Talk to focus on transdisciplinary research to address sustainability challenges

August 10, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A free presentation titled "Transdisciplinary Research to Address Sustainability Challenges" will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 4, in 101 Stuckeman Family Building on Penn State's University Park campus. The lecture will be presented by Paul Shrivastava, Penn State’s chief sustainability officer and director of the Sustainability Institute.

“We are entering the Anthropocene, a period characterized by the alteration of Earth and climate systems by human and social activities, causing sustainability challenges at a global scale,” said Shrivastava.

“These challenges include the food-water-energy nexus, loss of biodiversity, increasing urbanization, threats to human health and well-being, declining ocean health, socio-economic transformation, etc. In this context, transdisciplinary research on sustainability issues is vital for solving problems.”

Shrivastava describes transdisciplinary research as the holistic co-creation of knowledge with stakeholders for solving real-world problems. Similar approaches are being advocated by National Science Foundation, Future Earth, the Belmont Forum, the National Academy of Sciences and the Rockefeller and Welcome Foundations.

Shrivastava suggests that Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer a guiding framework for transdisciplinary sustainability research, research that Penn State has a rich tradition of in its Land Grant heritage.

“The Sustainability Institute hopes to catalyze such work, through convening and supporting the transdisciplinary research community, designing and supporting Living Lab projects and helping to remove barriers and build legitimacy for this type of work at Penn State,” said Shrivastava.

Shrivastava will welcome questions and comments from the audience as part of his presentation.

For more information about sustainability efforts at Penn State, visit

  • Paul Shrivastava

    Paul Shrivastava is Penn State's chief sustainability officer. He is also director of Sustainability Institute, and a professor of management in the Smeal College of Business. Prior to this he served as the first executive director of the Future Earth global research platform.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated August 22, 2018