Position paper on designing missions for sustainability transformations published

Worldwide a profound change towards more sustainability is needed in order to overcome global challenges such as the climate crisis. With the innovative concept of mission-oriented research, science, together with a wide range of different stakeholders, is breaking new ground. But this new way of doing research itself has some challenges to overcome and needs certain prerequisites. A position paper of the Leibniz Research Network "Knowledge for Sustainable Development" addresses these challenges. It draws attention to seven key lessons.

One of the essential points for the success of mission-oriented approaches is sufficient space for participation and reflectivity. Only in this way can the complex processes be legitimised and substantiated in the necessary breadth. At the same time, this allows for flexible readjustment if it turns out that missions do not contribute in the desired way to achieving the goals set or if the goals themselves need to change. The first international conference of the Leibniz Research Network "Knowledge for Sustainable Development" zum Thema "Missions for sustainability: New approaches for science and society" offered precisely this space for reflectivity. Invited to the cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary exchange were not only those involved in mission-oriented research and innovation, but also researchers, policy makers and stakeholders engaged in the practical co-creation and implementation of missions in different fields.

On the basis of the contributions and discussions during the conference as well as previous analyses and the exchange with the scientific advisory board, the steering group of the Leibniz Research Network "Knowledge for Sustainable Development" finally drafted the position paper. It summarises seven key lessons for designing future missions for sustainability transformations. They aim to maximise the positive impacts of mission-oriented research and innovation on transformations towards sustainable and resilient societies while containing potential major risks, addressing trade-offs and ensuring justice and legitimacy. According to the authors, this requires, among other things, meaningful opportunities for social participation, the joint analysis of systemic problems and the articulation of transformative goals as well as the inclusion of social learning as a continuous, transparent learning dialogue between science and society.

The position paper "Designing missions for sustainability transformations" is available for download on the website of the Leibniz Research Network "Knowledge for Sustainable Development"

Scientific contact at the IOER
Prof. Dr. Marc Wolfram, e-mail: M.Wolframioer@ioer.de

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