2023 Theme - Pathways of Hope – Knowledge, Actions, Solutions

The theme for Sustainability Science Days 2023 is Pathways of Hope, but what does that mean functionally? Below we unpack what we envision knowledge, actions, and solutions to mean in the context of this conference.

Understanding systems with the help of  scientific knowledge 

Under this theme we call for scientists from a multitude of fields to inter- and multidisciplinary sessions to identify important systems and their critical parts. The questions being asked under this theme include, for example: Where are the greatest leverages towards sustainability transformations? What pathways do we have to better futures? What risks and opportunities lie ahead in terms of climate, biodiversity, socio-ecological systems, economies, and energy? What new imaginaries are emerging for alternative futures? What perspectives are needed in order to develop strong sustainability frameworks? What are the topical findings in terms of the viability of the planet that need our attention? What emerging transformative aspects, theories or frameworks are there in sustainability science? 

Understanding how actions can generate actionable knowledge  

Under this theme, we invite researchers from all fields whose research deals with linking scientific knowledge to action and policymaking. Questions related to this theme include, for example: How can different knowledge generation paradigms (natural sciences, engineering and design, social sciences and humanities, creative and artistic research) contribute into the creation of actionable knowledge to enable sustainability transformations? What types of actions are needed to address systemic sustainability challenges? Which societal actors should be involved in these actions and how? How can the time lag be reduced between scientific knowledge generation and real-life action? What new evaluation approaches are needed for scientific rigor and scientific performance to close the science-policy gap? How can we bridge institutional, organizational, and cultural gaps between knowledge generation and action taking?


Under this theme, we invite researchers and innovators who work with any aspects of technical, business or social solutions and innovations for sustainability. Transdisciplinary cooperation with societal changemakers is now more important than ever, because no actor can solve the sustainability crisis alone. Questions to answer under this theme are, for example: What are the innovation and solutions areas critical to enable the transition to sustainable societies? How to replace fossil-based energy production, and manage natural resources in electrification and renewable energy production? How to increase efficiency in energy and material usage, and how to remove carbon from the atmosphere? What kinds of innovations are needed to save and regenerate biodiversity? What kind of business models will drive the sustainability transition, and what kind of regulation and innovation policy will enable it? How can society enable the systemic transformation to create a sustainable future?  


We need science-based knowledge, actions, and solutions to create hope and a better future for all. We cannot only act with our disciplinary silos – systemic change requires joining forces with all actors in society to define the problems and the solutions.