The Professional Master in Sustainability Science offers two lines of research focused on the complexities, challenges and solutions defined by the problems in the transition to sustainability:
Research in socio-ecological systems investigates how Society, which depends on natural resources, interacts with nature in order to develop an adaptive capacity to various impacts and stresses (e.g. climate change, extreme events, loss of biodiversity, desertification). Knowledge generated in this line of research results in a better understanding of how good governance (in the broad sense) of socio-ecological systems is essential for the transition of these systems towards sustainability. The line of research includes topics related to new approaches to governance of natural resources and discusses several case studies related to the transition to reducing risks to public health, reducing vulnerability to natural disasters and adapting based on ecosystems. Particular emphasis will be given to the adaptive potential of the interaction between science and socio-ecological policy with science and socio-technological bias. Interactive dynamics and interactions with actors involved in complex socio-ecological systems will be used to better understand the challenges and potential solutions.
This line of research brings together professional training projects and disciplines that examine the interactions between science and society for effective changes in technical management, such as the transition to low-carbon systems (linked to renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, sustainable cities, ecotourism, etc.) in response to the social and environmental impacts of industrialization. The line of research results in better knowledge and potential application of solutions related to renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, sustainable cities and ecotourism. Case studies will be presented that highlight how technological innovation is a key vector in the transition of social systems towards low carbon economies. The line of research addresses topics related to the potential of action in complex systems to promote not only the mitigation of impacts linked, for example, to climate change, but also to promote adaptation models. In this sense, particular emphasis will be given to the adaptive potential of the interaction between science and politics.
Each of these lines of research are associated with research projects that bring together diverse members of the program’s teaching staff in a transdisciplinary way and cover topics ranging from biodiversity conservation to climate change, from rural systems to urban systems, to public policy components and private sector practices. These projects also correspond to specific or transversal disciplines.