The STEPS Centre has developed a unique ‘pathways
approach’ to research and policy engagement, which
recognises the co-evolving trajectories of change in
society, technology and the environment.
The pathways approach is used to appreciate how
politics and power shape the social framing of
knowledge and decision-making for sustainability.
Drawing on innovation and development theory, science
and technology studies, political economy, ecological
economics, decision analysis and political ecology,
the Summer School will explore and apply the range
of associated crossdisciplinary concepts, analytical
frameworks, empirical methods and policy strategies.
This year’s summer school will be the ninth and last in the series, which has run since 2012 with the generous support of the ESRC, International Science Council (ISC) and others.
To equip students with theory and practical approaches to
sustainability, through creative, interactive and participatory learning.
Who should attend
Applications are invited from highly motivated doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, working in fields around development studies, science and technology studies, innovation and policy studies, and with an interest in ideas and practice of transformations, uncertainty, political ecology, natural resources, and methodologies for sustainability.
How you’ll learn
Walkshops: Set within the South Downs National Park,
the Sussex University campus is surrounded by fields and
woodlands. The Summer School includes two day-long
immersive ‘walkshops’ in this landscape, focusing on
particular themes, guided by a set of questions and materials
and facilitated by STEPS Centre staff. The informal setting
and movement allow a different kind of conversation to take
Interactive methods: Alongside lectures, the Summer
School includes World Cafés, small group work and interactive
sessions to encourage participants to share their experiences
and explore questions more deeply.
Participant-led conference: Participants design a
‘conference’ to be held at the end of the Summer School, with
sessions developed in small groups during the course. From
participatory games to creative, imaginative debates, every
year is unique.
Social events: The Summer School includes optional social
events and a chance to explore Brighton during its most
exciting month – when the Brighton Festival and the Festival
Fringe bring a wide range of events to town, from high culture
to free music shows.
STEPS Annual Lecture: Every year the course features a
lecture by a leading scholar to provoke debate, in front of a
public audience. Past speakers include Mariana Mazzucato,
Achim Steiner and Kate Raworth.
Applications must be doctoral or postdoctoral researchers, working in fields around development studies, science and technology studies, innovation and policy studies, and with an interest in ideas and practice of transformations, uncertainty, political ecology, natural resources, and methodologies for sustainability.
There is a premium on interdisciplinary approaches and on interests and orientations that converge with the work of the STEPS Centre. Numbers are limited, so recruitment will be by refereed selection.
All participants are expected to agree with the statement on harassment and discrimination.
The fee for the STEPS Summer School is £1,000 GBP.
Once you have received confirmation that your application has been approved, the fee must be paid in full on receipt of invoice.
Each year the STEPS Centre awards a small number of scholarships to
candidates whose country of birth is not an OECD member
country (see bit.ly/OECDlist for details).
Scholarships may cover part or all of the following:
• STEPS Summer School fee
• Return flights or rail travel to the STEPS Summer School
• A contribution towards visa costs
• Subsistence allowance (a limited amount to cover food
and local travel)
If you wish to apply for a scholarship, please ensure that you
complete the relevant section on the application form.
How to apply
Please use our online form to apply*: steps-centre.org/summerschool
You will need to enter personal information, including:
1. A brief personal statement explaining why you are
applying to the STEPS Summer School (maximum 500
words) and details of your qualifications, professional
experience and any publications, including a CV.
2. A reference, as an attached document (2 x A4 sides), from
your academic supervisor/tutor or your current employer.
The application process is selective, and places are limited.
The deadline for sending applications is 23.59 GMT on Sunday
26 January 2020. Please note that applications received after
that deadline will not be considered. We hope to be able to
let you know if your application has been successful by 28
*If you are unable to access the form, please contact Becky Ayre:
Past participants said:
“It’s the best experience you can even go through as a PhD scholar or a researcher; the place to go if you want to challenge yourself and your research, and your discipline.”
“It is an interactive summer school to help unpack your positionality, your research and challenge your taken-for-granted beliefs as a researcher.”
“The walkshops meant getting to know the countryside and living these experiences outside the classroom.”
“I really appreciated the availability and engagement of STEPS members. A huge thank you!”
“Well-designed and thought-through. Good fun and innovative!”
“A great experience to open up your ways of thinking, grow as a researcher and have fantastic conversations about research, life and everything in between”
“A life-transforming experience for early career researchers!”