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ISDRS 2021: Save-the-date July 13-15, 2021

In recognition of the previous conference host of 2021, we would like to keep both the dates and theme for the upcoming ISDRS 2021 conference, our 27th conference.

Please save the date of July 13-15, 2021 as the main days of the next ISDRS event, including also July 12th as the PhD day. The conference theme will be:

Accelerating progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals in times of crisis

We have created a Conference Committee that will help assist our efforts to bring you an online conference, true to the values of the global ISDRS community and that is attempting to live up to the lovely experience that prof Gyula Zilahy and his team did in Budapest during the summer of 2020.

At the same time, we are transitioning our conference sites to a new platform, since Ex Ordo will discontinue their support for our conference sites, as had been the case for the last years. So while we are speaking, we are in the starting blocks to build the next conference site. An extra News Flash will come when we are ready to launch the ISDRS 2021 conference site.

Looking forward to join the movements towards accelerating the progress towards the 2030 SDGs!

Would you like to join the efforts for a successful ISDRS 2021? Please mail us at:

Peter Dobers,

Vice President of ISDRS

In the name of the ISDRS Conference Committee:

Carlton Waterhouse

Gyula Zilahy,

Malin Gawell,

Marc Wolfram,

Simon Lockrey, and

Volker Mauerhofer

NEWS: Second Utrecht Degrowth Symposium (track 5c)

Over 600 people attended the Second Utrecht Degrowth Symposium: From Circular Economy to Circular Society on the 15th of May 2020. The event brought together scholars and practitioners from various sectors including government, NGOS, businesses and academia to discuss a circular future beyond economic growth.

The symposium included interventions by Dr. Sanli Faezi (Utrecht University), Martin Calisto Friant (Utrecht University), Dr. Kersty Hobson (Cardiff University), Ilektra Kouloumpi (Circle Economy), Joey Hodde (De Ceuvel), Dr. Socrates Schoutens (Waag), Martine Postma (Repair Café) and Dr. Ernst Worrell (Utrecht University).

The diversity of speakers and attendees allowed for a cross pollination of ideas and led to thought-provoking debates on what a degrowing circular society can look like and how it can be achieved.

One of the main topics of the symposium was the differentiation of a circular economy, seeking eco-efficient material and energy resources cycles with a circular society, which also seeks to circulate wealth, knowledge, technology and power in fundamentally democratic and redistributive manners.

The event therefore discussed the current challenges and critiques of the circular economy concept and the need to go beyond market-based circular solutions. Evidence presented in the symposium showed that circular innovations (such as product service systems and material recovery technologies) do not guarantee positive social and environmental benefits, especially if questions of scale, power and redistribution are no also addressed. This demonstrates the need to think of a sustainable, fair and equitable circular society rather than simply an eco-efficient circular economy.

The symposium also challenged the assumption that a circular future could be compatible with continued economic growth. Indeed, planetary boundaries and inevitable global resource limits force us to reconsider the current system’s addiction to growth and oblige us to imagine a degrowing circular society. As we have already overshot our planetary limits, degrowth is not only socially desirable (to create a new convivial world beyond individualism, utilitarianism, materialism, ethnocentrism, sexism and anthropocentrism) but also necessary for the very survival of human and non-human life on Earth.

In addition to this, the event discussed practical solutions and perspectives such as Amsterdam’s doughnut model used as a tool for circular, sustainable and regenerative urban planning. Other solutions were also presented such as repair cafés, cooperative housing models, and open source technologies.

The discussion also raised questions regarding the adoption of circular innovations in the Global South. This led for a fruitful debate showing that the Global North could, in fact, learn a lot from the diversity of circular and regenerative perspectives of the Global South such as Buen Vivir, Radical Pluralism, Ecological Swaraj etc. Instead of forcing western forms of circularity, a plurality of different circular societies can be imagined from many radically different epistemological and ontological frameworks.

Overall, the event was wake-up call regarding both the limits and potentials of circularity and the need to combine circular innovations with redistributive degrowth principles in order to ensure that the Earth’s ecological limits are respected and that the benefits and costs of a transition to a sustainable world are shared equally. Growth in a finite planet cannot continue, especially now that we have already grossly surpassed the world’s biocapacity. In this context, the second Utrecht degrowth symposium brought key ideas to avoid collapse and build de-growing circular societies, which are truly sustainable, fair and democratic.


Recordings of the symposium are available on the  YouTube channel, click 'see recordings' above.


The academic paper on which the concept of circular society was based on for the symposium can be accessed here.

Coronavirus: six key factors poor countries should focus on

By Olawale Emmanuel Olayide

Since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic late last year in Wuhan, China, the global community has witnessed unprecedented policy responses to curtail, contain and control the disease. Many have proven to be successful. But others required critical context consideration.

For instance, the lockdown in Nigeria risks threatening the livelihoods of millions of people who are dependent on the informal market for their survival. Another example is the fact that the security measures being imposed are extracting a heavy price from ordinary citizens.

Read full article in The Conversation CLICK HERE

Invitation to the second Utrecht Degrowth symposium: From circular economy to circular society, 15th May 2020

ISDRS Track 5c Circular Economy

Please join us for our second Utrecht Degrowth symposium: From circular economy to circular society on Friday 15 May. In response to the current measures in place to contain the spread of COVID19, this symposium will be held online.

During the symposium we discuss the possibilities of a holistic societal transformation towards sustainability. We will explore what a circular society can look like and how it can be achieved from the perspectives of academics and practitioners.

Registered participants receive a link to the ZOOM meeting and more information on the online proceedings one week before the event.

We look forward to have this timely discussion with you on May 15th.

The symposium is supported by the Towards a Circular Economy and Society hub of Utrecht University's strategic theme Pathways to Sustainability

Event Organisers

Olga Coretcaia

Dr. Ir. Sanli Faez

Martin Calisto Esquetini-Friant

Dr. Giuseppe Feola

Laura van Oers

Coronavirus Update:

With the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus, life in general and also conference planning has become more complicated. We monitor developments closely and take into account both national and international recommendations as presented by different public health organisations. The safety and wellbeing of the ISDRS community is of utmost importance to us.

Given all uncertainties around travel, we have decided to develop a virtual version of ISDRS2020, which may run parallel to the onsite event, if the situation improves by July, or will be organized solely, if travel for most participants is still not possible.  This change has major implications for most aspects of the conference including the structure of the programme, the required facilities and the financial resources needed to host the event, which in turn will also require the revision of registration categories/fees.

However, our determination to provide a platform for scientific discussion – as ISDRS conferences have always been – is unchanged. For this reason we ask you to continue with the preparation of your presentations and papers. The conference proceedings will be published as normal and details about different ways of participation, changes in registration fees and deadlines will be posted on the website as soon as possible.

The Faculty of Business Economics of Hasselt University seeks a PhD student, Pro-environmental behaviour


The Environmental Economics Research focuses on sustainability assessments of clean technologies and valuation of ecosystem services, and is a visible source of robust science-driven advice in these domains. More info on our research group, its projects, and publications can be found here. Seeing the importance of pro-environmental behaviour in the transition towards a more sustainable society, we are looking to expand our expertise.

Job content

You will mainly be responsible for carrying out and reporting about research in the domain of “pro-environmental behaviour”. Given current research activities of the research group, the scope can be limited to “green purchasing behaviour” and “good citizenship”. The main goals are the realization of publications of the developed research in top international journals and the expansion of the research group’s network for example by participating in international academic conferences. You will have a limited teaching assignment.


  • You have obtained the degree master in (business or behavioural) economics or master in (applied social or environmental) psychology (or equivalent). Final-year students are (likewise) encouraged to apply.
  • You can demonstrate having experience with data collection, quantitative research methods and the matching software.
  • You have the necessary qualities to function within a multidisciplinary research group.
  • You are able to start at the latest on 01/10/2020.
  • Your command of Dutch or English (IELTS>=7 or equivalent) is excellent.
  • You have obtained excellent grades.
  • You can demonstrate having experience with quantitative research that analyses (pro-environmental) behaviour.


You will be appointed and paid as PhD student.

We offer a full doctoral grant for four years on the condition of a positive evaluation after 2 years.

Selection procedure

You can only apply online up to and including 30 June 2020.

The selection procedure consists of a preselection based on application file, an interview and a test lesson / presentation.

Preselection is based on the submitted records. These records contain at least: (1) CV, (2) motivation letter (max. 2p), (3) a writing sample of your own writing (eg your master thesis). Applicants are encouraged to upload: (4) an example of own coding syntax for a statistical software programme of your choice

Further information

Prof. dr. Sebastien LIZIN, +32-11-268696,

More about working at Hasselt University? Check for our staff benefits.

ISDRS “Best Sustainable Development Article Award” 2019

We are now accepting nominations for ISDRS Best Sustainable Development Article Award 2019. Please visit the Best Article Page to read about the article criteria and find the links to the procedures and submission page.

Also visit the ISDRS Best Article 'Hall of Fame".  Here you can read dozens of articles nominated over the past few years, including the winning articles of 2017 and 2018.

The ISDRS serves as a central knowledge hub on research in sustainable development. To strengthen our role, we identify and honour the best research paper written every year. With this we intend to further stimulate solid research, but also their applicability to support introduction of solutions to our immense challenges. We will work with a participatory approach: everyone connected to the ISDRS can suggest nominations for such a ‘best research article’. A Jury with decide on a short list of nominated papers and after that again ISDRS members will vote to select the best article. The winners will be honoured during our annual Conference,  for the 2019 award, this will be in Budapest, Hungary in 2020.