The University of Surrey has been awarded a £6m research grant from the Economic and Social Research Council to establish an international Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP).
Led by Professor Tim Jackson, an internationally renowned expert in sustainable development, the Centre will establish a five-year multidisciplinary research programme starting in January 2016. The overall aim of the Centre will be to explore the complex relationship between prosperity (our aspirations for the good life) and sustainability (the social and environmental constraints of a finite planet).
“This is a tremendously exciting and very timely opportunity,” said Professor Jackson. “Our guiding vision for sustainable prosperity is one in which people everywhere have the capability to flourish as human beings – within the ‘safe operating space’ of a finite planet. The Centre’s work will be to elaborate that vision, test its viability and explore its social and economic implications.”
The CUSP work programme is split into five themes:
- Moral framing and contested meanings of prosperity itself. Taking a broadly philosophical approach we examine how people, enterprise and government negotiate the tensions between sustainability and prosperity.
- Role of the arts and of culture in our society. Not only at the role of the arts in communicating sustainability but at culture as a vital element in prosperity itself.
- Politics of sustainable prosperity and the institutional shifts that will be needed to achieve it. Work closely with both corporate and social enterprise to test new models of sustainability for business.
- Social and psychological dimensions of prosperity. Working with households and individuals in order to understand how people negotiate their aspirations for the good life. As part of this theme the Centre will engage with UNEP in a major study of young people’s lifestyles across the world.
- Complex dynamics of social and economic systems on which sustainable prosperity depends. The challenge of achieving financial stability and high employment under conditions of constrained resource consumption.
- University of Surrey (Tim Jackson, Kate Burningham, Ian Christie, Angela Druckman, Birgitta Gatersleben)
- Anglia Ruskin University (Dr Aled Jones)
- Keele University (Prof Andy Dobson)
- Goldsmiths College London (Dr Will Davies)
- University of Leeds (Prof Kate Oakley)
- Middlesex University (Prof Fergus Lyon)
- York University (Canada) (Prof Peter Victor)
- University of Canterbury (Christchurch, NZ) (Prof Bronwyn Hayward).
Nonacademic partners include the Aldersgate Group – an alliance of leaders from business, politics and society that drives action for a sustainable economy – who will formally be coinvestigators on the project. Other partnerships include a wide range of business and cultural organisations.
Over the next five years, the Centre will develop pragmatic steps towards prosperity which can be taken by businesses, government and civil society. The work programme will start in January 2016.
Image credit: with thanks to Tommy Clark on flickr.