Towards an Institutional Strategy for the Study of Sustainability (NIAS/U/RR/09/2020)

Publication Type:



NIAS, Bengaluru (2020)


Brundtland Report, Equity, Intergenerational Transfer, Sustainability


<p>Over the last three decades, NIAS has evolved as one of India’s leading multidisciplinary research and training institutions. It has, during this period, built on its mandate to carry out multidisciplinary research and to use the results of that research to help build a new leadership in India. A major step in this direction was taken by focusing on specific initiatives, drawing on inputs from multiple disciplines. The practice of multidisciplinary research has, over time, thrown up not just answers to questions that have been asked about diverse aspects of the country, but also raised new questions. Some of these questions have been recurring, arising again and again in the course of multidisciplinary research in very different directions. Among the more frequent of these recurring questions are those that relate, directly or indirectly, to issues of sustainability. A strategy for national security would self-destruct if it used resources in a manner that was not sustainable; the protection of our heritage can be seen as a response to the need to sustain memories of our past; the need to study inequality comes from an understanding that grossly unequal societies are not sustainable; and so on. As individual programmes have responded to these challenges, an institute-wide approach to sustainability has evolved from below. This note seeks to make this approach explicit by placing it in the context of the larger debate on sustainability. It then goes on to develop this approach into a strategy to enhance the contribution of NIAS to the larger cause of sustainability, in the realms of theory, empirical evaluation, and policy.</p>