder forum and advisory body that commissions original research and the
National Economic and Social Council ( The 2005 NESC report argued that “it
is now necessary to factor the environment more fully into our understanding of the Irish
economy and Irish society”, indicating a convergence of policy direction between the
environmental social and economic sectors. The government recently proposed the setting up
of a new national climate change commission to monitor and assess Ireland’s progress in
addressing climate change and to increase awareness in all sectors about the opportunities and
challenges relating to climate change.
Finally, government departments draw on regular and ad-hoc research by specialised
organisations and consultancies. The most prominent research institute in Ireland is the
independent Economic and Social Research Institute (, which numbers many
government departments among its clients. It has published economic and policy studies in
several fields relating to sustainable development. For specific sectoral studies government
departments commission research to inform major policy reviews, e.g. the Bacon Report on
the Irish forestry sector. Such reports are usually published on completion.
Disconnect: There are some significant gaps in the policy/research interface. Since the
abolition of An Foras Forbartha (the National Institute for Physical Planning and Construction
Research) in 1987 Ireland has not had a research body dedicated to land use and spatial
planning. There is no national research agency for transport, but rather a series of policy and
implementing agencies for discrete aspects of the transport sector, notably the National Roads
Authority (, as well as a research and policy advice body for the Dublin area (the
Dublin Transport Office, Partly as a result there is little coordination at the
national level between land-use policy and transport planning, and there are inadequate links
between research and transport policy in general.
Research policy and research organisations
The research bodies and government agencies listed in the previous section engage in many
aspects of policy development in Ireland. The government funds several initiatives to
coordinate policy that is intended, to a greater or lesser extent, to contribute to sustainable
development. The three Research Councils (IRCSET, IRCHSS, IERC) are independent and
autonomous public bodies that work in close collaboration with each other. They also act as
National Contact Points for the European Union’s Framework Programme’s for research.
The Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, the government’s vision for research
for the period 2006-2013, identifies a number of strategic priorities under the heading of
environment. These include greater understanding of environmental risk, preparedness to
respond to changing circumstances, meeting EU and UN obligations, preparing for the
adverse impacts of climate change, understanding the impact of chemicals in the environment
and the links between environment and health, and the importance of a focus on new
environmental technologies.
Comhar, Ireland’s Sustainable Development Council, has a mandate “to advance the national
agenda for sustainable development, including evaluating progress and assisting in devising
suitable mechanisms and to contribute to the formation of a national consensus in these
matters”. This includes commissioning collaborative and policy-relevant interdisciplinary
research. In 2006, for instance, Comhar held a high-level conference to identify ways to
integrate sustainable development in the National Development Plan, based on commissioned
research into twelve sectors of the Irish economy. Comhar’s main role is facilitating
discussion between stakeholders and communicating the Council’s recommendations to
government and the public at large.
The EPA has a major role in directing sustainable development–related research and feeding
it into national policy. In 2004 the EPA hosted a conference during the Irish Presidency of the
European Union entitled “Bridging the Gap: Information for Action. Mobilising Knowledge
for a Better Environment”, an international conference on aligning research and knowledge
with environmental policy needs. It was organised by the EPA in cooperation with the
European Environment Agency, Copenhagen.
The EPA manages the Environmental Research Technological Development and Innovation
(ERTDI) programme. During the 2000-2006 ERTDI programme 48 socio-economic research
projects were funded in such areas as transport and the environment, distribute effects of
carbon taxes and environmental attitudes in Ireland. The follow-up programme for the period
2007-2013 draws on recommendations
The Environmental Research Centre (ERC) is research facility housed in the EPA established
in cooperation with a number of third-level colleges and institutions
facilitates a more structured approach to environmental research and therefore has an
important role in development and promotion of information, integrated environmental
assessment as well as systems and tools arising from the wider EPA research programme. A
key ERC objective is “to provide information and analysis to advance national sustainable
development objectives”. Its research themes are:
Environmental Indicators
Transboundary Air Pollution (TXB)
GHG/Climate Change
Water Quality and Water Framework Directive
Observation Systems
The ERC has been established with the co-operation of many third-level colleges and
institutions in Ireland, including:
National Center for Geocomputation, National University of Ireland Maynooth
Department of Computer Science, National University of Ireland Maynooth
School of Chemical Sciences, Dublin City University
Environmental Change Institute, National University of Ireland Galway
Botany Department, Trinity College Dublin
National University of Ireland, National University of Ireland Galway
School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin
Centre for Water Resource Research, University College Dublin
Through its projects the ERC is also linked to European research groups and institutions in
Europe including:
European Environment Agency
Group on Earth Observations
PROtocol MOniToring for the GMES Service Element: Atmosphere
European Joint Research Center
European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
Publications/reports presenting an overview of research for sustainable development
There is no national strategy.
The EPA commissioned a background paper in October 2006 suggesting areas for future
socio-economic research in the area of sustainable development entitled “An agenda for
socio-economic research in sustainable development themes”, by Brian Motherway.
Other suggested issues to be included on the agenda
To what extent is the theme of connecting policy and research included in countries’ national
sustainable development strategies?
Would it be feasible to submit countries’ strategies for connecting policy and research to peer
review? (This is being done for national sustainable development strategies)
Environmental science and engineering departments have existed in Israel since earl 70s of
the previous century. These augmented other disciplinary departments that researched
environmental issues. Yet, this research, while leading to sometimes important environmental
insights and measures were not compounded in any way to sustainability concepts. Also after
the Brundtland Report the environmental, economic or social research conducted in Israel was
not related in any systemic way to the emerging sustainability concepts, despite the formation
of an office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Environment (that was established in
Up to the present there is no systemic interlacing of scientific research and sustainable
development efforts in Israel. However, this does not mean there were no connections
between the two. In this note I briefly describe these inter-relations, First Ï present an
historical overview of the development of sustainability notions in Israel, These were
facilitated by academics However, they were not directly fed by scientific research In the
past few years an efforts is made in Israel to identify sustainability indicators. In this initiative
there was an explicit effort to make a connection between academic research and the
development of the indicators. This effort is therefore described in the third section. Then, in
the fourth section some conclusions are sought.
A Historical Overview of Sustainability Strategies in Israel
The first semi-official reference to sustainability in Israel was a part of the Israel 2020
Strategic Plan, prepared in the mid-90s of the previous century. This plan was initiated as a
professional and academic enterprise led by Adam Mazor and a group of academics, mainly
through the Technion at Haifa. The environmental part of this plan, led by the author of this note,
also an academic, advanced sustainability notions and argued for the preparation of a national
sustainability strategy.
Following the 2020 Strategic Plan with the facilitation of the Ministry of Environment, the
Mediterranean Action Plan financed a sustainable development strategy for Israel. This strategy was
compiled on the basis of the Dutch NEPP programs. Therefore it sought to involve multiple
stakeholders in the process. Essentially, six teams were formulated based on sectors, rather than
environmental media Each team was comprised of academics, officials, NGOs and practitioners
from the industry or sector These came up with a sectoral program, which served as inputs into a
comprehensive strategy. This strategy was presented to the Ministry of Environment, but was not
In May 2003, following the Johannesburg Summit, the government adopted a decision to prepare a
national sustainability strategy and formed Director General's committee to oversee it, chaired by
the Director General of the Ministry of Environment. This committee adopted sixteen principles, and
the various government ministries and agencies have been formulating their sustainability programs
since Yet, it this process there was essentially no input from scientific bodies, or scientists, Rather, it
is being prepared as a purely administrative strategy, though representatives from academia and
environmental NGOs sit on the steering committee.
Concurrently, since 2001, there is an academically-led effort to identify indicators for sustainability
to Israel. This efforts has produced to date a first list, which is adapted incrementally by the Central
Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Environment.
The Sustainability Indicators Initiative
In 2001 academics, led by the author of this note, initiated a program for identifying sustainability
indicators for Israel The need was perceived due to the lack of an appropriate base recognized in
the preparation of the initial sustainability strategy, This initiative was greatly facilitated by the
MEDERMIS project, which funded much of it, with additional funds secured by the Jerusalem
Institute for Israel Studies.
In this project, indicators were identified based on several sources: the Blue Plan indicator set,
indicators that were derived from the first Israel sustainability strategy and a set of indicators based
on the best available knowledge in Israel. This latter set was derived by the incorporation of the best
scientific insights in a variety of fields (biodiversity, soils, air, water, open spaces, transportation and
quarrying materials). In each case a leading authority in the field prepared a draft paper and
proposition, which were then reviewed and discussed in closed workshops by the leading experts in
the country. In this manner the best scientific insights were combined in a highly efficient manner
into the identification process of sustainability indicators.
Ultimately, after reviewing the proposed indicators from all sources, a set of fifty seven indicators
was presented in a phase 1 report (Feitelson, 2004). Of this set the majority were derived from the
roundtables conducted by the academics. In other words, the insights gained from the scientific
sources proved to be the most important and pertinent for identifying sustainability indicators for
It should be noted that concurrently with this initiative the Chief Scientist of the ministry of
Environment also compiled a list of environmental indicators on the basis of availably data. Yet, this
also proved inferior to the insights gained from the compilation of scientific insights.
At present additional sets of indicators are sought for local jurisdictions. However, this is
conducted with lesser scientific inputs.
Despite the high academic capabilities in Israel, and the wide, divergent high quality research
conducted in Israeli universities and research institutions, the inputs of research to the advancement
of sustainability in Israel has been extremely limited.
The effects that can be recorded are largely due to the personal initiatives of scientists, mostly from
the social sciences, who were involved in environmental policy making in Israel. These, and a few
senior officials at the Ministry of Environment, have facilitated in their personal roles the
incorporation of scientific insights in the identification of sustainability indicators, and to a much
lesser extent into the formulation of sustainability strategies.
It is striking that there has been only minimal initiative by government agencies to enlist the
contribution of academics, or to incorporate the outcomes of scientific research in formulating
sustainability programs. This may be partially explained by the lack of awareness by most officials in
Israel of what sustainability implies. It is also an outcome of the general disassociation between
policy making and scientific inputs in Israel.
The Israeli case highlights the potential of well-connected research institutes to initiate efforts that
combine academic resources for advancing new programs and notions, where the government lags
behind, Thus the Neeman Institute at the Technion in Haifa initiated and led the Israel 2020 Strategy,
where sustainability ideas were first incorporated in an official Israeli plan, and the Jerusalem
Institute for Israel Studies initiated the first efforts to prepare a sustainability strategy for Israel, as
well as the attempt to identify sustainability indicators for Israel.
The connectivity between research and sustainability in Israel can at present be characterized thus
as anecdotal and haphazard It is driven more by personal connections and initiatives of nongovernmental research institutions, rather than by government There is an acute need thus to
identify ways in which a more systemic connection can be made. However, it is doubtful if
government initiative will lead to the formulation of such connections. If the past is any guide for
the future, such an initiative will have to come from non-governmental organizations, most likely
research institutes.
The Government of Latvia has defined nine priority research areas for the period 2006- 2009
and allocated funding. Four of these priority research areas are in support of sustainable
development, including policy development.
Agro-biotechnology – innovative, environmentally friendly food production
Objectives of Research: Development of innovative technologies for the production of
safe and healthy agricultural food products.
Energy – Environmentally friendly renewable energy resources, energy security and
energy efficiency.
Objectives of Research: Develop new technologies and applications in order to
ensure/promote the widespread use of renewable energies, to ensure/promote energy
efficiency and to ensure the security of energy supplies.
Forestry – sustainable forest management, new products and technologies.
Climate Change – Regional impact of climate change on aquatic ecosystems and
adaptation strategies. Environmentally sustainable management and protection of the
Baltic Sea and inland waters.
Objectives of Research – Assess the short-term, medium-term and long-term impacts
of climate change on the inland waters of Latvia and the environmental quality and
ecosystems of the Baltic Sea in order to develop science-based arguments for the
development of national environmental/sustainable development and sectoral policies
in the context of adaptation to climate change.
University of Latvia Transdisciplinary M.Sc. Training and Research Programme:
Innovations in Physics Studies – Global Change and Sustainable Development Physics
Technologies (2006-2008)
In 2006, a M.Sc. Training and Research Programme commenced at the University of Latvia
with financing from the EU Structural Funds. The programme “Innovations in Physics Studies
– Global Change and Sustainable Development Physics Technologies” utilizes a
transdisciplinary approach to the training of M.Sc. students and guiding research.
The Programme is organized in four modules:
1. Social responsibility: The road to implementing sustainability in the global and local
2. The role of natural sciences in implementing sustainable development.
3. Future technologies: development, needs, conditions, criteria and responsibility.
4. Energy and visions of a zero emissions economy.
Research at the University of Latvia, Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences
Municipal Sustainable Development Indicators
Governance Towards Sustainable Development
National Sustainable Development Strategy
Latvia has a National Sustainable Development Strategy (2002), but it is not directly linked to
the mainstream of national and municipal development planning policies and budgeting.
Similarly, indicators defined to monitor the implementation of the Strategy are not the
indicators elaborated in the National Sustainable Development Indicator Report. The National
Sustainable Development Consultative Council, which is composed of senior representatives
of Ministries and coordinated by the Ministry of Environment meets infrequently to deal with
mainly formal administrative matters related to the National Sustainable Development
Questions for Consideration
How do we raise awareness and mainstream sustainable development amongst public
administrations, policy-makers and decision-makers at the local, regional and national
scale level? Are there more effective short-term methods?
What approaches/methods have proven most successful in bridging the gap between
sustainable development science and policy development/ implementation? Are there
any good practice examples in the context of sustainable development policy or from
other policy areas?
What are the existing institutional barriers to the adoption of the results of
sustainability research in development policies?
What types of institutional arrangements can serve to facilitate the mainstreaming of
sustainable development policies? What types of mechanisms can foster the inclusion
of scientific and local knowledge in discussions regarding sustainable development?
Short Information on Integration of Sustainable Development Research
and Policy – Making in Lithuania
There are no clear procedures how to connect research to policy in the field of
sustainable development.
In the renewed “National Strategy on Sustainable Development” is stressed the need
to implement interdisciplinary research, including environmental, economical and
social components and to connect it to the policy making process.
There are only of few cases on implementation of sustainable development research.
The best one is the Institute of environmental engineering (APINI) at Kaunas
university of technology. The institute is EU center of competence on industrial
sustainable development (SID – APINI), which since 1991 systematically implements
sustainable development and cleaner production programs and projects in Lithuania
and abroad. Real cases proved that waste and pollution minimization as well as energy
and material saving are especially meaningful in the market economy.
In 1998 special methodology for the generation of sustainable innovations and their
financing was developed by the institute. The special credit line for sustainable
innovations financing was opened at Nordic Environmental Financing Corporation
(NEFCO). Since 1999 more than 40 loans were provided to Lithuanian companies for
the sustainable innovations implementation. The results of research mentioned above
have been used for the development of the program on sustainable industrial
development in Lithuania, which was initiated by the Ministry of Economy. There is
some research on sustainable energy, provided by the Lithuanian institute of energy
with partners.
The international contribution by Lithuania into education of the for needs of
sustainable development is well illustrated by the fact that Lithuania and Sweden head
the education sector of the Agenda “The Baltic 21” as well as that after huge
preparatory work the Strategy of the European Economic Committee of the United
Nations of Education for Sustainable Development as well its Implementation Plan of
Vilnius were adopted in Vilnius (on 17-18 March, 2005). These documents will
determine the direction of development of education of Lithuania and of many
countries of the world during the decade of education for sustainable development.
One of the practical cases is the development and implementation of interdisciplinary
Master program “Environmental Management and Cleaner Production” at Kaunas
university of technology and Gediminas technical university in Vilnius.
There are no special publication /report on sustainable development research. Some
information could be found in two publications:
National report on Sustainable Development. From Rio to Johannesburg –
from transition to sustainability, Vilnius, 2002.
The report on Implementation of the National Strategy of Sustainable
Development for the years 2003 – 2004.
How to construct and implement the procedures of sustainable development research
integration with policy making process?
How to facilitate in the country interdisciplinary research and education?
Which incentives for the universities and research institutions could be applied for the
development of research on sustainable development?
The following points from Norway are based on the premise that programmes and policies for
sustainable development are: (a) specifically identified as SD policies and programmes; and
(b) are specifically committed to integrating environmental, social and economic concerns.
Research that is directed through traditional channels to any one of the three policy “pillars”
alone is not covered.
1. Procedures to connect SD research to policy in Norway
(A) The profiles of both SD research and SD policy are currently very low in Norway. While
there is considerable research activity in the areas of climate change, GHG emissions
reduction, energy efficiency, biodiversity, etc. – there are very few initiatives that are
defined and funded as SD initiatives. This situation mirrors the situation with SD policy.
Norway has both a National Strategy for Sustainable Development (as of 2002) and a
National Action Plan for Sustainable Development (as of 2003). Responsibility for the
coordination and implementation of both is placed in the Ministry of Finance; and both
are currently under review and revision. Neither the strategy nor the plan, however, has
been given high political profile. The strategy has been given no political emphasis
whatsoever, and the action plan has only been used as a separate chapter of the National
Budget, with a focus on sectoral bookkeeping in terms of ministerial allocations of
presumed relevance for designated SD themes. The only specific new initiative directly
related to the action plan has been the adoption (by a special commission) of 18
indicators for sustainable development (see Lafferty et al. 2007 for a comprehensive
evaluation of strategic initiatives for SD in Norway).
(B) There are no specific bodies or procedures in place for channelling SD research into SD
policy. There is a “National Committee for International Environmental Questions”
(NIM) which functions as a sporadic forum for coordinating Norwegian positions on SD
in international arenas – and the Research Council of Norway (RCN) has a seat on the
Committee – but the body meets very irregularly; is dominated by the input of
environmental NGOs; and very rarely touches on issues of domestic SD policy. There
previously existed different national committees for mediating between governmental
policy-makers and the scientific community. As of 1993, however, this “strategic role”
for the science and research was entrusted to the Governing Board of the newly
consolidated RCN. The Board has, however, never actively exercised this function, such
that today there are no effective procedures in place for specifically mediating research
and national policy in general.
Contacts between governmental ministries and agencies on the one hand, and the
scientific-research community on the other, are conducted on an ad-hoc, institution-byinstitution basis with both the Research Council and individual research units. There are
currently very few research units or programmes that are specifically working with
issues of sustainable development. As nearly as we can determine, there is only one unit
that has “sustainable development” as a specific goal for applied research: the Centre for
Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo, with ProSus as a
separate “strategic university programme”. There are, however, projects and individual
researchers at other units that carry out SD-related activities. The most important units
here are the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI); the Centre for International Climate and
Environmental Research (CICERO); the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional
Research (NIBR); and the Western Norway Research Institute (WNRI).
(D) The most important fora for relating SD-relevant research to governmental policy are the
numerous programme activities of the Research Council of Norway. The RCN is
organized into three major “divisions”: Innovation, Science and Strategic Priorities. The
latter was specifically established with the intent of focussing research on politically
defined national priorities. The current priorities (organized as separate research
departments) are: Future technologies; Society and public policy; Marine resources and
the environment; Energy and the environment; and Global issues. While all of these
themes could be directly related to sustainable development, the fact is that none of the
five departments use the term in their website presentations. Further, a check of the total
list of research programmes funded by the Council reveals only one programme (in
addition to ProSus) where SD figures in the title: “Framework conditions, governing
possibilities, and policy instruments for sustainable development” (RAMBU). The size
and fate of the programme indicates the general status of research for sustainable
development in Norway. The programme was planned to run from 2001 to 2010, with
increasing allocations over the period of the programme. The allocations remained,
however, at less than 900,000 Euro per year up to 2006, and no further calls within the
RAMBU framework have been issued.
As of early 2007, the RAMBU programme was merged with several other relatively
small programmes into a new initiative entitle “Environment 2015” (Miljø 2015). The
goal of this exercise was primarily a question of “up-scaling” – that is, designed to
simply reduce the administrative costs of smaller programmes. All of the five
programmes included under the new umbrella have to do with different environmentally
related topics (from pollution research to biodiversity to wild salmon). The programme
has been divided into 4 new topical areas (Land, Water, Society and Pollution), and one
area designed to explore the interaction across the other four (called simply “Across”
(TVERS). The idea of the latter is to explore ecosystems, methods for environmental
monitoring and indicators, and “Administration across sectors and natural systems”. One
of the declared goals of the system is “to strengthen the building of relationships within
and between the natural, social and humanistic sciences”. The existing “programme
plan” specifically mentions sustainable development as a goal of the programme, but
this has not yet been formulated in relation to the initial call (April 2007), and no funds
have been earmarked for TVERS in the present call. Issues dealing with climate change
are not covered by the programme. The time frame is (roughly) 2008-2015, and the
designated budget for the first four years is 180 mill NOK (ca. 23 mill EURO). This is
currently the only programme open today which might qualify as a programme for SD
research – though the goal of integrating the three pillars is both latent and noninclusive.
(F) To illustrate “what might have been” in this context, it can be pointed out that, when the
RCN was first consolidated as a merger of five separate councils in 1993, the new
structure was given a sixth internal unit entitled “Division for Environment and
Development”. The unit was also given a specific mandate to coordinate “research for
sustainable development” across the other units. It was this division which was
responsible for establishing ProSus as a separate research activity in 1995. The division
was, however, merged into the new Division for Strategic Priorities in 2003, and no
subsequent unit within the RCN has been given a specific mandate for either conducting
or coordinating SD research. Along the same lines it should also be pointed out that a
high-profile National Council for Sustainable Development, established in the wake of
the launch of the Brundtland Report in 1989, was also quietly phased out in 1994. These
events indicate not only a lack of “political will” on integrating research and sustainable
development, but an actual reversal of political will.
2. Implementing arrangements or pilot initiatives to achieve SD integration
This point is addressed to the issues of interdisciplinarity and specific mechanisms for
integrating the “three pillars”.
(A) The goal of “multi” or “inter” disciplinary approaches has long been discussed within the
Norwegian research community. All of the institutions mentioned above (1.C) stipulate,
for example, multi- or inter-disciplinarity (ID) as a principal goal of the organisation. In
practice, however, this usually converts into a practice whereby different disciplinary
experts work on separate projects within a common institutional framework.
Programmes or projects where different disciplines are integrated into the research
design at the outset, are very rare. With respect to research for sustainable development,
the following initiatives can be highlighted:
(A.1) The previously mentioned Division for Environment and Development within the RCN
had ID as a key goal of its activity. It commissioned two separate studies of the topic as
a basis for further research organisation and funding – but the plans were never made
specific with respect to finding paradigms for ID activities. The Division also arranged a
series of high-level thematic conferences on different SD themes. The conferences were
followed up by reports and policy-specific briefs. But given that no ministry at the time
(1996-2000) claimed or acknowledged SD as a specific area of responsibility; and
lacking either a national SD strategy or action plan, the connection between researchbased advice and policy initiatives remained tenuous.
(A.2) Since the reorganisation of the RCN in 2003, there has only been one large-scale effort
to promote greater inter-disciplinarity and cross-fertilisation between “basic” and
“applied” science. This was an international conference on “Science in a new situation –
the role of basic research” held in June 2004. One of the sessions of the conference dealt
specifically with the relationship between basic and applied science in the area of
sustainable development. The conference attracted widespread attention both within and
outside Norway – but the proceedings were never published (as intended), and there
were no visible impacts on the science-policy interaction.
(A.3) The Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo has
from its inception (in the wake of the Brundtland Report), been profiled as a multi-,
inter-disciplinary institution. The current strategy document of the Centre declares it a
principal goal to function as a “national centre for research on sustainable
development”, and one of the key means of doing this is through “multi-disciplinary
research”. The Centre is also organized as a university-wide centre, designed to bring
together researchers from across all of the University’s faculties and institutes. Once
again, however, the formulation of goals has proved easier than the realisation of results.
The Centre has made strenuous efforts to bring together different disciplines in joint
programmes and projects, but this has proved extremely difficult. Earlier evaluations of
the Centre indicate that there have been very few projects that have managed to focus on
the interaction between development and environment with respect to developing
countries; and that similar projects for Norway were non-existent. Researchers with
different disciplinary backgrounds have always been present on the Centre’s staff – but
integrating the disciplines in joint problematics and projects has not been achieved.
(A.4) The strategic research programme ProSus represents a relatively unique case with
respect to research-policy integration. The programme was established by the RCN in
1995, and functioned as a stand-alone operation until 2000 when it was re-located as an
administrative unit within SUM at the University of Oslo. The remit for the programme
involves a three-fold task: (i) evaluation of national efforts to implement sustainable
development as specifically outlined in the Rio Accords of 1992 – particularly Agenda
21 and its follow-up by the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD);
(ii) the pursuit of strategic, applied research into the barriers for more effective
implementation of SD goals; and (iii) active dissemination of research results and
promotion of public debate on SD values and goals. The programme has aimed to
achieve these goals through remit-specific interdisciplinarity: i.e. by bringing together
political scientists, policy analysts, economists, social geographers and sociologists, all
focused around a single key research question – “What works, where, when, and how
for the promotion of sustainable development”?
(A.5) ProSus thus represents a particularly interesting example of integrated research for SD
since it: (i) focuses specifically on SD as understood within the UN context (i.e.
acknowledging the task of “three-pillar” integration); (ii) brings together the disciplines
necessary to produce knowledge for achieving strategically defined goals; (iii) conducts
methodologically specific evaluations of governmental initiatives; and (iv) has been
independently financed by the Research Council of Norway. By combining
comprehensive academic evaluations of national programmes and policies with strategic
research for overcoming barriers to SD goal achievement, ProSus fulfils a crucial
function of democratic governance. For administrative reasons, the funding of the
programme by RCN is now being phased out, so that as of 01.01.09 the programme
must find new sources of income. A summary report of the programme’s activities (over
a 15-year period) will be produced in 2008.
3. Publications/overviews of “research for sustainable development”
As indicated above, many would point here to separate overviews of environmental research,
poverty research, institutional economics, regional studies, etc. – all of which can be
specifically related to SD sub-themes. Documentation of research directed towards SD as a
more focussed effort to integrate and adapt economic and social goals to environmental
concerns is, however, much more seldom. For Norway, we would mention the following
written sources as containing references to the most prominent activities:
- Lafferty, WM; OS Langhelle, P Mugaas, M Holmboe Ruge (eds) (1997): Rio + 5: Norges
oppfølging av FN-konferansen om miljø og utvikling, Oslo: Tano Forlag.
Lafferty, WM (1999): “Sustainable development as a research problem and theme for political
science”, International Political Science Review 20: 123-128.
- Lafferty, WM; M Nordskag, HA Aakre (eds) (2002): Realizing Rio in Norway: Evaluative
Studies of Sustainable Development. Oslo: ProSus [The chapter by Nordskag on “Improving
decision-making for sustainable development: The role of science and information” is
particularly relevant].
- Lafferty, WM; A Ruud, HA Aakre (2003): Strategisk forskning for bærekraftig utvikling:
Utvalgte tiltak i Norden, Nederland og Storbritannia [“Strategic research for sustainable
development: Selected initiatives in the Nordic Region, the Netherlands and Great Britain”],
ProSus Report 4/03.
Publications listed at the following websites should also be checked for relevant keywords:
- Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo:
[All SUM publications and all previous publications of ProSus are listed at this address. Most
are available for downloading.]
- The Research Council of Norway (RCN):
- The research programme Miljø 2015: Available at the RCN website – though not in English.
- Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI):
- Centre for International
- Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR):
- Western Norway Research Institute (WNRI):
4. Issues for discussion:
(A) The normative-conceptual issue as to whether SD requires balance among the three
pillars (the search for “win-win” solutions); or policies, programmes and decision-making
procedures for resolving unavoidable trade-offs among economic, social and environmental
(B) A more focused emphasis on sustainable production and consumption and the goal of decoupling as essential goals of SD. The issue of identifying prioritized tasks within the
plethora of possible SD goals.
(C) Need for greater clarification of the legal status of Article 6 of the “Principles” of the
Treaty establishing the European Community, which stipulates that: “Environmental
protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and implementation of the
Community policies and activities referred to in Article 3, in particular with a view to
promoting sustainable development.”
(D) Institutional mechanisms for governing for sustainable development: How to better secure
Environmental Policy Integration (EPI) in practice – as both “vertical” (sectoral and multilevel governance) and “horizontal” (intra-governmental policy coordination and trade-offs)
(E) The contextualisation of market-oriented steering instruments.
(F) Institutions and procedures for strengthening the role of science and the precautionary
principle in resolving crucial policy trade-offs at all levels of governance.
Integration of development objectives into R&D and innovation policies
The National Authority for Scientific Research (NASR) of Romania constantly and strongly
promotes R&D and innovation as high priority policy domains, with a clear view to increase
the capacity of the Romanian R&D and innovation system to support the achievement of
Lisbon strategy objectives related to sustainable economic growth and competitivity.
The main instruments for implementing R&D and innovation policy priorities are:
the national R&D and innovation programmes, coordinated by the National Authority
for Scientific Research:
• The programme “Research of excellence”, running for 2005-2008, in order to better
prepare participation to the future EU Framework Programme for Research for the
period 2007-2013. Its profficiency was already confirmed by the more than 400
projects with romanian participation, that were selected for financing under FP6;
• the Programme IMPACT, running for the period 2006-2010, which is dedicated to
the preparation of RDI projects for future financing from structural funds during 20072013. The programme supports the costs for consultancy services needed for
preparation of consolidated projects’ dossiers, including support documents (e.g.
feasibility studies) that will accompany the applications. Up to now 248 projects were
• the National Plan for R&D and Innovation. NPRDI I for the period 1999 –2006
included 15 national R&D programmes in various S&T fields;
• the Programme of grants for scientific research, initiated since 1996, which
supports the formation of scientific careers;
• the Nucleus research programmes, launched in 2003, as programmes of the national
R&D institutes, reflecting their research strategy, in relation to specific sectoral
development strategies;
• the INFRATECH programme, launched in 2004, for the development of the spec
initialized infrastructures for technology transfer and innovation;
sectoral R&D plans- launched in 2004, aiming to cover R&D objectives related to
sectoral technological development- financed by ministries coordinating the respective
The Programme Research of excellence (CEEX), launched by NASR in 2005 as an effective
instrument to directly support and accelerates the preparation of the S&T community for the
integration in the European Research Area, focuses on:
concentrating and building a critical mass of high level S&T competence, by the
formation of poles of excellence in fields specific to leading technologies, in
accordance with ERA specific priorities and objectives;
increasing the capability of researchers, R&D institutions and industrial partners to
develop high complexity R&D projects, involving viable networks and consortia and
integrated research bases;
improve the R&D system’s capacity to generate, diffuse and transfer to economy high
value knowledge and results, in S&T fields specific to advanced technologies.
In particular the Programme Research of excellence has in view the development of human
resources for research and to increase the international visibility of Romanian universities and
R&D organizations, by promoting a stronger interaction between education and research
activities and a higher national and international mobility of researchers, through projects for:
- post-doctoral research programmes;
- reintegration of young researchers who benefitted of research fellowships abroad;
- intra-and inter-sectoral mobility of researchers;
- long term S&T partnerships and cooperation with European research institutions;
- training for performant research management.
In order to strengthen research-industry cooperation, especially in high technology fields,
NASR also launched in 2005 a vast action for promoting technology platforms at national
level, in correlation with the European ones, Currently NASR monitors 21 national platforms
in fields such as: hydrogen and fuel cells, water management, maritime transport, future
manufacturing, nanoelectronics, nanomedicine, innovative medicines, sustainable chemistry,
plants genomics and biotechnology, aeronautics.
Also, up to now, the development of 23 technology transfer and innovation centres (9
incubators, 10 technology transfer centres, 4 technology information centres) and 4 S/T parks
(located in Arad, Bucureşti, Craiova, Cluj-Napoca, Deva, Iaşi, Râmnicu-Vâlcea, Timişoara,
Tulcea), was authorised and financially supported through the INFRATECH Programme.
NASR has recently finalized the National Strategy for R&D and Innovation for 2007-2013
(adopted by Government Decision 217/ 2007) and the associated National Plan for R&D
and Innovation for 2007-2013 - NPRDI II (draft Government Decision under approval),
stating as main strategic objectives in the post-accession period:
Promoting the creation and development of S&T knowledge, with a view on obtaining
high level, internationally competitive, S&T results ;
Increasing the competitiveness of the Romanian economy, by promoting the diffusion and
transfer of S&T knowledge and the innovation processes with strong economic impact ;
Increasing the quality of life, through the development of S&T solutions with high
benefits for society.
In order to achieve the general objectives of the National RDI Strategy, the RDI policies in
the post-accession period will strongly focus on the key specific objective to develop the
human capital and the material base for research, for bringing them to a level comparable to
the other EU member states. Supportive measures promoted by NPRDI II include:
Increasing the number of young researchers, of PhDs and post-doctoral graduates, and
also of romanian researchers from abroad reintegrated in R&D activities in Romania. The
indicative targets, by 2009, are an increase of R&D personnel to 47.000 (from 41035 in
2005) at present and of researchers to 33.000 (from 29608 in 2005);
Developing in R&D institutions and in universities a working environment comparable to
similar EU institutions, with high perfomance research equipment and ICT facilities,
integrated into complex research platforms, compatible with European ones;
Promoting the European dimension of research in Romania, by improving the level and
quality of participation of researchers to R&D programmes and activities in the European
Also, during the post-accession period, R&D and innovation are expected to play a much
stronger role in increasing Romania’s economic competitiveness. Therefore, public
investment in RDI, mostly achieved through the programmes in the National Plan for R&D
and Innovation for 2007-2013 (e.g. the programmes “Partnerships in priority S&T domains”
and “Innovation”), is focusing on the scientific and technical areas specific to advanced
technologies, with a view to their wide scale introduction in most of economic sectors.
The final aim is to determine and maintain an increased capacity for innovation in enterprises
and, thus, to ensure a sustainable technological development process.
Priority technology fields the National RDI Plan II include: ICTs; advanced technologies
and innovative products, including new materials and bio- and eco-technologies, in industry,
agriculture and food safety, health, energy, environment and transportation and also for
increasing the quality of life. Thus, NPRDI II also ensures a close synergy with the structure
and objectives of the EU Framework Programme for Research for 2007-2013 - FP7.
Specific RDI policies measures for increasing economic competitiveness are promoted
convergently by both the National RDI Plan and by the RDI components in:
- The National Development Plan, through the Sectoral Operational Programme for
Economic Competitiveness (POS-CCE), which includes Priority Axis II: “Increasing
economic competitiveness through R&D and innovation”;
- the National Programme of Reforms for achieving the Lisbon Strategy objectives (NRP),
which is in preparation and includes the “Knowledge and Innovation” component.
The concerted RDI policies measures oriented towards the increase of economic
competitiveness include:
the development of research-industry partnerships, with the specific aim to
develop integrated technology platforms and promote the formation of technology
clusters in high-technology areas;
stimulation of RDI activities in enterprises, by promoting the diffusion of S&T
knowledge and research results and by supporting the creation and development of
innovative firms;
investment for the development of RDI activities and infrastructures at regional
Starting with 2005, in order to determine a more rapid shift in the evolution of the RDI
system, and, consequently, a quicker adaptation to the complex requirements of the postaccession period, the Romanian Government has firmly engaged in the direction of
increasing resources invested in research.
Thus, public expenditures for R&D will register a significantly high growth rate during the
whole period 2006-2010. The projection in terms of percentages of GDP shows:
2006: public funds for R&D reached approx. 0,4% of GDP, namely 1,5 times more
than 2005 (0,26% of GDP) and almost two times more, as compared to 2004 (0,21%
of GDP);
2007: the level foreseen for public funds is of 0,56% of GDP. Total R&D
expenditures are estimated to reach 1% of GDP, with private funds of around 0,35%
of GDP, and the contribution from structural funds for the remaining;
2008-2010: further increases are foreseen for public funds, in order to reach 0,75% of
GDP in 2008 and 0.9% of GDP in 2009 and, finally 1% of GDP in 2010.
The planning of state budget funds for R&D for 2007-2010 has in view, as a main driving
principle, to ensure their complementarity with European and private sources, taking into
account the following critical requirements:
- To ensure the financial conditions for participation in EU FP7, including Euratom, and also
to the other RDI programmes and initiatives in the European space ;
- to sustain an increased absorbtion capacity for structural funds in the RDI domain.
Private funds spent for R&D are still low (~0,2% of GDP). Recent measures, promoted by
NASR in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Finances, in order to stimulate the increase
of private sector expenditure for R&D include:
- the explicit presentation of enterprises’ R&D expenditures in the yearly financial balance;
- the 100% deductibility of R&D expenditures in the calculation of taxable income,
introduced by the new Fiscal Code, entered into force from 1st January 2007.
Under these circumstances, private funds spent for R&D are expected to increase to 0,75% 1% of GDP by 2013.
Multilateral S&T cooperation programmes oriented towards common development
Romania is developing multilateral cooperation programmes in science and technology,
oriented towards the development of synergies at regional level or at the level of countries
with common strategic interests.
At regional level Romania participates in S&T cooperation programmes in the frame of the
Central European Initiative and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
Taking advantage on the participation of NASR to the FP6 projects, there is a development on
the regional policies thanks to ERA NET or CA or SSA projects involving the Western
Balkans Countries, the Black Sea Region and the Eastern European and Central Asian
Romania’s participation in MDGs-oriented initiatives
During 2000 - 2006 period (after the launch of the Millenium Development Goals), Romania
was a full member of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UN
CSTD), a consultative body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), where around
40 states from five continents are represented, on a rotating principle basis.
UN CSTD has the mandate to provide governments and the UN system, in particular the
Economic and Social Council, with appropriate recommendations and advice on the role and
contribution of science and technology to the formulation and implementation of development
policies and strategies at national and regional levels, with a view to both developing and less
developed countries.
As well, UN CSTD has the role to provide recommendations and guidelines on science and
technology matters within the United Nations system, in view of developing common policies
and agree on appropriate actions.
The recommendations produced by CSTD, as a result of its (bi-)annual working panels and,
plenary sessions, provide a most substantial support for the work of ECOSOC and the
consequent adoption of resolutions referring to the strong correlation and interdependence
between RTD and innovation and development policies.
During its membership at UN CSTD, Romania was repeatedly elected as vice-president of the
Commission. In this capacity it brought a quite active and significant contribution to the
formulation, analysis and debate of the substantive themes for CSTD’s work,
During the mentioned period, the themes chosen for debate by CSTD have been fully devoted
to the implementation of MDGs, and have strongly emphasised the special role for
development played by the promotion of ICTs, biotechnologies and environment
technologies, especially in less developed regions, including Africa.
Referring to the 2000-2006 period, the substantive themes analyzed by CSTD include:
2005-2006, "Bridging the Technology Gap between and within Nations"
2004-2005, "Science and technology promotion, advice and application for the achievement
of the Millennium Development Goals"
2003-2004, "Promoting the application of science and technology to meet the Millennium
Development Goals"
2001-2003, "Technology development and capacity-building for competitiveness in a digital
1999-2001, "National capacity-building in biotechnology, with particular attention to
agriculture and the agro-industry, health and the environment"
Issue recommended for discussion at the june expert meeting
The role of R&D and innovation in the national SDSs, from the perspective of the renewed
1. Existence or not of procedures to connect research to policy
The issues of sustainability are modern and very topical, as they are an inevitable precondition
for the next existence of mankind. Their solution is coming to the fore especially in the latest
period when cumulated environmental problems (such as the exhausting of natural resources,
deteriorating quality of the environment, threat to biodiversity, impairment of the landscape
stability, growth of negative psychosocial phenomena etc.) outgrow a purely ecological
framework and become existential (i.e. the existential substance of mankind is endangered at
Thus the research on sustainability problems starts from pragmatic needs. It is simply
necessary from the viewpoint of preserving life on the Earth. Many professional as well as
political events deal with sustainability issues. Out of them, the Rio Summit ’92 belongs to
the most important ones because it gave an impetus to the solution of problems regarding
sustainable development at the world-wide level.
Approaches (and then definitions) to the concept of "sustainable development" on a worldwide scale are very numerous and heterogeneous at this time. They are based on a variety of
aspects, for instance:
"…such a way of the management of natural resources (air, water, soil, mineral resources)
and living systems including man, which will ensure the achievement of the highest
sustainable quality of life ";
that accepts the limits of the consumption and utilization of natural
"…life style that is approximating the ideals of humanism and harmonic relation between man
and nature in a time-unlimited horizon";
"…improving the quality of life of man within the carrying capacity of supporting
"…as life within the bounds of the carrying capacity of biosphere";
"…process aimed at ensuring an adequate development of all forms of life not excluding
human life in a long-term temporal horizon";
"…goal-directed process of changes in the behavior of human society towards itself and also
towards its surroundings (i.e. landscape and its resources), which is aimed at increasing the
contemporary and future potential for satisfying the human needs and those of other beings
considering the possibilities (limits) of landscape and its resources".
As is evident from the above given definitions, sustainable development is used to denote
such a societal development that regards and respects the natural resources. Thus the
fundamental goal of sustainability is to harmonize the economic development with the
protection of nature, natural and cultural-historical resources, and the environment.
The conception of sustainable development implies the aspect of integrated approach to
preserving the conditions and forms of life on the Earth. So the conceptions of the long65
term development of individual branches (which, of course, exist too) - formulated only on
the basis of economic parameters - cannot be considered the conceptions of the proclaimed
notion of "sustainable development" as defined at the conference in Rio.
With regard to the global character of sustainable development issues, in their implementation
it is necessary to respect the following principles:
a) supraregional - from the viewpoint of successful carrying out the program of sustainable
development, it is inevitable to strengthen international collaboration and cooperation.
Because of the character of environmental processes that cannot be confined to the level of
one or several selected countries (e.g. the formation of ecological networks, transport of
emissions etc.), it is needed for all countries to accede to the implementation of sustainable
development as soon as possible;
b) supradepartmental - the solution of environmental problems unconditionally requires
overcoming the traditional component approach and the application of the
supradepartmental approach. The environmental principles have to be respected by all
spheres of economic and societal development;
c) of complexity - it is necessary to tackle the problems of sustainable development in a
complex way, taking into account all its dimensions - environmental, economic and social.
It is inadmissible to prefer the development of one dimension to the detriment of the others
(e.g. economic development over environmental impacts etc.).
As is evident, the sustainable development must make up an interconnected
integrated system.
Problems of the implementation of sustainable development
Although it has elapsed over 15 years from declaring the concept of sustainable development
at the Rio Summit, its implementation process may not be considered to be without problems.
The following problems can be deemed fundamental from the world-wide viewpoint:
still persisting formal approach of particular countries to the implementation of
sustainable development. Many countries declared accession to the implementation of
sustainable development, but the concrete steps of its realization are slow, ineffective the weak support of sustainable development programs, unwillingness to change the
current developmental paradigm, low level of tools supporting the implementation of
sustainable development (i.e. legal standards, economic instruments, environmental
education forming the ecological awareness of the population etc.);
the policy makers are not able to implement of the scientific results in to real
practice, the scientific language is very different from language of the policy makers,
the implementation of the environmental measurements is not popular in the current
marked economic disproportions among single regions largely complicating the
process of sustainable development implementation. Many countries of the world do
not have economic possibilities to carry out the program of sustainable development;
persisting inertia in preferring the unsustainable life style, i.e. anthropocentrism,
individualism, preference of the consumer life style and unsustainable consumption
patterns, low degree of solidarity, cooperation and mutual assistance, then prevailing
technocratism, disrespect for natural resources and the environment;
disproportion between the distribution of natural resources (including space as a
natural resource) and the accessibility to them - the problems of overpopulation
associated with the manifestations of poverty on the one hand, on the other hand it is
overconsumption and excessive dissipation of natural resources;
persisting preference of economic interests over environmental and social ones,
underestimation of environmental hazards and threats, preference of solving social and
existential problems over environmental ones - unemployment, criminality, corruption,
drug addiction etc.;
poor level of coordination and international collaboration in the implementation of
sustainable development - the absence of internationally valid limit standards for the
utilization of natural resources as well as for the operation of hazardous substances
endangering the quality of natural resources and the environment, then non-respecting
of international agreements, insufficient control of their performance etc.;
still persisting high degree of intensification in production processes with negative
impacts on the environment - threat to natural resources, the environment, health of
the population etc.;
preference of short-term effects, often those with unfavorable impacts, to the
detriment of long-term ones supporting sustainable development etc.;
absence of a uniform system of indicators as the basic parameters of sustainable
development, which are valid, used and regularly evaluated in all regions of the world.
Non effective system of the environmental education – in the many countries is not
establishment effective environmental education aimed at the conception of the
sustainable development. In the many countries environmental awareness is very low.
The environmental awareness and environmental are basic factors of the insufficient
implementation of the sustainable development.
2 Pilot iniciatives
Trends in the development of sustainable development issues in Slovakia
A more pronounced implementation of the conception of sustainable development has in
Slovakia been evident since the conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The country has
actively participated in the Rio Summit process. The methodology of landscape-ecological
planning - LANDEP - was established in AGENDA 21, Chapter 10 as one of the
recommended methods for the integrated control of natural resources.
The Slovak Republic declared its joining in the program of sustainable development by a
Government Resolution of 1992, which directs to apply the results of the UN Conference on
Environment and Development to the developmental programs of individual ministries.
After the Rio Summit a marked progress in the field of legislation supporting the
implementation of sustainable development can be seen in the country. A whole set of laws
compatible with the requirements of the European Union was already adopted. It concerns
especially the laws supporting the rational utilization of natural resources and the protection
of the environment. They are, for instance, the Act on the Environment (N. 17/1992), Act on
Air Protection (N. 309/1991), Act on Waste (N. 238/1991), Act on Nature Protection (N.
287/1994), Act on Environmental Impact Assessment (N. 127/1994) and many others.
The concept of sustainability was legislatively established in the Act on the Environment.
Sustainability is here defined as such a development that satisfies the needs of the present
generation without endangering the ability of the future generations to satisfy their own
The document "Strategy, principles and priorities of the State environmental policy" may be
considered to be an essential instrument to implement sustainable development in the country.
This strategy was elaborated by the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic and
approved by the Slovak Government Resolution N. 619 of September 7, 1993 and also by the
National Council Resolution N. 339 of November 18, 1993. Measures to achieve the goals of
the Strategy in all sectors of the protection and formation of the environment were given in
the first National Environmental Action Plan passed by the Government in 1996.
The Strategy of the State environmental policy is based on an analysis of the condition of the
environment and its components in Slovakia. By means of that, the Strategy determines the
priorities of the State environmental policy and lays down the goals aimed at solving the
problems of the environment and its components.
With regard to the given aims, priorities and principles, the Strategy of the State
environmental policy requires the concretization of measures in single departments (branches)
as well as its development at the regional level. The Strategy was developed and more
specified within the district conceptions of environmental care and in the National
Environmental Action Plan of the Slovak Republic (the NEAP) as approved by the
Government Resolution N. 350 of May 14, 1996. The NEAP is based on the Strategy,
principles and priorities of the State environmental policy. It implies the measures to realize
the aims of environmental strategy at the national level. The National Environmental
Action Plan defines the concrete conceptional, legislative, organizational, educational
and investment measures that lead to achieving the goals of the Strategy of the State
environmental policy. At the same time, the Plan sets the coordinators for singular measures.
Similarly to the Strategy, also the Plan identifies the long-term, medium-term and short-term
objectives divided into several sectors.
In order to coordinate the implementation of sustainable development in the country as well
as to strengthen international cooperation in this field and on the basis of the Government
Resolution N. 78/1999 of January 27, 1999, the Government Council for Sustainable
Development was established in the Slovak Republic. Its essential tasks are:
⇒ to coordinate individual subjects in enforcing AGENDA 21 and the principles of
sustainable development as well as in evaluating the indicators of sustainable
⇒ to collaborate with the Government in enforcing AGENDA 21 and the principles of
sustainable development within the international context, to coordinate the activities of
the Slovak Republic in relation to the UN Commission for Sustainable Development;
⇒ to evaluate the interconnections of social, economic and environmental aspects in the
implementation of sustainable development in the Slovak Republic.
In the Slovak Republic there were elaborated some strategic documents:
National Strategy of the Sustainable Development was approved by the Resolution of the
Slovak Government October 10, 2001 and was declared by National Council of the
Slovak Republic on April 3, 2002. The National Strategy of Sustainable Development
defines 7 main priorities of development in the Slovak Republic and 28 main goals.
Regional Agenda 21 - central topic of the project was to elaborate the methodology of
regional Agenda 21 and their application on the study area - middle river Hron basin. Its
aim was based on analysis and evaluation of natural and socio-economic conditions of the
region and current state of their utilisation, to elaborate basic strategic objectives of
development of the territory.
Local Agenda 21 – in the Slovak Republic there were elaborated some examples of the
studies of Local Agenda 21
Problems of the implementation of sustainable development in the Slovak Republic
Despite all the above-described progress, certain reserves in the field of implementing
sustainable development in Slovakia are still evident. They may be summarized into the next
• still high energy and raw materials exacting character of production processes, slow rate of
restructurization in production;
• insufficient realization of technological measures in production processes - low degree of
the application of technological processes not stressing the environment;
• lack of financial means to accomplish programs supporting sustainable development, low
share of investments in the environment;
• absence of economic instruments stimulating the economic subjects to environmental
• reserves in legislation - defects in legislative norms governing the operation of some risk
factors, nuclear safety etc., then frequent violation of legal standards, low efficiency of
their control and so on;
• lengthy process of the application of environmental directives to the departmental and
regional developmental plans;
∗ poor level of the environmental awareness of the population, preference of the set of values
not well corresponding with the principles of sustainable development;
• insufficient system of environmental education - absence of environmental education at
elementary and secondary schools;
• slow transformation of social sphere, frequent occurrence of negative psychosocial
phenomena etc.;
• political instability influencing the rate of sustainable development implementation.
Implementation of the interdisciplinary approach was elaborated in the following
Integrated landscape management - Basic result of the project was the elaboration of
the model of integrated landscape management. It is based upon the integrated landscape
research in its three dimensions (environmental, social and economic) and investigation of
the relations among single dimensions with the aim to define such a landscape
management which will harmonize the social development of the area with its natural,
socio-economic and cultural-historical potential. It removes the traditional componental
approach to the landscape and principles of departmental research, landscape utilization
and management causing serious environmental and socio-economic landscape problems.
The model consists of the open system of methodical steps applicable in any areas.
Modification of these steps lies mainly in input indices reflecting the differentiation of
natural, cultural-historical and socio-economic pecularities of single regions and
settlements. The model is elaborated for GIS, it enables its wide and easy application in
arbitrary areas. The basis of the model is the determination of the factors (natural, social,
economical etc.) determining the optimum land use, their hierarchization for the decisionmaking process as well as elaboration of the algorythm of the decision-making process of
landscape-ecologically optimum spatial and functional land use. It is a model aimed at the
harmonization of social development of the area with its natural, socio-economical amd
cultural-historical potential. It is aimed at harmonization of the offer presenting single
resources of the given region and demands for development of the given society. From
this aspect Integrated management can be considered as the main tool of sustainable
development in practice. The model was verified in three landscape types on three
hierarchic levels − supraregional – Slovakia, regional − district of Trnava and local − rural
settlement Suchá nad Parnou. The methodological approach was applied also in other
areas – „kopanitse“ settlement Pohronský Inovec and Tribeč, biosphere reserve Tatry etc.
The socio-economic research on the field of biodiversity - results of the SoBio project
in the Slovak Republic - The overall aim of the SoBio project was to stimulate social
research relevant to the management of biodiversity and ecosystems, particularly with
regard to the development of successful policies in this field, by creating an overview of
existing knowledge and assessing its relevance for policymaking and policy
implementation, and identifying current priority needs for additional policy relevant
BIOSCENE - Its aim was to evaluate influences of the future changes in agriculture on
the biodiversity according to the general perception of this territory by the stakeholders
and guarantying of permanently sustainable development of the territory. The part of the
solution of the project creates elaboration of the three scenarios and their evaluation by
stakeholders. The stakeholder evaluated three proposed scenarios from the viewpoint of
their influence on the future development of the territory. The first scenario – preservation
of the present trends in agriculture, second scenario – liberalization in agriculture and the
third scenario – managed protection and support of biodiversity. Opinions of the
stakeholders where utilized in the elaboration of the strategy of sustainable development
of the study area.
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4. Issues for discussing
Necessarily to applied integrated approach to the sustainable development - it must be
based upon the integrated landscape research in its three dimensions (environmental,
social and economic) and investigation of the relations among single dimensions with the
aim to define such a landscape management which will harmonize the social development
of the area with its natural, socio-economic and cultural-historical potential. It must
remove the traditional componential approach to the landscape and principles of
departmental research. It must be based of understanding the landscape as an integration
of natural, cultural-historical and social sources in every point on Earth surface. Although
the principles of integrated studies in general are accepted, the projects oriented on
solving integrated studies on practical level are rare.
Evaluation of the environmental awareness – the degree of the environmental awareness
of population is very different the big differences are among different countries, different
cultures etc. The degree of the environmental awareness is basic factor of the
implementation of the sustainable development in the real practice.
Basic information on researches on the field of sustainable development in Slovenia
1. Existence or not procedures to connect to policy in the field of sustainable development
To evaluate researching activities on the field of sustainable development (SD) in Slovenia, it
is important from the point of view of national-strategic researching that Slovenia:
- doesn’t have otherwise elaborated complete strategy of sustainable development;
- Government development strategy for Slovenia for the period 2006-2013 (elaborated in
2005) as one of four basic development goals is defining the sustainable development goal or
putting into force the sustainability principle as basic quality criteria in all development
In Slovene government key strategic document it is underlined in the introduction that in the
forefront there is the whole welfare, therefore the strategy contains above all economic, social
and environmental fields. Among five development priorities of Slovenia’s development
strategies (2006-2013) there is: „connecting measures to reach sustainable development“
(continual population renewing, more accordant regional development, assuring optimal
health conditions, improving space managing, integrating environmental measures into
sectorial policies and consumer patterns, developing of national identity and culture).
Development policy is planned and financed mainly by The Ministry for High Education,
Science and Technology of Slovene republic. In the frame of the mentioned ministry (i.e. in
the Office for science), there is no special organisational unit which would be specifically
occupied with integration policy on the SD field. The researches are classified into four basic
groups, yet researches from SD field are not separated as a special research field (table 1). A
bigger stress in researching SD was laid on applicative research projects especially on the aim
research programmes that have destined the major part of their research to economic
viewpoints of needed competitive growth in Slovenia (2001-2006).
Table 1: The researches from the SD field in the frame of the Ministry for high education,
science and technology of Slovene republic (2001-2006)
Designation of research
programmes and directions from the point
of view of contents and
1. research
Rounded up, long-term
research work, as a rule
into groups of sciences in
the frame of naturalmathematic,
medicine, and biotechnical,
social and humanistic
Researches from the SD field
Researches from the SD field are not
specially separated, separate segments
were researched from the sectorial point
of view (i.e. the research on renewable
energy sources = technical sciences)
2. basic research
Experimental or theoretical
research work in six
science groups (i.e. naturalmathematic science) 100%
financed by the Ministry.
3. applicative
The research is directed
research projects
into acquiring new, useful
knowledge for practical
goals and purposes, up to
75% financed by the
4. the aim research Formed as a special
programme structure of
projects, preferentially in
the frame of the aim
„Competitive position of
Slovenia in 2001-2006“.
Financial participation of
two or more ministries.
Researches from SD field were not
specially separated
Separate researches from SD field that
were wider interdisciplinary (i.e. the
interdependency of
components of continual development
in joining Slovenia into EU).
Goal aimed research on nine centres of
researching, with advantageous research
of economic field in a wider sense. DS
research field is not specially
determined however, it is present in
most of researches yet as a rule only
with separate field or two SD fields (i.e.
environment and economy). Explicitly
stressed interdisciplinary and durably
devised is however the centre of gravity
development and development role of
environment” as well as “Entire
development on the field of food safety,
healthy nutrition and development of
2. Implementing arrangements or pilot initiatives in research policy and research
organisation, in order to foster interdisciplinarity in research for SD, or to integrate
research on different aspects of SD
The resolution on Slovene national research and development programme for the period
2006-2010 (2006) undoubtedly places interdisciplinary set researches among key research
fields for the first time, which directly supports the development supporting economic spheres
among which above all the researches on the field of technologies for renewable energy are
exposed: energy and environmental technologies, technologies for rational use of energy, for
the use of new and renewable sources of energy, for the healthy and safe environment, for
sustainable building etc.
The same holds for the researches of health and life sciences, the preferential interdisciplinary
approach is explicitly stressed on the fields of natural-technical and biotechnical,
pharmaceutical and medical sciences and is connected to the demands of European directives
from the field of quality life. However, it has to be critically emphasised that SD largely too
partially connects with the goal of raising economic competitiveness and less with the
important social and environmental side of sustainable progress. Still it is important that
among criteria for defining the selection of researches there is also a connection of lines and
fields for wholesome, sustainable and humane progress.
In any case, among explicitly interdisciplinary and applicative devised researches of different
fields in permanent development it is necessary to expose professional basis for elaborating
the Strategies for Slovenia development (2005) that were directed towards connecting of all
the three SD dimensions (economic, social and environmental).
Among researches on the SD field supported by separate ministries of Slovene republic it is
necessary to mention the Ministry for Environment and Space which financially supports i.e.
the pilot, permanent programmes of environment protection in separate communities
(Municipality of Ljubljana) and permanent plans of river basins’ regulation (Krka river basin).
Among pilot research initiatives of civil society it is necessary to mention the so called Plan B
for development of Slovenia (2007) which was elaborated with a help of a voluntary experts’
research work of permanent development and was presented by non-government
environmental organisations under the direction of Umanotera. Plan B for (sustainable)
development of Slovenia contains also the proposal of interdisciplinary devised researches
needed for carrying out the sustainable development which is (with the difference of
prevailing researches in the direction of economic durability, supported by the government of
RS) very much directed into researches on the field of environment sustainability.
3. References of publications/reports presenting on overview of research for SD
Yearly reports on financing research activities for the period 1997-2003;
The data foundation on research organisations, researchers and projects financed by the
Ministry for High education, Science and Technology;
The researches and projects co-financed by the Ministry for Environment and Space.
4. Issues that Slovenia would recommend discussing at the June meeting
I suggest that on the meeting in June a greater attention is also focused on:
re-forming SD research priorities on EU level and in the frame of member states,
owing to two new environmentally more radical goals of EU policy and reducing and
adjusting to climate changes: decreasing emissions for 20 (30) % until the year 2020
and 20% renewable energy sources in energy balances until the year 2020;
creating interdisciplinary SD research field also on the level of basic research projects;
the possibilities of systematic incorporating of non-government environment
organisations into research groups on the SD field;
researches that would be the condition for systematic sustainable education on
scholastic as well as business fields
creating real organisational and financial terms for an interdisciplinary project
research in geographical and geo-political rounded up macro-regions that aside from
EU members include also the potential candidates: i.e. in the frame of Danube river
basin, SE Europe etc.
1. Procedures to connect research to policy in the field of sustainable development
The most important instruments to connect research to policy in this field are currently:
1) The National R&D&I Plan
2) The Strategic Initiative INGENIO 2010
1) The National R&D Plan
This Plan sets every four years the priorities of the government for the distribution of public
funds on a competitive basis (see section below). Policy design is thus in the hands of the
government, which regularly presents the National R&D&I Plan to the Parliament for
approval, as well as any legislation affecting the R&D&I system. Regional governments also
have an increasing role in the design of R&D&I policies within their territories.
The Inter-ministerial Commission for Science and Technology (CICYT), attached to the
Ministry of Education and Science (MEC), has the formal objective of planning, coordinating
and monitoring the National Plan.
The implementation of policies is constrained by the availability of funds, which are provided
by the central and regional government budget appropriations for R&D as well as by EU
structural funds.
The Plan is elaborated by the government and approved by the Parliament every 4 year.
Currently the National R&D&I Plan 2004-2007 are in force. The ultimate goal of the National
Plan is to contribute to knowledge generation for the benefit of society and the improvement
of social welfare, but it also has a specific set of objectives, classified into the following
Strategic objectives relating to the STE system
• Enhance the level of Spanish science and technology, both in scale and quality
• Expand the number and quality of human resources in both the public and private sectors
• Reinforce the international dimension of Spanish science and technology, with special
emphasis on the European Research Area
• Strengthen the role of the public sector in generating fundamental knowledge
• Improve the visibility and communication of scientific and technological advances in
Spanish society
Strategic objectives relating to coordination of the STE system
• Reinforce cooperation between the National and Regional Government and, in particular,
improve coordination between the R&D&I NP and the regional R&D&I plans of the Regional
• Improve coordination between the NP Administration, and improve the NP evaluation and
management procedures.
• Promote cooperation and coordination between public R&D institutions.
Strategic objectives relating to business competitiveness
• Boost the technology and innovation capacity of enterprises.
• Promote creation of an innovating entrepreneurial community.
• Contribute to creating an environment that favours investment in R&D&I.
• Improve interaction, collaboration and partnering arrangements between the public sector
R&D and the business community.
Structure of the NP
The National Plan is implemented through 29 National R&D Programmes and 3 Strategic
Actions managed by different ministerial departments or agencies (mainly MEC and the
Ministry for Tourism, Industry and Commerce, MITYC) and corresponding to different
thematic priority lines. It is presented around two axes: priority areas (thematic and horizontal
areas), which include the priority areas deemed of strategic importance for the Spanish STE
system. The actions in each of the areas are set in motion by means of national programmes.
The thematic breadth of those programmes requires the establishment, where appropriate, of
subprogrammes with specific management structures.
One of the thematic areas and national programmes of the NP is AGRO-FOOD AND
three National Programmes:
1. National Programme on Agro-Food Resources and Technology
2. The National Programme on Environmental Sciences and Technologies
3. National Programme on Biodiversity, Earth Sciences and Global Warming
The National Programme on Environmental Sciences and Technologies include two subprogrammes:
• National sub-program on marine science and technology.
• National sub-program on technologies for sustainable environmental management.
The National Sub-programme on Technologies for Sustainable Environmental Management:
The aim of this sub-programme is to minimise the environmental impact of production and
consumption of goods and services and to facilitate compliance with international
environmental commitments subscribed to by Spain in this field.
The National Programme on Biodiversity, Earth Sciences and Global Warming includes:
National Sub-programme on Biodiversity
National Sub-programme on the Atmosphere and Global Warming
National Sub-programme on Earth Sciences
National Sub-programme on Polar Research
Other priority areas of the NP are The National Energy Programme and the STRATEGIC
competitiveness of Spain’s tourism sector and excellence in tourism should be at the top of
the Spanish society’s list of objectives.
The government is drafting next Plan (2008- 2015) at this moment. The Plan will contain the
recommendations of the evaluation Commision. It will be structured in 3 Areas and Actions.
One of the areas will be the construction of sectorial strategic capacities. There are eight
actions with the aim of the interdisciplinarity between the R&D and the sectorial politics.
2) The Strategic Initiative INGENIO 2010
With the aim to stimulate the economy, increase employment and boost productivity the
government launched in 2005 the National Reform Plan (NRP). The 4th Pillar of the NRP was
the strategic initiative for R&D&I INGENIO 2010. Whit this Plan, R&D&I policy had
explicitly become a part of the economic policy and objectives of the Spanish government.
INGENIO 2010 included measures such as a continued increase in public investment in
R&D&I until 2010 (more than 25% annual increase), improvement of existing policy
instruments and new strategic actions to complement existing initiatives. Some of the
characteristics of those new actions, as stressed by the government, involved a shift of
emphasis for policy support from individuals to groups, networks and consortia; from specific
projects to research lines; from short-term objectives to long-term ones; from atomized to
large projects in size and scope; and finally, from ex-ante evaluation to a system where
evaluation is done at all stages (ex-ante, intermediate and ex-post). The boundaries between
old and new instruments are not clear-cut in some areas, however, leading to overlapping in
some areas.
The National Plan Follow-up and Evaluation Commission (COSEP) was created in May 2005
as part of the National Plan System of Monitoring and Evaluation (SISE) introduced by the
government in 2005, as part of the INGENIO 2010 initiative. COSEP responds to the terms of
reference marked by SISE by echoing the views of one hundred experts, distributed in
different sub-commissions, about the design and impact of the National Plan. It prepared its
first report in 2005 based on the National R&D&I Plan activities of 2004. On the one hand,
the Plan defines broad strategic objectives, with large abstraction levels, whereas, on the
other, it includes – as a result of a participative process – an excessive number of detailed
“priority lines”.
The main instruments are:
1. CÉNIT. Its aim is to enhance the cooperation between the public and the private sectors in
Some of the thematic areas are: Sustainable development, environment, sustainable mobility.
2. CONSOLIDER. Its aim is to get the excellence in research.
3. [email protected]: to improve the Information Society.
2. Others Initiatives
Since 2005 the Observatorio de la Sostenibilidad en España (Spanish Observatory for
Sustainability) is an institution created by the cooperation lf the Ministry of Environment, the
Foundation for Biodiversity and the University of Alcala de Henares. It tries to be a centre of
reference to get and evaluate information about sustainability in Spain. It is an important
centre for publications about sustainable development. In this context was created in 2006 a
special net (Red de capacidades técnicas y científicas para la investigación sobre
sostenibilidad en España) to foster the network to sharing information and to consolidate
research areas of investigation and operative criteria in sustainable development.
The Swedish Environmental Advisory Council advises the Government on environmental
The Council serves as a platform for discussions on environmental policies and sustainable
development. Established in 1968, it has played an important role over the years as a forum
for debate on strategic environmental issues.
In 2007 a Scientific Council on Climate Issues has established to give the scientific base for
climate policy.
In its Environmental Objectives Bill "Swedish environmental objectives - a common task"
(Government Bill 2004/05:150), the Government declares its intention to appoint a
commission and task it with drawing up priority proposals for Swedish actions to improve
the global environment, whilst at the same time paying heed to economic growth. The
emphasis is to be on proposals aimed at severing the link between economic growth and
the deterioration of the environment, a concept known as 'decoupling'. The intention is to
develop measures that Sweden can implement either independently or use to promote
international cooperation to enable environmental improvements to be reconciled with
improvements in people's living conditions. The Swedish Environmental Advisory Council
will contribute to the planned commission during 2006 by compiling background
information and performing an analysis based on existing material and ongoing
commissions on the development of the state of the environment in a world of economic
expansion. Based on the analysis, the Council should provide ideas on feasible measures
to enable Sweden to pursue an international policy that promotes environment-driven
growth while at the same time overcomes the negative environmental effects of
economic growth.
Since spring 2003 the Council focuses on two clusters and have formed working groups for
those. One cluster is on the sustainable use and management of natural resources and
includes agriculture, forestry and fishery. During 2004 this working group has looked at
marine issues and especially eutrophication. The work resulted in a paper with
recommendations to the Government
During 2005 the group worked with a Memorandum on a sustainable fisheries strategy. To
create conditions for sustainable fisheries in Sweden, the Council recommends the
Government to adopt a strategy that A) formulate a vision for Swedish fisheries policy that
all stakeholders can accept, B) implement a number of acute national actions, e.g. reducing
overcapacity and making better use of existing (relatively successful) instruments (such as
effort regulation and local co-management regimes), C) implement strategic measures aimed
at making the ecosystem approach operational, D) develop a plan of action to deal with
possible social and economic consequences of a collapse of the cod stock and C) strengthen
international co-operation in identified priority areas.
The other cluster deals with decoupling of economic growth from environmental degradation
and the need for transition of the energy and transport systems, of consumption and
production patterns and of construction and cityplanning. This working group has focused on
climate and energy. In December 2004 a paper on energy savings in buildings was handed
over to the Government.
During 2005 the group worked with a Strategy for reduced transport dependency. To create
conditions for sustainable transport: in Sweden, the Council recommends the Government to
adopt a strategy for reduced transport dependency which A) increases the focus on access
and on sustainable transport solutions in overall political management, B) strengthens
planning tools and C) reforms economic policy instruments. The focus is on reforming policy
instruments that currently steer in the wrong direction and which thereby contribute to
transport dependency, sending contradictory messages to important societal actors in the
climate challenge. The Council also proposes ten measures, with considerable potentials to
reduce C02-emissions, to put this strategy into effect.
In connection with the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg 2002 the
Swedish Environmental Advisory Council acted as the Governments link to the scientific
society in Sweden. After the Summit the Council arranged together with the Swedish
Research Councils a conference: After Johannesburg - Challenges for the Research
Community. A summary of the documentation is available in English. Based oh the
conclusions at the conference the Swedish Environmental Advisory Council has developed a
paper with recommendations reagarding research for sustainable development.
The Swedish Environmental Advisory Council meets five to six times a year with working
group meetings in between.
Some of the themes addressed at Council meetings since October 2001 are global institutions,
technological development and transfer for sustainable development, decoupling, resilience
and vulnerability, child health and environmental risks, the marine environment, strategies
for a sustainable energy system, research for sustainable development, as well as questions
regarding the Swedish Environmental quality objectives. Experts on the various themes have
been invited to each of these meetings.
The Council has also invited members of the scientific community to draw up synthesis
reports on some of the themes. Resilience and Sustainable Development: Building Adaptive
Capacity in a World of Transformation is a synthesis of case studies and recent insights in the
context of emerging theories of complex systems characterised by uncertainty and surprise,
compiled by researchers from the international scientific network Resilience Alliance. A
report oh decoupling, Decoupling - past trends and prospects for the future, was written by
researchers from the international scientific: network Global Alliance for Sustainable
Between 1994 and 2001, the Swedish Environmental Advisory Council completed a number
of direct government assignments. Examples include dialogues with industry -Sustainable
industries and business - proposals on Green indicators and a project on a sustainable Swedish
archipelago. All these tasks have been completed and reports submitted to the Swedish
An international conference on strategies for sustainable development, organized on behalf of
EEAC, the European Environmental Advisory Councils, was held by the Council on 23
February 2001 in Stockholm. The network also produced a paper on sustainable development
strategies which was presented at the conference.
Meeting to improve connectivity both geographically and thematically in sustainable
development research
1. Procedures to connect research to policy in the field of sustainable development
The first way in which Switzerland links research and policy in the field of sustainable
development is via specific programmes for the advancement of targeted research. While
sustainable development per se is rarely the main object of such research, the topics selected
often have a strong sustainability focus. The Swiss National Science Foundation (
supports targeted research in the form of research programmes. These are split into two
different types: National Research Programmes (NRP) on the one hand and National Centres
of Competence in Research (NCCR) on the other. Both conduct coordinated research with
clearly defined goals and a set duration. They are characterized primarily by their
collaboration with non-academic partners, knowledge and know-how transfer in education
and practice, and the implementation of research findings for future users. Finding solutions to
problems is the key objective of the NRPs, whereas the NCCRs are mainly aimed at
strengthening research structures.
Among the NCCRs currently under way, the following are especially relevant in sustainability
• NCCR Climate - Climate Variability, Predictability and Climate Risks
• NCCR North-South: Research Partnerships for Mitigation of Syndromes of Global
Among the NRPs currently under way, the following should be highlighted as especially
relevant in sustainability terms:
• NRP 48 - Landscapes and Habitats of the Alps
• NRP 54 - Sustainable Development of the Built Environment
In terms of permanent, institutionalized measures at national level, a second pillar linking
research and policy is the work of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences. The "Swiss
Academies of Arts and Sciences" association ( comprises the Swiss Academy of
Sciences (SCNAT;, the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences
(SAGW;, the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS;
and the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences (SATW; The academies'
core activities focus on the early identification of important social issues, scientific ethics and
dialogue between science and society. This basic mission is highly relevant to the field of
sustainable development in general. However, all the academies also run commissions,
platforms, forums and campaigns which focus very specifically on sustainability issues.
Examples of these include the following:
ICAS, the Interacademic Commission for Alpine Studies
KFPE, the Commission for Research Partnerships with Developing Countries
SAGUF, the Swiss Academic Society for Environmental Research and Ecology
the Swiss Biodiversity Forum (SCNAT)
ProClim - Forum for Climate and Global Change (SCNAT)
OcCC, the Advisory Body on Climate Change (SCNAT)
the Commission for Sustainable Development (SAGW)
the Energy Commission (SATW)
the Committee on Ethics and Technology (SATW)
The third point that should be mentioned is research by Swiss government departments
( The findings of this research are
required by government administrators or policymakers for the performance of their functions
(policy preparation and implementation). This highly application-oriented research plays an
important role in that it links academic research and policy, and research and higher education
institutions are often brought in to do the work. For some years now, government-led research
has been highly organized and coordinated with research promotion programmes aimed at
higher education institutions. The government's research strategies are an important tool in
this regard. Of the 11 current topical research strategies, the following have an explicit
sustainability focus:
Sustainable Spatial Development and Mobility
Sustainable Transport
The fourth pillar consists of extra-parliamentary government (Federal Council) advisory
bodies, which also play an important role in linking research and policy where sustainable
development is concerned. These include, in particular:
BKUF/CCRE, the Consultative Commission on Environmental Research
CORE, the Federal Energy Research Commission
The fifth element revolves around structures or activities at the level of individual
academic institutions which have developed independently of outside influences and are not
subject to any obligation or particular primary objective. For example:
The "novatlantis - sustainability in the ETH domain" programme (,
which aims to expedite the implementation of the newest findings and results of the Swiss
Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in the field of energy/sustainability.
The Interdisciplinary Centre for General Ecology (IKAÖ) at the University of Bern
( which, as well as promoting interdisciplinary research with a view
to achieving knowledge transfer also aims to foster cooperation with non-university
partners such as administrative and policymaking bodies.
In this connection it should be noted that Switzerland’s universities of applied sciences have
had an explicit legal remit in respect of sustainable development since the revision of the
Federal Universities of Applied Sciences Act (Fachhochschulgesetz) in 2005. It can be
assumed that, in time; this will also result in activities relevant to the issue at hand, especially
given the strong practical orientation of these universities. At the time of writing, there is no
similar legal remit in place for the country's more traditional universities.
2. Implementing arrangements, or pilot initiatives in order to foster interdisciplinarity
in research for sustainable development, or to integrate research on different aspects
of sustainable development
The activities mentioned in section (1) in the fields of targeted research (NRPs, NCCRs) and
government department-led research have a strong interdisciplinary focus.
Moreover, the framework for the promotion of discretionary research by the Swiss
National Science Foundation (SNSF) also includes provisions concerning interdisciplinarity.
Today, interdisciplinarity is recognized in the academic community as essential in addressing
new topics or fields of research. Accordingly, the SNSF has introduced a specific review
procedure for discretionary research projects described by applicants as interdisciplinary, even
though this does not include any particular focus on sustainability.
The advancement of inter- and transdisciplinarity is a cause that has been taken up with
particular dedication by the Academies of Arts and Sciences as well. The Network for
Transdisciplinarity, ( supports
transdisciplinary research in socially relevant areas such as health, the commercialization of
innovations, North-South cooperation, environmental change and sociocultural dynamics. tdnet is run by SCNAT in collaboration with the other Academies. It studies the genesis of
problems (system knowledge) and investigates the targets and standards associated with the
problems (target knowledge), as well as suitable options for resolving or improving problem
situations (transformation knowledge).
3. Overview reports on research for sustainable development
At the time of writing, no synthesis summary reports are available.
4. Issues to be discussed at the June meeting
Based on the findings regarding sustainability research in Switzerland:
• that there are a number of activities and policy transfer in place;
• that these are, however, predominantly focused on individual sub-issues;
• that, on the whole, there is little strategic management of this research; and
• that there is a heavy bias towards technical and scientific topics; the following aspects
might be discussed at the meeting:
a) What processes and structures are needed to create a strategic framework for sustainability
research that will ensure that an overview of key priority issues is maintained?
b) How can social sciences and humanities be more fully integrated into sustainability
c) What processes and structures are needed to foster productive cooperation between intraand inter-/transdisciplinary sustainability researches?
The Netherlands
EU Sustainable development research
Improving connectivity – both geographically and thematically
1. Connecting research to policy
• Policy development requires a good understanding of existing problems. Scientific
research can be fundamental in identifying the facts and providing the insights to
analyse complex issues.
• The recent ambitious policy objectives of the EU and MS -in particular on climate and
energy- call for underpinning scientific research, in both disciplinary and
multidisciplinary approaches. European collaboration (in the frameworks of FP and
ESF) is mostly mono-disciplinary, although recently more emphasis is paid to
interdisciplinary research.
• Current challenges are to expand the collaboration in multidisciplinary frameworks
addressing both natural systems, technology and societal aspects (governance,
instruments, perceptions; conflicts and coalitions).
• To the purpose of policy development and execution, multidisciplinary scientific
research of causes, effects, natural systems and solutions is indispensable. At all
levels, international cooperation with the best groups in different regions worldwide is
essential to cover this vast area.
2. Fostering interdisciplinarity
• Most environmental problems consist of human actors (including technology) as
sources of environmental degradation, a natural science component in the affected
environmental systems, and again social science components of the environmental
impacts (consequences for safety, economic development, poverty, public health and
welfare) and aspects of governance and institutions to combat the environmental
impacts by mitigation or adaptation.
• In many countries, research programmes on environmental issues are increasingly
shifting towards multidisciplinary approaches, in order to address both natural and
social science aspects of environmental problems.
• Non-linearities between different environmental phenomena such as climate change,
water, biodiversity, land use, hazards and disasters, socio-economic impacts and feedbacks should be addressed in concerted actions.
3. Building comparative perspectives
• Concerted actions should be implemented in order to improve scale and scope and to
move forward a common agenda in the field of environmental research, taking into
account the different disciplinary boundaries.
• Different bodies (IGFA, others) have specific approaches, mandates and agenda’s. It
would be useful to take into account the existing mechanisms for interdisciplinary
research in these areas, and the different ambitions toward an integrative approach.
4. Current situation
• At the level of project support, the FP plays a major role in supporting international
collaboration between excellent research groups (incl. the private sector).
One of the EC instruments to coordinate national research programmes, priorities and
project is through the ERA-net mechanism, where funding agencies (Ministries,
research councils) can get support from the EC for coordination of their national
programmes; as well as the development of large transnational research programmes.
ERA-Net has become a successful instrument. In the domain of global change
research many ERA-Nets have been established. However, these ERA-Nets do not
address the connections between the components of the energy-climate-society
system. Large research areas are even not addressed at all, e.g. the climate system
(phys. & biogeochem.) at different scales. E.g. the WCRP coordinates the research of
over 10,000 scientists world wide, but coordination between funding mechanisms is
still lacking. Neither do the current ERA-Nets support integrated approaches like in
ESSP projects (Food, Water, Carbon, Human Health).
Figure: The positioning of existing ERA-NETs in the domain of Earth System Science
Climate system,
atmosphere, ocean,
ice, geology
Regional seas,
coastal zones,
river systems,
exploitation of
land use
Natural resources,
land cover,
5. Observations
Important steps have been taken to develop a stronger mechanism for cooperation
between funding agencies and bodies, in order to develop larger-scale, transnational
programmes (versus the traditional project funding in the former EU framework
An interdisciplinary, integrated approach is necessary to identify, tackle and deal with
the environmental issues, which have many different actors and angles.
The policy agenda urges to reinforce the collaboration between MS national funding
agencies on cross-cutting issues.
An additional mechanism should be flexible in configurations of partners.
6. Proposal
Complementary to the current ERA-Nets, specific actions could be developed over de
the full period of FP7 which foster the European funding agencies involved in the area
of global change research to collaborate on funding cross-cutting issues on sustainable
The expert meeting on 7-8 June could be aimed at identification of relevant MS
national programmes and forthcoming initiatives which could contribute to
collaboration in FP.
• An initial schedule could be drafted of (pilot) initiatives which:
-are likely to contribute to the sustainable development agenda of the EU and MS
-can be developed in the next 2-3 years
-may lead to an ERANET Plus proposal.
It is suggested that a pilot might be developed on the Water-programme of ESSP
The existing platform of European research councils united in IGFA (International
Group of Funding Agencies) could be used as a stepping stone to share information;
information on MS funding schemes for research into environmental issues will be
used as a basis for a mutual endeavour and for the vital links with policy making
bodies (e.g. ministries).
United Kingdom
Sustainable Development Research: The UK context
Procedures to connect research to policy in the field of sustainable development
Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN): The SDRN was established, with
funding from the DETR (now Defra) in 2001 and has since developed a unique role as a
boundary-spanning organisation linking UK research and policymakers. The SDRN aims to
facilitate and strengthen the links between providers of research and policymakers across
government, in order to improve evidence-based policymaking to deliver the UK
government's objectives for sustainable development. Its specific objectives are to:
Facilitate the provision of research and evidence to policymakers
Engage government policymakers, scientists and members of the research community
Promote sustainable development in the research and academic communities
Work with funding bodies to encourage relevant research
Advise the Defra Sustainable Development Unit on SD research issues
The current phase of the SDRN (2007-10) is funded by both Defra (Department of
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the Department for Transport, and is coordinated by
the Policy Studies Institute in London. SDRN undertakes a wide variety of activities to
promote the use of sustainable development research within policy-making. In particular, the
Undertakes Research and Evidence Reviews
Organises a rolling series of seminars, workshops and lectures
Organises an Annual Sustainable Development Research Conference
Produces the SDR-Network mailing, a fortnightly e-newsletter for its members
The SDRN currently has approximately 2000 individual members, including academic
researchers, civil servants and policymakers, consultants and others from civil society and
business organisations. Membership of the network is free and open to all those with a
professional interest in UK SD Research and policy. For further information about the SDRN
see:, or contact the SDRN Coordinator Kate McGeevor:
[email protected]
Research Council activities
The UK Research Council’s also place a significant emphasis on research dissemination and
end-user engagement. It is therefore usual to find policymakers participating in Advisory
Groups for research projects, programmes and other initiatives, and for them to take part in
workshops and other research activities, as well as dissemination events.
One example of the increasing emphasis placed on research dissemination by the UK
Research Councils is the EPSRC’s (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s)
recently announced Knowledge Transfer (KT-SUE) initiative under its Sustainable Urban
Environments programme (see below for further details of the SUE programme). As a result
of which collaborative consortium between Herrott-Watt University and Cambridge
University was awarded £1,347,660 funding over a four year period (from January 2007) to
facilitate knowledge transfer between SUE researchers, policymakers and other end-users.
The Implementation Strategies for Sustainable Urban Environment Systems (ISSUES)
project will be led by Professor Paul Jowitt (HWU - Scotish Institute of TECHnology) and
Professor Peter Guthrie (CU - Centre for Sustainable Development). The ISSUES Project will
aim to ensure that policy makers, practitioners and other interested parties will be able to
access, learn about and make use of the knowledge that emerges from the 'Sustainable Urban
Environments' (SUE) research conducted by the EPSRC SUE consortia. When enacted, the
proposal will provide channels between researchers and end-users so that knowledge can flow
both ways, and so that future SUE research is informed by the every day reality that sets the
context for end-users. For further information about the ISSUES project email:
[email protected]
In another recent initiative seeking to better connect research and policy, the ESRC
(Economic and Social Science Research Council) and Defra have established a PhD
studentship and placement fellows scheme: whereby doctoral students and experienced
academics are funded by the ESRC to spend part of their time working directly with
policymakers in the government department.
Implementation arrangements, or pilot initiatives, in research policy and
research organisations to foster interdisciplinarity in research for sustainable
development, or to integrate research on different aspects of sustainable
Within the UK responsibility for funding and supporting sustainable development research
cuts across a large number of government departments, agencies and Research Councils. As a
result, the UK does have a dedicated national programme of SD research, and SD research
policy has tended to be fragmented and lacking in coordination.
However, recent years have seen significant progress in terms of the willingness of the UK
Research Council’s and government departments to support cross-cutting and
interdisciplinary research of relevance to particular aspects of sustainable development. In
particular, the UK Research Councils have made significant joint investments in the areas of
climate change, energy research and the rural economy.6
Individual Research Councils and government departments also fund a number of other
research programmes and centres dealing with specific aspects of the SD agenda.
Earlier investments in the EPSRC/BBSRC/DTI funded Sustainable Technologies Initiative
(STI) and ESRC funded Sustainable Technologies Programme (STP) have now come to an
The remainder of this section briefly describes a number of the key research programmes,
centres and other initiatives from an SD perspective in the UK.
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change ( The Tyndall Centre brings
together scientists, economists, engineers and social scientists to develop sustainable
responses to climate change through trans-disciplinary research and dialogue with the
research community, business leaders, policy advisors, the media and the public.
The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC)) ( mission “is to be the UK's
pre-eminent centre of research, and source of authoritative information and leadership, on
sustainable energy systems”, addressing “whole-systems aspects of energy supply and
use”. The Centre is a central part of the £28 million cross-Research Councils programme
( and is funded by three
research councils: the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Economic and Social Research
Council (ESRC).
Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme ( (2004 – 2009) funds
interdisciplinary research to investigate the social, economic, environmental and
technological challenges faced by rural areas. The Programme has a strong emphasis on
sustainability, encouraging social and economic vitality of rural areas and promoting the
protection and conservation of the rural environment. The Programme is collaboration
between the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Biotechnology and
Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Natural Environment Research
Council (NERC). It has a budget of £24 million, with additional funding provided by the
Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department and the Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
All of these initiatives have specifically sought to promote interdisciplinary research –using
whole systems, problem oriented approaches to bringing together natural science, engineering
and social science knowledge, and building interdisciplinary research teams.
On a smaller scale the ESRC/NERC Interdisciplinary Research Studentship and ESRC/NERC
Transdisciplinary Seminar Series schemes have both provided important opportunities for
training and capacity building.
A wide variety of models have been used for the organisation, funding and development of
these collaborative initiatives, perhaps reflecting the differing organisational norms and
cultures within the lead bodies responsible for them. However, it is apparent that different
stakeholders within the research funding, research and policy communities often have very
different perceptions of what the strengths and weaknesses of these different approaches have
Individual Research Councils have also built a stronger element of multi- and interdisciplinarity into their own programmes, for example providing for the participation of social
scientists within the EPSRC’s Sustainable Urban Environment (SUE).
EPSRC Sustainable Urban Environment (SUE) Programme funds multidisciplinary
consortia, involving academic researchers from a range of disciplines (including natural
scientists, engineers and social scientists) working closely with research-users, such as local
authorities, town planners, city councils, charities and small and large companies. The
specific objectives of the SUE consortia are to:
Strengthen the capability of the UK research base in sustainability issues within the urban
environment in both breadth and depth.
Provide an identifiable source of multidisciplinary academic excellence able to respond to
the needs of the end users of research in industry, commerce, the service and public
sectors through a programme of collaborative research and technology transfer.
Develop and promote a strategic research agenda to address sustainability in the urban
environment for the 21st century and beyond.
In the first round of SUE (2003 to 2007) the EPSRC supported 12 consortia within four
clusters: i) Urban and Built Environment; ii) Waste, Water and Land Management; iii)
Transport; iv) Metrics, Knowledge Management and Decision Making. The SUE programme
has also supported related research projects, such as demonstrator studies of sustainable urban
redevelopment and a network to promote engagement and dialogue between the EPSRC
research community and lay citizens. A second round of some £12 million of SUE funding is
to be announced shortly, with a further five or six large interdisciplinary consortia expected to
The ESRC currently supports two major research centres, the BRASS and STEPS centres
focussing on different aspects of sustainable development.
Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) was
established in 1991, is an interdisciplinary centre combining expertise from the Business
School, the Law School and the School of City and Regional Planning at Cardiff University.
Its work seeks to improve understanding and promote issues of sustainability, accountability
and social responsibility through research into key business relationships. See:
The Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS)
Centre is a new interdisciplinary, global initiative aiming to link environmental sustainability
with better livelihoods and health, and to make science and technology work to reduce
poverty and increase social justice. The STEPS Centre is a collaboration between the Institute
of Development Studies (IDS) and SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research Unit) at
Sussex University, with a network of partners in Asia, Africa and Latin America. See:
As noted above, in addition to the Research Councils a number of UK government department
and agencies (Defra, DTI, CLG, DfT, EA, NE, Scottish Executive, etc) are also involved in
funding some elements of sustainable development research within their own research
However, Defra is the government department with lead responsibility for sustainable
development. Defra’s science and research activities focus on five key priority areas (with a
total spend if some £145M/yr): Climate Change and Energy; Natural Resource Protection;
Sustainable Consumption and Production; Sustainable Rural Communities; and Farming and
In 2005 Defra established a new research programme to support its emerging policy work on
Sustainable Consumption and Production. With an start-up budget in the region of £1M/year
the SCP Evidence Base Research Programme initially funded a series of short, focussed,
review studies. The programme’s current research is organised around six key themes: i)
Scale of the challenge; ii) Sustainable consumption; iii) Sustainable businesses and
organisations; iv) Impacts of food production and consumption; v) Products and product
References of publications /reports presenting an overview of “research for
sustainable development”
The following report was prepared by the SDRN for the UK Environmental Research Funders
Forum (ERFF) in 2006. It made a series of recommendations to the ERFF (and its constituent
funding bodies) regarding interdisciplinary, cross-cutting and strategic research needs and
priorities to support the implementation of the UK strategic framework and sustainable
development strategy.
Eames, M., (2006), Sustainable Development: Needs and Priorities for Crosscutting,
Interdisciplinary and Strategic Research. An SDRN report to the Environmental Research
Funders Forum (ERFF), Sustainable Development Research Network, PSI, London
Issues for discussion
The role of trans-disciplinary networks and novel boundary-spanning organisations
Improving the use of existing knowledge in policymaking through the use of reviews and
Developing placement and secondment schemes at the research policy interface
Priorities and mechanisms for futures EU SDR funding.