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Co-creating change: experimenting with values for sustainability transformation

Project description

An innovative approach for sustainability transformation

There is a rising debate about how sustainability science can achieve the target of transformational change under an environment of complicated global problems. One suggestion supports that sustainability science needs to go beyond the co-production of knowledge to the application and demonstration of knowledge. Another says it needs to form values rather than generate ameliorated actionable knowledge. The EU-funded COEXIST project will combine these two suggestions and develop experimental settings that include values-based interventions to generate scientifically accepted and socially pertinent knowledge for sustainability changes. The project will integrate experimental interventions with transformative values and implement the model within a real-world context in Transylvania, Romania.


There has been a growing discourse revolving around how sustainability science can reach the goal of transformational change in response to complex global problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and resource depletion. As one solution it has been suggested that sustainability science needs to bridge barriers to action by going beyond the co-production of knowledge to experimentation and testing of knowledge. At the same time, it has been argued that in order to achieve genuine transformational change it is necessary to shift values rather than simply generate ‘better’ actionable knowledge. COEXIST aims to join these two streams and to develop experimental settings that include values-based interventions to produce scientifically appropriate and socially relevant knowledge for sustainability transformations. Thus, COEXIST will be the first to integrate experimental interventions with the transformative power of values. I will identify theoretical frameworks that will inform a value-based experimental design and I will collect empirical evidence about key enabling factors and interventional practices that can operationalise such an experimental approach. By combining theory and practice, I will develop an integrated model of transformational experiments involving value-based interventions. I will implement the model within the real-world context of Transylvania, Romania, a region with a rich but threatened cultural and natural heritage. COEXIST combines my experience in transformational and transdisciplinary research modes and the host’s unique knowledge of place-based social-ecological systems research with the commitment of regional multi-sectoral stakeholders. This setup provides a strong theoretical and empirical foundation for the integrated model, which is expected to generate impact, and acts as a forum for communicating results to non-academic actors in Romania and Europe.


Net EU contribution
€ 141 778,56
Mihail kogalniceanu 1
400084 Cluj napoca

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Macroregiunea Unu Nord-Vest Cluj
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00