Notes #1

The first post in a series of notes on research management, science-policy, governance of and for sustainable development, or any other topic of interest to me, including such with no relation to my professional roles and expertise (like ultrarunning, modern art, literature etc.). These notes may also include plugs for my projects and assignments or those of friends and colleagues. These notes are an attempt to close the gap between brief tweets (@RZondervan) and longer reports, articles, or opinions.

First Issue of the Earth System Governance Journal

Issue 1 of the Earth System Governance Project’s new flagship journal is now out and fully open access.

The journal Earth System Governance addresses governance processes and institutions at all levels of decision-making – from local to global – within a planetary perspective that seeks to align our current institutions and governance systems with the fundamental 21st century challenges of global environmental change and earth-system transformation.

I am glad to see this 1st issue, not just because I co-authored an article in it (New Directions in Earth System Governance Research) but also because in my previous role as the Project’s executive director, I have seen up close the hard work in making this journal happen. Follow @ESG_Journal for updates on new articles.

Interesting reads


  • IASS Fellow Programme: Call for Applications from Artists. With these art fellowships, the IASS recognises the potential and necessity of collaborations between scientific and artistic knowledge practices towards a common goal of sustainable transformation and transformative sustainability.

Food for thought

Stumbled over …

An interesting critical comment by Pablo Rodas-Martini on the strategy of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). His first point of critique is that the plan focusses too much on the IMO as organisation rather than at the shipping sector it represents and can shape. This is something I also see regarding SDG strategies by some large academic institutions, more on that another time. He also points out that:

If you want to link the shipping industry with the SDGs, you must think outside the box. The challenge is not how to fit the shipping industry into the straight jacket of the national goals, targets, and indicators of the SDGs as IMO wants to do, but the real challenge is how to link the shipping industry directly to the SDGs!

Pablo Rodas-Martini

A similar argument, cautioning about just labeling activities with one or more SDGs, was made regarding the university and higher-education sector by Thomas Jørgensen (European University Association):

The labelling of activities and raising of awareness will not by itself lead to fully using the potential of universities for sustainable development. The steps needed for making qualitative progress in universities, would be to make the goals work together and consider the influence of impact made in one area on other areas.

Thomas Jørgensen

He raises another key question, one I plan to write a bit more about in a while:

Not least: how will and how should universities prioritise direct impact on sustainable development with regard to their unique role in promoting curiosity-driven research?

Thomas Jørgensen

In other news

#Arts & Science#DG Research#Digitalisation#Earth System Governance#European Commission#European University Association (EUA)#Flyless#HLPF#International Maritime Organisation (IMO)#Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)#Voluntary National Reviews (VNR)

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