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About the conference

Knowledge for Sustainable Development - Lund University Research Conference

To accelerate the transformation of our society, we require actions that lead to sustainable and green economies, more jobs, and a healthy planet for all, where no one is left behind. The 2nd Lund University Conference on Knowledge for Sustainable Development will focus on charting the way forward. We will discuss research and methods for action and progress, and will highlight obstacles and challenges to be overcome.

The conference will also serve to prepare for the second call for Lund University Interdisciplinary Projects Focusing on Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development.

Read more about the call Interdisciplinary Projects Focusing on Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development -

Deadline for abstract submission is March 6, 2022. 


The overarching focus of the conference is Charting the Way Forward.

To accelerate the transformation of our society, we require actions that lead to sustainable and green economies, more jobs, and a healthy planet for all, where no one is left behind. Many stakeholders are active. For example, the Government of Sweden will host a UN, high-level meeting in June 2022 on the theme ‘Only One Earth’, to highlight possibilities for shifting to more sustainable and greener lifestyles. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) are releasing two new reports, on impacts, adaptation, vulnerability and mitigation on climate change, and the COP15 promotes action to bring about a transformation in society´s relationship with biodiversity and a fulfillment of the vision of living in harmony with nature. 

This overarching focus sets the scene and the mind-set for the day. In addition, submission of abstracts within the three broad, interdisciplinary themes below are welcome. Below you can read more about each theme. The texts only exemplify the research questions that can be approached within each theme, the list could of course be much longer.

How do we understand sustainable development, and can we assess progress towards the SDGs? Addressing these questions raises methodological challenges, for example in estimating probabilities, forecasting, mapping systemic interlinkages, modelling, and in the development of a research design for identifying relevant or emerging causal mechanisms that go beyond past experiences. In many contexts, questions such as “Sustainability – of what – where – for whom – for how long?” are not trivial. The sustainability challenges are complex and sometimes presuppose new methodological approaches based on collaboration across research disciplines and with societal stakeholders. Which indicators are suitable to use and which methods give the most reliable results? 

This theme invites researchers to showcase and discuss concrete examples on how sustainable development can be assessed and measured, e.g., evaluation of ecologically sustainable growth, analysis of circular materials, ways of measuring human development outcomes, inequality and poverty, or other useful indicators of sustainable development and of sustainability performance. 

Key words: Future-oriented methodologies, mixed methods research, sustainability performance indicators, measuring, analysis, , uncertainty, complexity, resilience, substitutability. 

We are in need of research that enables and triggers action and change. Sustainable transformation requires new solutions and new technologies. To ensure maximum benefit of research investments it is important to early on consider future impact and societal needs. To achieve this, interdisciplinary approaches and collaboration with stakeholders are vital. There is a need for new research approaches that actively and in mutually enriching way involve businesses, industries, non-governmental organisations, authorities, and citizens. 

This theme will provide examples of and critically reflect on solutions, actions, and changes that have been put forward, for example with regards to sustainable agriculture, digitalization, sustainable production and consumption, social resilience, eco-pedagogy, degrowth, energy storage and conversion, access to clean water, green fuels, sustainable building sector, materials for sustainable industry and technology, etc.  

A desired outcome of this theme will be an improved ability to evaluate and describe future impact and to formulate compelling impact stories, as it is increasingly common for funders to require that research results should be of societal relevance and have both short- and long-term impact.

Key words: Technologies enabling sustainable development, sustainable solutions, mitigation, collaboration, co-creation, industrial transformation, drivers of change, impact logic, impact synergies, effects, innovation.

The increasingly acute problems caused by climate change, resource depletion and other sustainability challenges are now better understood than ever, yet we often perceive a striking inertia when it comes to taking action. One reason is that it is often far from obvious which solution will lead to the desired result. A proposed solution might be poorly adapted to the context in which it is to be implemented or create new unforeseen problems. Some groups risk losing out on the green transition and new products might lead to hazardous waste that we are not yet aware of. Hence, a critical analysis of the SDGs (synergies, conflicts, and trade-offs) and the work to implement them is needed, as well as an in-depth understanding of desired and undesired outcomes of their implementation, including at the system level. Often, challenges are framed in a global perspective, but new policies are to be implemented on a local level, and hence need to be adapted to different conditions.  

Within this Theme, we will discuss research on barriers to climate action and sustainable transition. What barriers need to be overcome to shift individual motivations and cultural norms? What roles do politics, democracy, faith, and religion play? Which analysis methods work and can thus guide and enable action? 

Key words: Challenges, implementation problems, contextual understanding, distributional issues, judgment and decision making, system analysis, technology and sustainability trade-offs, policy.

Invited Speakers

Keynote speaker

Portrait Jim Skea. Photo.

Jim Skea

Jim is Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College London with research interests in energy, climate change and technological innovation. He is Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III. He was Research Director of the UK Energy Research Centre 2004-12 and Director of the Policy Studies Institute 1998-2004. He was a member of the UK Committee on Climate Change from 2008 until 2018, and currently chairs Scotland’s Just Transition Commission.
Photo of Julia Leventon

Julia Leventon

Julia is a Professor in Sustainability Science at the Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences, where she is the head of the Department of Human Dimensions. Her research interests are in systems transformation for sustainability. Her transdisciplinary work bridges topics of climate change and biodiversity loss. Recent projects have engaged with food, energy and textiles systems. She has recently started as a coordinating lead author to the IPBES Transformative Change assessment.
Coordinator Kristina Jönsson. Photo.

Kristina Jönsson

Kristina Jönsson is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science at Lund University with research interests in international cooperation in the broad field of development focusing on governance issues, policy processes and global-local linkages. Current research deal with transformative partnerships and implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. She is the coordinator of Lund University Agenda 2030 Graduate School.

Panel moderator

Photo of Per Mickwitz

Per Mickwitz

Per is Professor of Environmental Policy and Pro Vice-Chancellor for research, sustainability and campus development. His research has focused on environmental and sustainability policy, how politics can be evaluated and how innovations occur. Per will give the welcome speech and set the scene for the day, as well as leading the discussion in final panel.

Conference Moderator

Photo of Vasna Ramasar

Vasna Ramasar

Vasna is Associate Senior Lecturer in the Division of Human Ecology with her work framed within the broad field of critical political ecology and seeking to bring an interdisciplinary perspective to questions of development and sustainability. Recently her research is focused on the politics of scale within development and environmental governance in the areas of the energy crisis, health and the environment and water. Vasna will guide us through the day and lead the Q&A during the Keynotes.

The scientific contributions will be evaluated by a scientific committee, with members from the Lund University Research Board, the Sustainability Forum steering committee, and researchers at Lund University. 

  • Anna Meeuwisse, Professor, School of Social Work
  • Agnes Andersson Djurfeldt, Professor, Department of Human Geography
  • Ellen Hillbom, Professor, Department of Economic History
  • Heiner Linke, Professor, Department of Physics
  • Henrik Thorén, Researcher, Department of Philosophy
  • Johannes Persson, Professor, Department of Philosophy 
  • Lars J Nilsson, Professor, Department of Technology and Society
  • Susanne Arvidsson, Associate Professor, Department of Business and Administration

The conference is organised by the Research Board in collaboration with the Sustainability Forum at Lund University.

  • Anna Meeuwisse, Professor, School of Social Work
  • Heiner Linke, Professor, Department of Physics
  • Johannes Persson, Professor, Department of Philosophy 
  • Susanne Arvidsson, Associate Professor, Deparment of Business and Administration
  • Cerina Wittbom, Research Coordinator, Sustainability Forum

Register to the conference

Registration closed. 

Time for the event

2 May 2022 08:30 to 16:30


Scandic Star Hotel, Lund

Target group

The conference is aimed at researchers associated with Lund University, as well as other researchers, stakeholders, and students who wish to join the discussions and share their views and learn more about research conducted at Lund University.




cerina [dot] wittbom [at] cec [dot] lu [dot] se