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Sustainability Science Forum 2022 - Shaping Research for our Future

3.11.2022 | Eventforum Bern


09:00 - 17:00


Eventforum Bern
Fabrikstrasse 12
3012 Bern

The Sustainability Science Forum was established to serve the interests and needs of the growing sustainability science community in Switzerland. It is intended to be fresh and exciting - a place where new ideas are presented and debated, research concepts developed and partnerships forged.

Sustainability Science Forum
Image: Hansjakob Fehr, 1kilo

The Sustainability Science Forum 2022 addresses the future of research for sustainable development. How can science evolve to most effectively support societal change towards sustainability? What are new perspectives, roles and tasks for sustainability science, and how can academia and funding agencies respond to respective needs?

We will address different aspects of these questions: What is important for the development of the field from a global perspective? What do we know about the core issue: the nature of societal transformation processes; and how do different fields conceptualise it? What are promising research formats for developing possible pathways of change? What matters most for research funding and how can research institutions support efforts to build a resilient, nature-positive society?

The Sustainability Science Forum 2022 will explore these and many other questions, inspired by a keynote lecture presented by Prof. Dr. Albert van Jaarsveld, Director General, IIASA.

Please register until 25 October.


9:00 Doors open

9:30 Welcome note

Bernard Lehmann, President, Platform Science and Policy, SCNAT
Gabriela Wülser, Head, Sustainability Research Initiative, SCNAT

9:40 New perspectives for sustainability science

Albert van Jaarsveld, Director, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

10:20 Coffee Break

10:45 Societal transformation: current understandings from a social sciences perspective
Panel discussion

  • Marlyne Sahakian, University of Geneva
  • Eva-Maria Spreitzer, University of Lausanne
  • Philip Balsiger, University of Neuchâtel

Moderation: Clemens Mader, Technology and Society Lab, Empa & Knowledge Transfer Unit, OST

How do different fields understand, frame and conceptualise societal transformation? How do transformations happen and how can they be triggered, supported, or even steered? What is known about respective dynamics on individual and collective levels, and what can be roles of private sector innovations, social innovation, grassroot movements, media or political debates and decisions? What is the importance of underlying values and belief systems that may dominate in different societal “bubbles” and how can they be discussed across those “bubbles” in support of sustainability transformations?

11:45 Cross-cutting initiatives in sustainability science

This session gives the floor to sustainability research competence centres and networks at Swiss research institutions. What kind of services can these structures offer to facilitate interdisciplinary and interdepartmental research collaboration and how can this be achieved?

12:30 Lunch

13:45 Parallel sessions

  1. Lighthouse programmes in sustainability science
    Peter Edwards, ETH Zurich & President, SCNAT Sustainability Research Initiative
    Gabriela Wuelser, SCNAT
  2. How can the sciences and arts touch people?
    Bianca Vienni-Baptista, ETH Zurich
    Karin Zindel, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
  3. Rethinking paradigms for societal transformation
    Christoph Küffer, President, td-net & Working group co-leader, SAGUF
    Markus Zürcher, Swiss Academy of the Humanities and Social Sciences (SAHS)
  4. Policy making for sustainability
    Basil Bornemann, University of Basel
    Eva Lieberherr, ETH Zurich
    Marius Christen, University of Basel and SusCon

15:00 Coffee break

15:15 Shaping research for our future: promising formats
Panel discussion

  • Sonja Schenkel, Storytex
  • Michael Stauffacher, USYS TdLab, ETH Zurich
  • Lucas Müller, Swiss Young Academy

Moderation: Bianca Vienni-Baptista, ETH Zurich

This panel discussion will address formats that help strengthen the impact and relevance of scientific contributions to sustainable development. Such approaches may imply a broader or transformative understanding of research. Some involve the active participation of research in solution or policy development processes at the interface between science and practice. We will look more closely at such promising formats, the kind of “transformation knowledge” they produce and how they can be scaled up. To what extent is it necessary to transgress the conventional space of science, and how can this be done?

16:15 Final plenary session

16:45 Apéro

The Sustainability Science Forum... a meeting place where new ideas can be presented and debated, research concepts developed and partnerships forged. The Forum is intended to be fresh and exciting – not just another conference! - and is designed to meet the interests and needs of a growing sustainability science community.

We support the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development IYBSSD2022



  • Interactions


Anja Bretzler
Steering Committee Sustainability Research
House of Academies
PO Box
3001 Bern

The conference fee is CHF 50.
Registration deadline: 25 October.
Languages: English, German, French