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Vision and Strategy

The Institute for Global Sustainable Development’s vision is to be at the forefront of knowledge creation that enables transformations towards a more sustainable, prosperous, healthier and just world for all.

IGSD undertakes world-leading transdisciplinary research and capacity development to tackle global challenges and enable transformative change of human-environment interactions. We do this by establishing equitable partnerships with researchers and non-scientific stakeholders across the global North and the global South to work on challenge-led research projects which cross the boundaries of disciplines in the humanities, natural and social sciences, and achieve impact towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


The current environmental crisis, the expansion of social inequalities and consequent slow progress towards the SDGs demonstrate that conventional perspectives on human development and environmental sustainability as stand-alone issues are insufficient to tackle the complexity of the current challenges. We need to develop innovative ways of knowing and doing that can enable transformations of human-environment interactions towards a sustainable future.

Institutionally, cultivating world-class interdisciplinary research communities is a priority area in Warwick's recently published research strategy, which also names sustainable development as a key research theme to be advanced. The Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD) plays a central role in achieving these strategic goals and provides a focal point for research that crosses disciplinary boundaries and has a transformative impact towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Strategic Goals for the next five years (2020-2025)

In the next five years, IGSD’s strategy will be implemented by pursuing the following four goals:

  1. Generate cutting-edge research on transformations of human-environment interactions to sustainable development: we will produce and co-produce knowledge that crosses boundaries and extends our understanding human-environment interactions and sustainable development. Our approach addresses environmental sustainability and human development through the analysis of human-environment interactions, transcending boundaries between science, humanities, and social sciences. We develop world-leading research expertise that engages critically and constructively with sustainable development frameworks (e.g. Agenda 2030, UN SDGs); advancing new methods for the analysis and visualisation of geospatial sustainable development data; and developing innovative transdisciplinary methods for co-producing research whilst empowering local stakeholders and communities to achieve global impact.
  2. Cultivate cross-border transdisciplinary networks and facilitate equitable partnerships: We will help establish thematic transdisciplinary networks and research programmes, which address challenge areas in collaboration with academics of different disciplines, Global Research Priorities and research centres in Warwick and with stakeholders outside the university in different countries. Our research community will value cultural, gender and epistemic diversity, and be based on the establishment of equitable, meaningful and enduring partnerships.
  3. Contribute to transformative impact by addressing global challenges. We will provide expertise on methods to meaningfully and systematically embed impact throughout research project design, delivery and evaluation. Our approach to project monitoring and evaluation will be evidence-based, reflexive and participatory to adapt to different contexts and embed perspectives of end-users and beneficiaries. We will collaborate in translational activities and the synthesis of evidence that can lead to step changes in policy and decision making on global sustainable development.
  4. Develop capacity and collaborative learning: We will educate the next generation of leaders in research for global sustainable development, fostering exchange and mutual learning of a community of early-career and established researchers, as well as through a world-leading interdisciplinary PhD programme in global sustainable development. We will contribute to develop capacity in our internal and external communities to capture funding to scale up research and impact.