Our interdisciplinary research explores how pathways to sustainability, green transformations and equitable access to resources such as land, water and food can be achieved and help us meet the environmental as well as human development-related goals of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Our work builds on a long tradition of critical social science engagement with environmental issues and resource politics in collaboration with partners globally. It explores how pathways to sustainability are shaped by political-economic and social processes, and understands how they are driven by technology, markets, states and citizens.  Our research sheds new light on how we can achieve green transformations that move us from fossil fuel to renewable energy, from throw-away to circular economies. It addresses the politics of sustainability, and understands how transformations occur at local levels as well as global, in both rural and urban settings, and be led by citizens as well as national governments. In doing so, it shines a light on how sustainable resource use, consumption and production is shaped by issues such as gender, livelihoods and politics.

Programmes and centres



CDC Longitudinal Development Impact Study

The CDC Group plc is a Development Finance Institution (DFI) wholly owned by the UK government. Its mission is to support the growth of businesses and infrastructure development throughout Africa and South Asia in order to create jobs and make a difference to people’s lives in some of the...

Recent work

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Journal Article

The Millennium Villages: Lessons on Evaluating Integrated Rural Development

Published by IDS

Integrated development projects seem to have largely fallen out of favour since their heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. Integrated projects are by their nature often complex and messy – and this has thrown up challenges for researchers and evaluators attempting to assess the benefits of...

30 September 2018


The cult of the African youth entrepreneur

What image does the phrase ‘Africa’s youth employment challenge’ bring to mind? Is it, for example, an image of social unrest and violence; or of young migrants risking everything to get to Europe? Or an image of family and personal sacrifice to gain coveted educational qualifications? Or...

27 September 2018


Authoritarian populism is on the rise, claiming support from rural areas.

A new resource hosted by OpenDemocracy explores how authoritarian populism has taken hold, and how rural people are responding to it. A series of videos and articles features perspectives from scholars and activists from around the world. Authoritarian populism. Illustration: Boy...

18 September 2018


Floods in Kerala – a wake-up call

In light of the devastating floods of August 2018, the state needs to introspect on its approach to development. Photo: A mosque washed away in the Kerala floods, August 2018. Credit: Akbarali / Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA 3.0)  The worst floods in living memory Disaster struck the...

29 August 2018

Journal Article

Uncertainty in Climate Science: Extreme Weather Events in India

In May 2018, multiple extreme weather events claimed scores of lives, damaged property and brought public life to a standstill in parts of India. In the aftermath of these events, a blame game ensued with some assigning responsibility to scientific and state agencies, and others calling for more...

4 August 2018