Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Professor Andy Stirling, STEPS Centre Co-Director, will be part of a keynote debate entitled "Engineering the future: cautionary tale or utopia?" on Sunday. The debate is part of the Battle of Ideas festival at the Royal College of Art in London.

"Are we are living in a world where utopian thinking is at best idle day-dreaming and at worst downright dangerous? Popular visions of large-scale engineering seem to be overshadowed by the negative aspects of the man-made world, from climate change to unsustainable growth to the unforeseen side effects of cutting-edge technology. Do we have to let go of the vision that engineering and technology can promise us continued improvement in quality of life? Is it really just wishful thinking to argue for a more ambitious role for human ingenuity, and the transformative power of innovation? Are we limited to only doom-and-gloom nightmares of nature taking revenge on humanity’s arrogance, to a perceived need for belt-tightening austerity and a tomorrow of ‘make do and mend’."

Battle of Ideas 2010 - Engineering the Future: cautionary tale or utopia? Read more

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Our conference featured keynote speeches with ideas on sustainability and the sciences; and a roundtable on policy for the 2012 Earth Summit.

Keynote speech 1: Prof Melissa Leach, STEPS Centre
Melissa explains the STEPS Centre's "pathways" concept, with illustrations from our work on health, water & sanitation, and food & agriculture.

Keynote speech 2: Prof Arun Agrawal, University of Michigan
Prof Agrawal examines how responsible the social sciences are in their use of human subjects and cases.

The videos from the policy roundtable are below, after the jump.

Rio+20 Policy/Research Roundtable
A roundtable on sustainability research and its implications for policy, in the run-up to the Earth Summit 2012.

Full roundtable (54 min)

Extracts from the roundtable:

Read more