Pathways to Sustainability: 15 years of research

Published on 14 January 2021

The ESRC STEPS Centre, a research centre on sustainability co-hosted by IDS and the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex, will close at the end of 2021 after 15 years.

From its origins at Sussex, the STEPS Centre has developed a global consortium of partners, engaged in questions around pathways to sustainability. Complex challenges like climate change, food systems, disease, urbanisation and technology are varied, changing and unpredictable. Promising pathways to more sustainable futures are often hidden, contested and shaped by power.

By working with people who have been marginalised in different places around the world, STEPS has aimed to reveal diverse ideas, knowledges, innovations, ways of seeing the world, and ways of life. These can provide an important challenge to narrow thinking about ‘grand challenges’, global solutions and ‘top-down’ governance.

In the STEPS Centre’s final year, it is reflecting on the milestones and key events in its history, and the many discoveries, encounters and new initiatives that have emerged along the way. The year will also include a busy programme of events and publications on the theme of Methods and Methodologies, a key element of the Centre’s work.

Blog: The STEPS Centre’s final year – reflections on a 15-year journey

In a personal reflection, STEPS co-directors Ian Scoones and Andy Stirling trace the story of the STEPS Centre from its origins in 2006 to the present day.

Read the blog

Timeline: A brief history of the STEPS Centre

A timeline of key moments from the STEPS Centre’s story since 2006, showing how the Centre developed, made connections and linked research, policy and practice on pathways to sustainability.

Browse the timeline



Key contacts

Nathan Oxley

Impact Communications and Engagement Officer

+44 (0)1273 915826


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