Twelve transnational projects to receive 11.5 million euros for research on Transformations to Sustainability


Twelve transnational research projects have been recommended for awards totaling 11.5 million euros from the Belmont Forum and NORFACE joint programme Transformations to Sustainability (T2S). The twelve teams with 56 principal investigators will undertake research in transformations to sustainability areas ranging from groundwater, mining, urban areas and land registration, to the role of migration and intellectual property rights in sustainability transitions. The projects, slated to start in 2018, involve researchers from a wide variety of disciplines working together across the globe, from Brazil to Sweden and from Japan to Burkina Faso.  


Innovative research with an impact

The Belmont Forum, a global partnership that mobilizes funding of environmental change research, and NORFACE, a European research network for the social sciences, jointly developed the research programme Transformations to Sustainability (T2S). The programme aims to restructure the broad field of sustainability research by placing social science, as well as the humanities, at the heart of interdisciplinary research in a step change in scale and scope for research programming on this topic.

The twelve three-year projects will conduct theoretically and methodologically innovative research on transformations to sustainability in different locations experiencing pressing socio-ecological challenges. The knowledge produced by the projects will be of relevance to researchers, practitioners and policymakers across a multitude of sectors and will contribute to advancing transformative change around the globe. To enhance the relevance of the knowledge being produced, the project teams will integrate stakeholder and community-based partners in the research process.

The following Belmont Forum and NORFACE member countries will provide funding, pending agency approval, to the twelve projects: Belgium, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, the International Social Science Council (ISSC), with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), funds the participation of researchers from six low and lower-middle income countries – namely Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, India, Nicaragua and Tanzania. The European Commission provides top-up funding to T2S.

Research programme Transformations to Sustainability

Climate change, environmental degradation and resource pressures have created unprecedented situations for societies worldwide. Consequently, there is growing attention to the need for fundamental transformations in the way societies interact with each other and with the natural environment as the basis of sustainability. The objectives of the Belmont Forum and NORFACE research programme Transformations to Sustainability are to develop understanding of and promote research on transformations to sustainability which are of significant social, economic and policy concern throughout the world and of great relevance to both academics and stakeholders, and to build capacity, overcome fragmentation and have a lasting impact on both society and the research landscape by cultivating durable research collaboration across multiple borders, disciplinary boundaries, and with practitioners and societal partners. The programme builds on and expands the Transformations to Sustainability programme of the ISSC launched in 2014.

About the Belmont Forum

Established in 2009, the Belmont Forum is a partnership of funding organizations, international science councils, and regional consortia committed to the advancement of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary science. Forum operations are guided by the Belmont Challenge, a vision document that encourages international transdisciplinary research providing knowledge for understanding, mitigating and adapting to global environmental change. Forum members and partner organizations work collaboratively to meet this Challenge by issuing international calls for proposals, committing to best practices for open data access, and providing transdisciplinary training. Belmont Forum website:

Project no.: 730211


Since 2004, the NORFACE Network has proved itself as a successful coordinated common action of currently nineteen national research funding agencies. NORFACE (New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Cooperation in Europe) has offered unique opportunities for researchers in the social sciences by developing common research funding instruments, thus creating opportunities for facilitating and building new networks of research collaboration in the social sciences. Since its inception in 2004, NORFACE has organised five transnational research programmes. Next to large transnational research programmes, NORFACE promotes cooperation through seminar series, workshops and knowledge exchange activities. NORFACE website: