Steps towards Helsinki Sustainability Science Centre

Why? Helsinki Sustainability Science Centre (a working title) will be launched in 2017. The aim of the centre is to contribute to transformations of the societies towards sustainability by means of inter- and transdisciplinary research and education. The centre calls researchers from all disciplines – from natural sciences to social sciences, economics, law and humanities- to join discussion and collaboration. Three research dimensions and three domains have been identified for the scientific work and we invite you to contribute to their further design.

What and when? 
 In the fall 2016 four workshops will be organized (see more detailed descriptions below). Short presentations will pave way for the discussion and group work.  You will also have a chance to introduce your research and approach with speed talk session (no prior preparation is needed).

To whom? The workshops are open to all scholars (PhD students, researchers, professors etc) at the UHEL, but also to scholars interested in sustainability transformations in Syke, Luke, Aalto and THL.

 (See the first, second and third sessions below)

Fourth Session: Working with and for society – what are the implications for science?
Time: 29.11.2016 at 9 - 12
Venue: Minervatori, Siltavuorenpenger 5A            

Sustainability science seeks to produce new knowledge and practical solutions or pathways to real world problems by mobilizing and increasing society’s reflexive capacities through transdisciplinary approaches. Transdisciplinarity refers - although not always – to the involvement of non-academic partners in the co-design of research and co-production of knowledge.  Given this aim, the boundary between society and science should be acknowledged and handled with thought. In this workshop we share understanding and experiences of working with society and its implications for conducting sustainability research. The workshop will be organized in collaboration with Future Earth Finland. Future Earth is actively promoting design and production of research with stakeholders.

09.00 – 09.15.  Opening of the workshop, Dr. Katriina Soini
09.15  - 09.40   Co-production of sustainability research - practical experiences, Dr. Tanja Suni (Future Earth Finland)  and Dr. Kaisa Korhonen-Kurki
09.40 – 10.15   Working with society: opportunities and challenges, Prof. Janne I. Hukkinen followed by a commentary speech by Ass. Prof. Steven Wolf
10.15 – 10.30   Coffee break
10:30 – 11.30   Group work
11.30 – 12.00     Wrapping up and closing

Steven Wolf is Associate Professor at Cornell University, Department of Natural Resources, and visiting fellow at UHEL. He  teaches and conducts research on environmental governance with a specific focus on efforts to secure public goods from private landscapes. His training and approach engage sociology and economics. While most projects address socioecological dynamics in industrialized societies of Europe and USA, he has current projects in India and China.

Registration by November 24th via eform!


 First session: Sustainability transformations as a boundary concept

Time: 14.9.2016  at 13-16

Venue: Minervatori, Siltavuorenpenger 5A, room K213

The key focus of the centre is on sustainability transformations: on change that is needed in social-ecological and cultural dynamics in order to achieve more sustainability. The first workshop is a co-learning and co-designing event: the aims and principles of sustainability science are introduced, different understandings and approaches of “sustainability transformations” are discussed and research topics identified.

Dr. Katriina Soini: Sustainability transformations as a metaphora  and an analytical concept

Short interventions
Prof. Atte Korhola: Environmental change  
Associate Prof. Sirkku Juhola:  Transformations in urban context
Prof. Teuvo Teivainen: Global sustainability    


Second session:  Interdisciplinary research and sustainability: increased understanding or a chaos?   

Time: 12.10.2016 at 13-16

Venue: Siltavuorenpenger 3A, Athena-Sali 167

Interdisciplinary research is in the key position in sustainability science, as it has been argued that disciplinary or even multidisciplinarity research is not necessarily alone able to understand and solve complex problems. Interdisciplinarity entails integration of knowledge, methodologies, theories, concepts and techniques to better understand the changing world.  Yet, interdisciplinary is a multidimensional concept which underpins variety of approaches and practices. In this workshop we share knowledge and experiences of interdisciplinary approaches when aiming at increasing understanding of the complex human-nature dynamics. Moreover, the main discussion points of the first workshop will be shortly summarized. 


13:00  Introduction: aim of the workshop, summary of the previous workshop, Dr. Katriina Soini
13:15  Interdisciplinarity: varieties and conundrums, Prof. Uskali Mäki
14:00  Short interventions:
What can data science offer for interdisciplinary research? Prof. Sasu Tarkoma
Experiences from interdisciplinary research projects, University lecturer, Dr. Arho Toikka
14:30   Coffee break
14:45   Group work

15:45   Closing


Third session: Exploring the process, conditions and limits for transformation: change as diverse and value laden goal
Time: 2.11.2016 at 13-16
Venue: Minervatori, Siltavuorenpenger 5A, room K226
In order to find innovative towards sustainability we need to better understand how to facilitate change at individual, community and society level. This requires a proper understanding of conditions (such as values, behavior) for and means (policy, governance, regulation, learning, education, communication) of transformations. A further challenge is that despite of the shared aim to increase human well-being and ecological integrity, there are diverse views about the urgency and means to achieve this goal. In the workshop short talks of difference aspects of change will pave way for group working based on those themes.


13:00  -  13:10  Aims of the third workshop , Dr. Katriina Soini

Short introduction talks on different dimensions of environmental, social and cultural change 

13:10 - 13:25   Globalization and the environment: A new paradigm for environmental and nature conservation? Prof. Pekka Kauppi    
13:25  - 13:40 Change for sustainability: the role of business, Dr. Leena Lankoski

13:40 - 13: 55 Shifting arenas of environmental governance and justice, Prof. Anja Nygren

13:55 – 14:10 Moral agents and sustainability transformations, PhD Student Suvielise Nurmi

14: 10 – 14:25 Media, Morality, Sustainability, Dr. Tuomas Ylä-Anttila

Coffee break

14: 40 – 15:50                          Group work (theme based)

15:50 – 16:00                            Closing