The IASS fosters science and research on global sustainability. To achieve this, the Institute:
- conducts inter- and transdisciplinary research on current and emerging sustainability issues with the aim of fostering transformations towards sustainability;
- supports dialogue at the interface of science, policy, civil society, and the private sector;
- forms strategic partnerships within and beyond academia;
- communicates its findings to decision-makers in the political sphere, the private sector, civil society and the public at large through appropriate channels and media products; and
- invites both academic and non-academic experts to pursue innovative ideas and to enhance and support established strategic dialogues.
The Board of Directors has developed three overarching research questions to guide the work of the IASS in its second funding period (2017–2021) with the aim of enhancing target, systems, and transformation knowledge:
- What are the characteristics of a sustainable society?
- What knowledge is needed in order to understand transformation processes towards sustainability, and how can this knowledge be generated in cooperation with actors from science, politics, the private sector, and civil society?
- What processes are required (and how should they be designed) in order to effectively apply this knowledge in the development of concrete transformation processes towards more sustainable societies?
The research programme for the funding period from 2017 to 2021 is based on projects and currently spans 36 research projects (20 core-funded projects and 16 third-party funded projects):
Prior to 2017, research at the IASS spanned five thematic areas: