Editors: Olawale Olayide, Marlen Arnold

Dear reader,

We hereby like to bring you the latest information about recent activities and news about our Society and direct your attention to interesting developments and up-coming events.




1. Message from the President

2. Announcements 

3. Special Issue – Scenarios and Indicators  

4. Calls for papers, session proposals and abstracts

4a. Special issue: Sustainability Assessment and Indicators: Working Towards the Sustainable Development Agenda

     4b. Call for papers: 15th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF ASECU

4c. Call for contributions for book chapters in: Astrid Skjerven and Maureen Fordham (eds.) - Gender and Sustainability in a Cultural Perspective 

4d.The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Underpinning and Contributing to Sustainability Research

     4e. First Workshop on Digitally Enabled Sharing and Sustainability (DESS) 

 4f. The Fifth World Water Source Summit, Calls for Panelists and Participants

4g, Tenth Annual  IBADAN Sustainable Development Summit  (ISDS)




1. Message from the President  

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2019, and my first as President.  This is an exciting time, as we look forward to our 25th anniversary conference.  I am delighted to be visiting the historic city of Nanjing in China, and that we will be hosted by Nanjing University which has an extremely impressive track record for sustainability-related research.  Professor Zengwei Yuan and his team have provided an interesting cast of speakers.  I add my thanks to the organisers’ for the work of the track chairs reviewing abstracts.  My personal dilemma now is to choose which sustainability tour to join (cultural and historical, nature landscape, or industrial).  But this is not a bad problem to have. 

PhD students or other early career individuals can consider the PhD workshop on the 25th June, with a deadline of 15th April.  This is an excellent opportunity to gain a perspective on your research from experienced researchers who are not part of your supervisory team.  Possibly even more importantly you will meet other members of the ISDRS New Professionals group.

Please note that the process for obtaining a visa to visit China has recently changed (I suspect in line with the requirements for Chinese citizens to visit elsewhere).  If you are travelling from anywhere outside China, please check the requirements for visitors from your country.  Be sure to allow plenty of time for the process, and don’t forget to request a letter of invitation from the conference organisers if you need one.  

There is only a day or two left before the 15 March deadline for nominating papers for the 2018 Best Paper Award.  Nominations are still welcome.  The panel will announce the shortlisted papers by 1st April ready for the vote opening on the 2nd April. The winner will be announced in Nanjing.

I am already enjoying working with the new exec and board, as we continue to explore new collaborations for ISDRS and different ways to connect with our members. And I look forward to seeing many of you in June.

Best wishes,



2. Announcements 


a. ISDRS 2019 Registration is open, early bird price option has been extended to March 21, 2019

Click here for more information


b. New ISDRS post-holders

Following elections towards the end of last year, we can announce the following post-holders for ISDRS:

Vice President: Prof Peter Dobers, Södertörn University, Sweden

Executive secretary: Volker Mauerhofer, Meiji University, Japan

Treasurer: Sigurd Vildåsen, NTNU Trondheim

Communications officer: Olawale Olayide, University of Ibadan


In addition, Wale is co-editor of the newsletter with Marlen Arnold

Joachim Spangenberg: chairs the best paper award committee

David Cepeda and Juana Camacho-Otero New Professional Group

c. Early Career Conference Grants

Early Career Conference Grants support early career academics – without previous international experience – to participate in an international conference held in any country other than their country of employment.

30 grants are available in 2019. DEADLINE 31st MARCH

Click here for more information


d. Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research Vacancy announcement

Position: Director, Science

Location: Montevideo, Uruguay

Reports to: IAI Executive Director


The Deadline for submission is 30 March 2019

Click here for more information


e. ISDRS Job Vacancy, PhD and Masters opportunity page page

Please remember to visit the new ISDRS Job Opportunity and PdD and Masters opportunity pages.

If you are aware of any vacancies or opportunities within your networks, please send the information to to be published on our website.

f. New ISDRS partnership and PhD opportunities

Photo: Joachim Spangenberg with Pauline Deutz at the Evolving Circular Plastics Economy workshop in Hull

ISDRS is an official partner for the project ‘Evolving a Circular Plastics Economy’ at the University of Hull (funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).  As a representative of ISDRS, and in light of his experience of transdisciplinary research, Joachim Spangenberg visited Hull in January.   He led a workshop to promote communications between the 20 + disciplines represented within the Hull team – a necessary precaution before broadening our discussion to incorporate a similar number of non-academic stakeholders.  Joachim coordinated a lively and enjoyable discussion, with the bizarre limitation that everyone was being extremely open minded with respect to other disciplinary perspectives.  Long may the ‘Joachim effect’ continue. 

The project aims to identify the gaps and leaks in a plastics circular economy; explore and develop new pathways to an enhanced circularity in plastics use by facilitating the co-design and execution of specific innovations across a multidisciplinary range of academics, stakeholders and consumers.   Amongst the avenues of research are a chemistry work package developing improved biodegradable plastics from bio-wastes; chemical engineering projects relating to the recovery of high value substances from existing plastic residues, and a study of plastic value chain logistics.  Each of these projects are being steered in discussion with our industry partners.  Currently four PhD studentships are being advertised relating to this project (based in chemistry, computing, psychology and human geography) with a closing date of 1 April.

g. PhD studentships


The University of Hull, UK, is currently advertising four PhD studentships connected with the Evolving a Circular Plastics Economy project. The project is one of eight funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council with a view to developing solutions to the problems associated with plastics in the environment.  The post holders will be part of a large team of academics, researchers and will also be able to engage with the project partners who represent a wide variety of industry, governmental and non-governmental bodies.  The closing date for applications 1 April 2019.

PhD Project 1. New Biodegradable Polymers via Metal-catalysed Polymerization. (PhD Chemistry)

PhD Project 2. AI for Improving Information Workflows. (PhD Computer Science)

PhD Project 3. Universities as Laboratories for Change: Exploring Pathways to a Circular Economy of Plastics. (PhD Human Geography)

PhD Project 4 Improving User Accessibility for Waste Recycling Behaviour via a Symbol Matching System. (PhD Psychology)


3. Special Issue – Scenarios and Indicators 

The global ecosphere is a complex, evolving system, and the anthroposphere another, more rapidly evolving one. Globalization and telecoupling are enhancing their complexity, and even more that of coupled socio-ecological systems. Sustainable development as a global normative development concept, as defined by the UN Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals SDGs, adds another level of complexity. As a result, the demand for tools to identify transformative innovations, assess future risks and support precautionary decision making for sustainability is growing by the day in business and politics. Scenarios and indicators are such means for simplification, reducing the real-world complexity to a potentially high but limited number of factors, analysing and monitoring their interaction, and supporting policy formulation. However, they are no ‘objective’ representations of reality but inevitably reflect orientations and norms held by their authors (and are interpreted by readers based on their values and understanding).  

That is why good scenarios consist of a narrative which is able to incorporate these qualitative arguments, and which can be illustrated with model calculations falling short of doing so. As a consequence, the ‘hard data’ from modelling are not the definitive result of scenario work, but they have to be interpreted in the context of the scenario narrative, which may lead to significant corrections. Similar questions apply to indicators, a main tool to communicate scenario results, help monitoring selected real-world trends recognized as decisive, support communication about them and ultimately, decision making. However, which parameters are chosen for monitoring, and which yardsticks (indicators) are applied in doing so has often more to do with established measurement methods and data availability – in particular time series – and data consistency than with which problems are currently of highest importance, politically, ecologically, socially or economically. 

Reflecting these considerations, the authors of this book test established methods against new challenges, assess the weaknesses of prevailing innovation theories and the political-ideological embedment of archetypical scenarios, highlight deficits in taking the physical basics into account, and the need to understand global interaction and the stepwise process of energy transitions. However, they not only point to the weaknesses but also to possible ways to escape the dilemmas. In a similar vein, they discuss the conceptual challenges of indicator development in a time of “fake news” and “alternative truths”, point out technical as well as basic weaknesses in data collection, harmonisation and indicator generation, always with a view on how to solve the problems. As both the rigorous analysis of weaknesses and the positive attitude to solving the problems are rare in the scenario and indicators scholarly community, we sincerely hope that this volume will stimulate discussions and reflections, supporting colleagues in addressing those weaknesses and overcoming them. The importance of scenarios and indicators for effective sustainability policies makes this attempt so important. 

Spangenberg JH. (ed). 2019. Special Issue: Scenarios and Indicators for Sustainable Development–Towards A Critical Assessment of Achievements and Challenges. Sustainability 11(4). Open access here 

Also available as eBook, one file with all papers, here


4. Calls for papers, session proposals and abstracts


4a. Special issue: Sustainability Assessment and Indicators: Working Towards the Sustainable Development Agenda

We would like to draw your attention to this special issue inviting original research articles, case studies, reviews, critical perspectives, and viewpoint articles advancing concepts, frameworks, and applications in the fields of sustainability assessment and indicators through different perspectives (e.g. through sustainability boundary objects such as ecosystem services) towards sustainable development. Suggested topics include:

• Novel developments in sustainability assessment and indicators under different sustainability perspectives

• Critical analyses and the advancement of concepts, frameworks, and applications related to sustainability assessment and indicators;

• Dealing with uncertainties associated with sustainability assessment and estimates provided by indicators;

• Stakeholders’ role in sustainability assessment and in the development of sustainability indicators, including co-creation and co-production initiatives; Advances in easy-to-understand approaches to assess and communicate sustainability;

• Institutional and governance aspects of sustainability assessment and indicators;

• Societal impacts of sustainability assessment processes and indicators;

• Integration of “immaterial societal values”, such as ethics, cultural aspects, aesthetics, justice, compassion, mutual help, and solidarity in sustainability assessment and indicator approaches;

• The role of sustainability assessment and indicators in the efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.

Deadline for manuscript submissions is 30 June 2019. More information here

Guest Editors 
Tomás Ramos, Alexandra Polido, André Mascarenhas



     4b. Call for papers: 15th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF ASECU





organized by 

University of National and World Economy (UNWE)

Sofia, Bulgaria


in the frame of

“100th anniversary celebrations

of the University of National and World Economy”


September 26 – 27, 2019,  Sofia, BULGARIA

International Scientific Committee

Organizing Committee

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 to address key development challenges facing today’s global economy including climate change, economic inequality, innovations, sustainable consumption, peace, and prosperity. All these goals are very much interrelated and require high commitment and collective effort of all countries, developed and developing alike. However, when it comes to implementation of these universal goals various countries face different social, economic and political challenges depending on their different capabilities, resources and national circumstances.


The 15th ASECU International Scientific Conference aims to act as a platform for exchange of cutting-edge research among academics, policy makers, and practitioners from industry working in all major areas of sustainable economic development focused on countries from South and Eastern Europe.

The conference covers various tracks and topics that address broad issues relevant for economic development of South Eastern Europe thus facilitating informed policymaking in the region.

Conference Tracks





Conference Topics

-       Social exclusion, poverty and income inequality

-       Climate change, environment, circular economy and sustainable energy

-       Structural change, technological development, innovation and industrial policies

-       International trade, FDI and labour migration

-       New business models and corporate governance towards sustainable development

-       Governance, institutions and development

-       Access to and quality of education, human capital and skills formation

-       Regional sustainability and smart cities

-       Gender issues

Authors are invited to submit papers which feature conceptual and empirical findings based on original research, share policy experiences, innovative initiatives and good practices on the indicative topics. Papers that do not entirely fall into the conference tracks but are relevant to the sustainable economic development of South and Eastern Europe will be also accepted.

Submitted papers will be peer-reviewed and those which are approved should be presented at the conference.

Official language of the conference: English.

All the presented papers will be included in Conference Proceedings with an ISSN number.


Selected papers subject to double-blind review process will be published by:

-       South-Eastern Europe Journal of Economics, the official journal of ASECU –  ( )

-       Economic Alternatives – published by UNWE Publishing Complex ( )


Important Dates

Abstract submission deadline                                            April 30th 2019

Notification of acceptance                                                  May 31st 2019

Full paper submission deadline                                           July 31st 2019

Fee payment deadline                                                     August 20th 2019


Registration Fees

Participant                                                                                   100 EUR

Participant from ASECU member institution                                     80 EUR

Listener / Co-Author                                                                       50 EUR

Listener / Co-Author from ASECU member institution                       40 EUR

(Doctoral) Student                                                                          40 EUR


The registration fee covers: participation in the conference and materials; publication of paper in the conference proceedings; dinner on September 26th; coffee/tea and refreshments and buffet luncheons for both days.


Payments & Invoices

Beneficiary: University of National and World Economy


Account (IBAN): BG03 BNBG 9661 3100 1746 01

Payment details: "Name, Surname, ASECU 2019"

Inquiry for the invoice: or during the registration process.


Abstract and paper submission details:         


Contact information


Suggested accommodation facilities

Vitosha Park Hotel –

Suite Hotel Sofia –

Hotel Vega Sofia –


4c. Call for contributions for book chapters in: Astrid Skjerven and Maureen Fordham (eds.) - Gender and Sustainability in a Cultural Perspective 

To be published in the Routledge/ISDRS Series in Sustainable Development Research

Gender and sustainability have been prominent on the development agenda since the 1980s. Since then, the perspectives and methods of research have undergone a development from political critiques of the male domination of women and nature to the sophisticated intersectional and inclusive analyses of the present day. (1) However, there has been little systematic study of the interrelation between these two themes. (2) Little attention has been paid to the different roles that men and women play in everyday life and in decision-making and implementation processes. In particular, the role of women has been neglected, in spite of the fact that they play a major role in matters relating to the household, nutrition, child-raising, health and sanitation, both in the home and the neighbourhood. Women are seldom consulted on how to develop more efficient and cost-effective ways of improving living conditions and thereby contribute to sustainable development. Consequently, their competences and skills tend not to be taken into consideration by the predominantly male decision-makers. There is, however, a growing awareness of this situation. One of the most evident examples is to be found in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, where Goal 5, Gender equality, states that: “Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world”.(3)

The issue of gender and sustainability has two sides: the differential contributions of men and women to sustainability, and the differential impacts of sustainability on men and women.(4) This publication will focus on both decision-making and implementation, with a certain emphasis on their interaction. The exercise of power, suppression and empowerment constitute important general themes.

The mainstream way to discuss and implement sustainable development is in terms of ecological, social and economic ‘pillars’. Recently, the cultural dimension has come into consideration as the fourth, or even the main, ‘pillar’ on which the other three are dependent. (5) Many, if not all, of the planet’s environmental problems and certainly all of its social and economic problems are rooted in cultural activity and decisions, comprising people and human actions. Solutions are therefore culture-based, and the existing sustainable development models forged from economic or environmental concerns are unlikely to be successful without cultural considerations. The significance of aesthetic matters has also recently come to the forefront.(6) This publication will therefore focus on the cultural aspects of sustainability. In particular, we would welcome contributions that explore the interrelation and interdependence of the different genders in relation to different cultures. Further, a multiand transdisciplinary approach is necessary. This will encompass anthropology, social and human sciences, art, architecture and design, in addition to subject fields that are not traditionally associated with culture, such as economics, law, medicine, technology etc.

The aim of the book is:

• To improve competence in, and understanding of, the significance of gender for sustainable development;

• To present the current forefront of theories, methods, indicators and strategies used to assess and measure the relation between gender and sustainable development;

• To investigate and compare the different gender roles, including trans- and non-gender, and how they might be utilised or changed to fulfil the goals and targets of the UN SDGs;

• To make recommendations for basic and professional gender responsive education in the field; To facilitate dissemination and implementation of these competences.


Driving forces, transformation and empowerment processes

Resilience and well-being, risk reduction and improved physical and mental surroundings Theoretical reflections and presentations of results from empirical studies

Historical analyses

Methods for analysis and monitoring

Methods for implementation Methods of education

 Abstracts of a maximum of 500 words can be sent to: and

Deadline: 15 April 2019.

Astrid Skjerven Professor Department of Product Design OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University

Maureen Fordham Centre Director, Centre for Gender and Disaster, UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction University College of London

Routledge/ISDRS Series in Sustainable Development Research Series Editors: Walter Vermeulen, Associate Professor at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands and President of the ISDR Society; Pauline Deutz, Reader in the Department of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at the University of Hull, UK and Vice-President of the ISDR Society.

The Routledge/ISDRS Series in Sustainable Development Research is the publishing platform of the wide community of 2,500+ researchers engaged in multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary research on the need for and experiences with the transformation to a sustainable society. The International Sustainable Development Research Society aims to disseminate knowledge on sustainable development practices in all spheres of society, which enables the acceleration of sustainability initiatives: cities, communities, production, innovation, consumption, biodiversity and ecosystem services, agriculture, climate, renewable energy. This series welcomes submissions for high-level, cutting-edge research books that push thinking about sustainability in new directions by challenging current conceptualizations and developing new ones. The series offers theoretical, methodological, and empirical advances that can be used by professionals and as supplementary reading in courses in sustainability science, environment and sustainability, development studies, planning, and a wide range of academic disciplines. 

(1) Macgregor, Sherilyn: Routledge Handbook of Gender & Environment. London: Routledge, 2017.

(2) Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Chiara Kovarik, and Agnes R. Quisumbing: “Gender and Sustainability.” Annual Review of Environmental Resources 2014 vol. 39, 29-55.


(4) Op. cit.

(5) Culture in, for and as Sustainable Development. Conclusions from the COST Action IS1007 Investigating Cultural Sustainability. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä, 2015

(6) Skjerven, Astrid and Reitan, Janne Beate, eds. Design for a Sustainable Culture: Perspectives, Practices and Education. London: Routledge, 2017. Kagan, Sacha: Art and Sustainability: Connecting Patterns for a Culture of Complexity. 2nd ed. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2013.


4.d The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Underpinning and Contributing to Sustainability Research


4e. First Workshop on Digitally Enabled Sharing
and Sustainability (DESS)


Maria J. Pouri

Lorenz M. Hilty

Department of Informatics, University of Zurich


The ICT-enabled sharing economy is a prime example of the force of digital transformation. New forms of sharing can change patterns of consumption, social relationships, and economic structures.

Participating in the digital sharing economy is becoming increasingly interesting and more effective in the eyes of its users. The effects of this new trend may be positive or negative from a sustainable development perspective. For example, the digital sharing economy can promote efficient resource consumption (improved utilization) by enabling the shared use of available resources. Moreover, it can have positive social and economic effects as it connects people and enables them to become economic actors in their social bonds.

However, from an environmental perspective, affordable, easy-to-access, and convenient services in the sharing economy may cancel out the system’s savings and efficiencies by rebound effects and hence cause new environmental problems. From a social point of view, it is important to investigate whether the digital sharing economy contributes to providing a decent life for its participants – or to poor working conditions and other social issues.

Questions of sustainability-related contributions or issues of digital sharing are not thoroughly resolved or even identified yet. Sharpening and discussing such questions will assist us in understanding the long-term potentials of the digital sharing economy, whether positive or negative, to change people's lives and the global environment as well.

We invite short papers (max. 5 pages) and short position papers (1-2 pages) for presentation and motivating discussions that address one of the following (or related) questions:

• What makes digital sharing different from traditional sharing?

• What theoretical frameworks exist to analyze the emerging instances and types of the sharing economy?

• What are the potential implications of the digital sharing economy for sustainable development? How can we structure them?

• Under what conditions can the digital sharing economy contribute to sustainable patterns of consumption?

• What is value (co-)creation in digital sharing systems and how it can be translated or related to sustainability values?

The main goal of the workshop is to initiate a discussion among interested researchers, including PhD students.

Please submit your contributions to

Deadline: 3 May 2019


4f. The Fifth World Water Source Summit

Calls for Panelists and Participants

Initiated by China independent think tank Oriental Danology Institute and Okeanos Water Center, and endorsed by Qinghai Yushu Tibetan Prefecture, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and Shanghai Free Trade Zone Innovation Hub, the 5th World Water Source Summit is now calling for observers, conceptual landscape designers, design anthropologists, ecologists and urban green building designers, waste water treatment specialists to join our annual gathering in Shanghai on Oct. 3-4, 2019.

The thematic topics of this year are focused on Global City, Cultural Innovation and Sustainable Aqua-tecture, based on your proposals and abstracts which focused on applicable uses of addressing environmental stress and cultural integration, the committee will choose potential participants by creating a project-based Okeanos Water Research Camp:


• 10 top universities in China will send mentors to facilitate the participants’ design work, making them useable for China’s urban and rural settings (Selected trainees and presenters will spend 1 week in Shanghai before the conference for fieldtrip and cultural adaptation courses).

• The participants will be invited to design sustainable community centers in Shanghai and winter shelters for livestock in Qinghai in upper tributary of Three Great Rivers Region.

• All participants will be invited for conceptual open ceremony titled as Global City Innovation Design Festival: Cases from China, Italy and Denmark; also will be presented are design works from Okeanos Water Research Camp.

• Due to tight budget, the selected participants and specialists will be provided free accommodation and daily allowance during their stay in Shanghai, but plane tickets are not provided.


For more information: (Conference secretary)

Official report of 2016 meeting, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung





University of Ibadan

Centre for Sustainable Development

In collaboration with


Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Presents the

Tenth Annual Ibadan Sustainable Development Summit (ISDS) 2019

10 Years of The Ibadan Sustainable Development Summit

Theme:        Building and Sustaining Strategic Partnerships for the Achievement of the Sustainable                      Development Goals

Date:           19 – 21 August 2019 (Arrival 18 August and Departure, 22 August 2019

Venue:         University of Ibadan, Nigeria


The 10th ISDS will focus on Partnerships, thus the theme of the Summit is Building and Sustaining Strategic Partnerships for the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this regard, the following sub-themes will be addressed:

  1. South-South Cooperation and Partnerships for Achieving SDGs
  2. North-South Cooperation and Partnerships for Achieving SDGs
  3. Resource Mobilization and Financing Solutions Initiatives  for the SDGs
  4. The Quadruple Helix (Government – Universities – Private Sector - Civil Society) Partnerships for  Sustainable Development
  5. Technology, Creativity and Innovation Solutions
  6. Population, Migration and Sustainable Development
  7. Partnership for Inclusive Growth and Economic Development
  8. Partnering for Sustainable Cities
  9. Collective Actions to combat Climate Change
  10. Partnership for Essential Data and Blockchain

Submission of abstracts and full papers

Prospective participants and presenters may submit short abstracts (250-350 words) as well as an extended abstract (2-4 pages). The extended abstracts must be sufficiently detailed to allow the Session Organizers to judge the merits of the paper. It should include a description of the topic, theoretical focus, research methods, and findings. Priority will be given to papers that emphasise empirical research with clear implications for policy design and implementations.

Please upload you abstracts here 


Registration fee is $150 while student registration is $75. Participants from Nigeria may pay local equivalents of the above rates.

Further enquiries can be obtained by sending email to



This newsletter is presented by the International Sustainable Development Research Society on a regular base to all her registered Followers and Green(+) members. If you want to receive this newsletter, please register here. 

Contributions to the newsletter and announcements of relevant activities are welcomed.

Please send any contribution to the co-editors:

Olawale Olayide, Marlen Arnold

Followers and Green(+) members are invited to share innovative, creative and critical ideas about about the further enhancement of sustainable development in a short essay form. This would have a size of between 500-2000 words, follow the general rules of academic publishing (proper references etc.), but it would fill the gap between journal/conference abstracts and official journal publications.

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