Let's talk sustainability - a new discussion group for sustainability researchers

The new, HELSUS member-led Sustainability Discussion Group was established to help lift the voices of early career researchers

HELSUS student member, Rachel Mazac, launched a discussion group for sustainability-minded early career researchers in January 2020. The goal of the Sustainability Discussion Group is to lift new voices in sustainability science and create a space for critical discussion of the complex challenges researchers in the field often face alone.

Mazac believes the Sustainability Discussion Group (SDG), with its monthly meetings, could help researchers sharpen their debate skills, provide a safe and open space for social networking, and build confidence in their ability to contribute meaningfully to the wider discussion on sustainability. Mazac thinks the group could also provide an arena for young researchers to workshop their ideas and get comments on their work before submitting them to a larger audience.

The first meeting focused on sustainability at a conceptual level, and people from various academic backgrounds and career stages attended the discussion.

Mazac herself is a PhD student in the Sustainable Future Food Systems research group. Her work focuses on sustainable diet changes for future food systems. Having grown up in the agricultural-centric Midwest of the United States, she is familiar with the diverse challenges of sustainability transitions at the systemic level.


HELSUS welcomes initiatives such as the Sustainability Discussion Group, as they provide an opportunity to engage in the wider debate. HELSUS, after all is as much as its members make of it.

“I believe it is crucial for researchers to seek opportunities to engage in larger discussions for transdisciplinary sustainability science – this is important for both professional development and social support in this critical time when we are tacking the climate crisis on societal, professional, and personal levels” Mazac points out.

The next SDG will be organized at the HELSUS Hub Lounge on the 7th of April from 10:00-11:30 on the topic of  "Scarcity vs. abundance: Can we reach a sense of “enough-ness” or “sufficiency?". The event is open for interested university researchers.

See also the website for the Sustainability Discussion group