ISSC launches three Transformative Knowledge Networks

Transformations research as a priority. Photo: Vicki DeLoach via Flickr
The International Social Science Council (ISSC) announced the funding of three Transformative Knowledge Networks today. The Networks are part of the Transformations to Sustainability Programme and will be a major contribution to Future Earth.

Following an open call for proposals last year, three networks have now been selected for funding by ISSC. Their aim is to conduct comparative solutions-oriented research projects for social transformation considering the enormous challenges posed by environmental change. The networks work with multiple locations and disciplines: Each of them involves local research partners in at least three countries, including low- and lower-middle income countries, with a view to building capacity for international research cooperation. Social scientists will lead the networks which also aim to mobilize researchers from other scientific domains as well as relevant stakeholders such as civil society organisations, NGOs, the media and policy makers.

Each of the Transformative Knowledge Networks will receive €850,000 over three years, as part of the contribution of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) for the Transformations to Sustainability Programme.

The Transformations to Sustainability Programme was launched by ISSC in April 2014 to mobilize social science knowledge for a more sustainable and just future for people worldwide. The programme is a major contribution to the work of Future Earth. The three networks will form a strong contribution to the soon-to-be-launched Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on Transformations.

Future Earth Executive Director Paul Shrivastava says : “Transformations research is a high priority for Future Earth. These three networks will be important to Future Earth’s research, particularly as we build our Knowledge-Action Networks.”

The three networks are

  • The “Transgressive Learning” (T-Learning) project, led by Rhodes University, South Africa. T-learning will study what kind of learning can catalyse social change and how it can be scaled-up. The project will focus on communities vulnerable to negative impacts of human activity on energy, food and water security as well as climate.
  • The “Transformative pathways to sustainability” (Pathways) project, led jointly by researchers from Argentina, and the UK. The Pathways project will explore how to achieve social, technological and institutional change in ways that balance global demands, local realities, needs for greater social justice and respect for planetary boundaries. Three thematic areas are covered: sustainable urban water and waste; low carbon energy transitions for the poor; and sustainable agricultural and food systems for healthy livelihoods.
  • The “Academic-Activist Co-Produced Knowledge for Environmental Justice” project (ACKnowl-EJ), led jointly by researchers from Spain and India. This group will study the transformative potential of community responses to extractive activities that cause social and environmental impacts and injustices. The network will learn from citizen movements, participatory approaches and new institutional practices, to empower civil society and to show how alternative visions and possibilities may be born from resistance.