The ISDRS network brings together sustainability research from around the world. Researchers from Brazil, India, the UK and Sweden gather to discuss the way forward and how society can approach the challenges of climate change. The network is currently led by Peter Dobers, professor of business studies at Södertörn University.
“For me, sustainable development is closely associated with values that are linked to fairness and justice. Not just between the global south and north, but also between generations. This is something we can see during the pandemic, with some countries able to access different types of vaccine while others can’t get any. The presidency is an incredible responsibility and a huge honour. ISDRS never sleeps, and many people are very involved in the network,” he says.
The founding of ISDRS
ISDRS was founded in the early 1990s. From the very beginning, its purpose has been to create more research and knowledge about sustainable development, as well as disseminating that knowledge to the wider community. Links to practitioners in sustainable research are thus very important.
Sustainable Development, now a highly ranked scholarly journal, was launched at the same time as the network was founded. Conferences were arranged to provide contributions for the journal. The network now has around 150 active members and more than 2,600 followers who have attended conferences or want to share in ISDRS’ activities and its conferences gather 250 to 450 researchers in around 30 different tracks (discussion themes). In 2022, Södertörn University will host the annual conference in partnership with five other higher education institutions in Stockholm. The theme for the year is courage, culture, art and human rights.
Chance to highlight the Baltic Sea region and East European research profile
For a researcher from Södertörn University to be elected to such a high position in an international research network can be regarded as a recognition of the competence found at the university. For Peter Dobers, his involvement in the network has also been a chance to highlight the university’s Baltic Sea region and East European research profile, not least by locating the 2020 conference in Budapest and encouraging researchers affiliated to CBEES to contribute to the special edition of Sustainable Development on “Sustainability in Transforming Societies”.
His personal interest in sustainability issues grew as an undergraduate and he was the first doctoral student to be admitted to a newly started research programme, in which business studies was combined with environmental issues. His interest in sustainable development and community engagement remains.
“It’s all about how we collaborate to approach the global, regional and national challenges of sustainable development. There are numerous interesting questions and problems in this area, and there is something special about collaboration skills. But doing things in the network is one thing – I’m also passionate about broader opportunities for our surroundings, showing people who find it interesting that they can join the network and get involved. There’s the conference, as well as a large network of researchers around the world, where we can establish international partnerships, applications and exchanges. This provides enormous potential for those who want to participate,” he concludes.