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The University of Southampton
Sustainability Science

About Us


Sustainability Science at Southampton (SSS) is an internationally recognised centre of interdisciplinary research excellence advancing the understanding of complex socio-ecological systems, taking the lead in innovation for sustainability and making a significant contribution towards alleviating some of society's global dilemmas.

SSS is structured around a number of core themes that reflect excellence in research across the University, including:

1. Development and ecosystem services

2. Complex socio-ecological systems

3. Biodiversity and ecosystem services

4. Adapting to Climate Change


SSS is directed by: Professor John Dearing (Co- Chair), Dr James Dyke (co-chair), Dr Felix Eigenbrod (Co- Chair). Dr Emma Tompkins (co-chair). SSS is also governed by a Steering Group and supported by a large number of members.


Environmental change is forcing urgent global reassessment of the way we live, how we consume our planet's resources, and how we best respond to threats posed by, for example, global warming, economic growth and demographic change.

In 2008, the University of Southampton responded to this challenge by launching the USRG Living with Environmental Change (LWEC). Since the inception of the group, members have initiated or helped to organise three international meetings: PAGES 'Regional integration of long term social and ecological records', WUN Workshop 'Ecosystems, complexity and people', and WUN Meeting 'Adapting to climate change' and has strengthened the multifarious 'environmental' research activities and expertise existing across the university.

Many of the challenges facing the world demand interdisciplinary research leading to new trans-disciplinary improvements in simulations of alternative futures, linking complexity theory to socio-ecological systems, and policies for climate adaptation and regional development. Sustainability Science truly encapsulates the greatest set of challenges facing the world today.

Now named Sustainability Science at Southampton, the University is at the cutting-edge of this national and global agenda.

Radama Islands, Northern Madagascar
Boy on traditional fishing pirogue

It is generally accepted that sustainable development calls for a convergence between the three pillars of economic development, social equity, and environmental protection.

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