Sustainable development remains an important global vision in a rapidly changing and globalising world. Realising this vision requires knowledge-based and value-conscious social, political, and economic decisions and actions at multiple levels. Research aiming to support sustainable development faces challenges that go beyond the traditional roles of discipline-oriented science. This means that knowledge must be co-produced at the interfaces between a broad range of disciplines, between science and society, between knowledge cultures in the global North, South, and East, and between global visions and local realities – while remaining rooted in solid disciplinary foundations.

Research for Sustainable Development is based on the experiences of a decade of inter- and transdisciplinary research in partnership in nine regions of the world. It presents 29 articles in which interdisciplinary teams reflect on the foundations of sustainability-oriented research, propose and illustrate concrete concepts, tools, and approaches to overcome the challenges of such research, and show how research practice related to specific issues of sustainable development has led to new thematic and methodological insights. The book seeks to stimulate the advancement of research towards more relevant, scientifically sound, and concrete contributions to realising the vision of sustainable development.

Research for Sustainable Development: Foundations, Experiences, and Perspectives

edited by Urs Wiesmann and Hans Hurni

Publisher: Geographica Bernensia, Bern, Switzerland, 2011

Wiesmann U, Hurni H, editors; with an international group of co-editors. 2011. Research for Sustainable Development: Foundations, Experiences, and Perspectives.Perspectives of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South, University of Bern, Vol. 6. Bern, Switzerland: Geographica Bernensia, 640 pp. [ISBN: 978-3-905835-31-1]


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Table of Contents and Foreword
Hurni & Wiesmann: Global change research for sustainable development
Wiesmann et al. : Combining the concepts of transdisciplinarity and partnership in research for sustainable development
Upreti: Research partnerships and capacity development in the south: A social learning perspective
Zingerli: Collaborative knowledge production for sustainable development: Experiences from the NCCR North-South
Goetschel: The transformation of policy ideas: A challenge for development research
Rist et al.: Endogenous knowledge: Implications for sustainable development
Lacroix et al.: Social and political participation in sustainable development with a focus on governance
Hufty: Governance: Exploring four approaches and their relevance to research
Bieri et al.: A tool for thought and transformation: Gender-considerate global change research in practice
Zinsstag et al.: Interdisciplinary approaches in research for sustainable development
Wiesmann et al.: A human actor model as a conceptual orientation in interdisciplinary research for sustainable development
Geiser et al.: Towards an analytical livelihoods perspective in critical development research
Obrist et al.: Multi-layered social resilience: A new approach in mitigation research
Ott & Bieri: From rhetoric to concept: Incremental steps for mainstreaming gender in the NCCR North-South
Geiser et al.: Access to livelihood assets: Inclusion, exclusion, and the reality of development interventions
Thieme: Sustaining a multi-local life: Possible theoretical foundations for livelihood and transnational migration studies
Gallati & Wiesmann: System dynamics in transdisciplinary research for sustainable development 
Ehrensperger et al.: Towards a differentiated assessment of geographic information sciences for sustainable development
Messerli et al.: Finding homogeneity in heterogeneity: A new approach to quantifying landscape mosaics, developed for the LAO PDR
Hufty: Investigating policy processes: The governance analytical framework (GAF)
Breu et al.: Sustainable land management and global development: Factors affecting land users’ efforts to adopt and sustain the productive use of natural resources
Goetschel & Péclard: The missing link: Environmental change, institutions, and violent conflicts
Haller & Galvin: Challenges for participatory conservation in times of global change: Lessons from a comparative analysis and new developments
Ludi et al.: Sustainable livelihoods for coffee producers in East Africa: Is producing speciality coffee a way out of poverty?
Kappel & Agrawal: Economic growth and poverty reduction in India: A (neo-)kaldorian analysis
Bonfoh et al.: Pastoralism at the crossroads: New avenues for sustainable livelihoods in semi-arid regions
Rabinovich: Innovation in ‘urbanism’ thinking: Spectrum and limits
Schnabel et al.: Operationalising human security in an urban setting: The experience of Caracas
Zinsstag et al.: Towards equity effectiveness in health interventions