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47 Countries Represented and Participant Record for ISRDS

Conference records have been broken with Mid Sweden University hosting the 27th international research conference for the ISDRS. This years conference, for the second year running, is organised digitally and the number of participants have doubled.

  • The conference takes place in July, and the preparations are now reaching its peak. For us, this is a great and exciting challenge to arrange a digital conference of this magnitude. At present we are nearing close to 400 participants, this is double the amount compared to the previous years conference. We are hoping the tickets sales will increase further, since we also offer one-day tickets this time around, says Hans-Erik Nilsson, dean of the Faculty of Science, Technology and Media.

The ISDRS conference is organised for the 27the time and gathers researchers from around the world within the field of sustainability. Mid Sweden University took over as host when the intended organiser in Los Angeles withdrew due to the difficulties arranging a large digital event during the pandemic. The registered researchers represent 47 countries from almost every continent. Researchers from low-income countries can participate at a reduced cost.

The theme for this years conference is “How can we accelerate the progress towards the 2030 SDGs in times of crisis?” During the ISRDS conference, many different perspectives on sustainability, including economic, social and environmental, will be presented. ISDRS stands for International Sustainable Development Research Society.

  • The day before the actual conference we have organised workshops for PhD students and there has been great interest in participating. 60 PhD students have been admitted and are being supervised by professors and senior researchers during a workshop on the 12 of July. This is a greater number of syudents than ever before, says Volker Mauerhofer, professor and scientific project manager for the conference at Mid Sweden University.

The research conference covers ten different themes with 32 different tracks. 400 research articles will be presented and discussed. There will be at total of 47 sessions arranged using Zoom. In addition, 12 keynote speakers and plenary speakers will participate in the joint program sessions. The twelve guest speakers come from Asia, Europe, North- and South America as well as Africa. Among the speakers are:

  • Hans Brunynckx, Executive Director, European Environmental Agency – EEA
  • Åsa Persson, Research Director and Deputy Director at the Stockholm Environment Institute.
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, USA.
  • Elizabeth M. Mrema, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity – CBD.
  • Jane Kabubo-Mariara, Executive Director of the Partnership for Economic Policy.
  • Mark Elder, Director of Research and Publications at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in Japan.

The three-day conference takes place between the 13–15 of July and is broadcast from a studio at Campus Östersund, Mid Sweden University. The majority of the researchers participate online and present their lectures digitally. Read more about the conference:

For more information:

  • Volker Mauerhofer, professor Mid Sweden University, phone + 46 (0)72-581 61 87, e-mail (English)
  • Catrin Johansson, professor Mid Sweden University, phone +46 (0)76-527 91 54, e-mail
  • Inger Axbrink, project manager Mid Sweden University, phone (0)70-393 16 43, e-mail

Utkast prm ISDRS ny ENGLISH version1CM

In support of the May 5, 2021 Statement from the School of Social Sciences Faculty, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

As the Executive Board of the global research community of ISDRS (International Sustainable Development Research Society) we were very distressed by the news from Colombia about how civilians human rights to protest has been violated. Conveyed by one of our Board members, we have read the above linked Statement from the School of Social Sciences Faculty, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia.

As the executive leaders of ISDRS, we stand united with our colleagues and friends in Colombia, who stand up for human rights and protest against oppression of civilians and the violations of human rights.

Planet Earth, May 6, 2021
The Executive Board of ISDRS
Through its President
Professor Peter Dobers

The EU’s Circular Economy Policies are comprehensively reviewed and analysed in new academic paper  

The EU has embraced the concept of the circular economy (CE), which has now become a central component of many EU policies including the European Green Deal and the Coronavirus Recovery Plan. However, academic research has yet to evaluate the discourse and policies of the EU on the CE. This is precisely what Martin Calisto Friant (Utrecht University), Walter Vermeulen (Utrecht University) and Roberta Salomone (University of Messina) have examined in their latest paper, published in the journal Sustainable Production and Consumption and openly accessible here. Their research analyses the 25 new CE directives, communications and regulations of the Junker Commission and evaluates their sustainability implications based on a typology of circularity discourses. Results show a dichotomy between words and actions, with a discourse that is rather holistic while policies focus on technical “end of pipe” solutions. To address the abovementioned limitations, the paper proposes a set of 32 science-based policy recommendations which can help strengthen CE policies both within and outside the EU. This research thus brings key insights for practitioners and academics seeking to better understand the EU’s CE policies and how to improve CE implementation at both national and international level. To find out more about their results, insights and recommendations please see the full open access article by clicking on the 'read more' button below.


Circular economy; policy analysis; discourse analysis; environmental governance; sustainability; circular society; degrowth; post-growth 

First book published in the Routledge / International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS) Series in Sustainable Development Research. 

Transdisciplinarity For Sustainability: Aligning Diverse Practices. By Martina M. Keitsch and Walter J.V. Vermeulen (Eds.)

This volume explores interactions between academia and different societal stakeholders with a focus on sustainability. It examines the significance and potential of transdisciplinary collaboration as a tool for sustainability and the SDGs.

Traditionally, academia has focused on research and education. More recently, however, the challenges of sustainable development and achieving the SDGs have required the co-production of knowledge between academic and non-academic actors. Compromising theory, methods and case studies from a broad span of transdisciplinary collaboration, Transdisciplinarity For Sustainability: Aligning Diverse Practices is written by specialists from various academic disciplines and represents an important step forward in systematizing knowledge and understanding of transdisciplinary collaboration. They are designed to provide a roadmap for further research in the field and facilitate pursuing and realizing the SDGs. 

The book will appeal to researchers and postgraduate students in a variety of disciplines such as architecture, design, economics, social sciences, engineering and sustainability studies. It will also be of significant value to professionals who are engaged in transdisciplinary collaboration that supports sustainable development.

Available for ISDRS with 20% discount code: ISDRS on the book website.

WANTED! – Jury Members for Best Article Award 2020

The ISDRS Best Article Award is becoming a pivotal element of rewarding the excellent research work in the field of sustainability and progressing ground-breaking knowledge to public. In 2021 ISDRS will hand out the Best Article Award for the best sustainable development publication of the previous year for the fourth time. The rising numbers of nominations encourage the ISDRS board to continue the selection of a Best Article Award this year again. So, when reading papers, keep the ISDRS Best Article Award 2020 in mind! 
Before nominating best papers – the nomination will start in December 2020 – we look for volunteers and active members for the Award Jury. A key element of the process is the ISDRS jury, which selects the shortlist of papers for voting from those nominated. The Award Jury reviews the suggested articles briefly and nominates a shortlist of 5 to 10 papers: each Jury member reviews a batch of the suggested articles, assessing these on a 1-10 points scale. Each article is assessed by max. three Jury members. 
While grateful for those ISDRS members who already declared their willingness to serve on the jury, we would still welcome additional jurors. Please consider becoming a member of the jury and kindly send your interest to Charlotte Mummery via email ( 


Click here to find out more about the Best Article award

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