News from the ESRC STEPS Centre - linking environmental sustainability and technology with poverty reduction and social justice
Still from "Seeds and Sustainability"

Film: Drought zone farming

Exploring pathways to sustainability in drought-prone areas of Kenya, our film shows how policy changes underway could have serious impacts on farmers struggling for sustainability in a changing climate.
Full version: Watch online
Short version: Watch online
Still from "Water and Justice"

Film: Water and Justice

Our new film, Water and Justice: Peri-urban pathways in Delhi, tells the story of three people and their relationship with water in the towns and villages on the edge of Delhi, India.
Full version: watch online
Short version: watch online

Films for free on DVD

Both films are available free as a DVD. Email to order a copy or talk to us about distributing the films to your networks.

Who are we?

The STEPS Centre is a global research and policy engagement centre, funded by the ESRC, bringing together development studies and science and technology studies. Our work with partners around the world spans agriculture, water, health, energy and climate change. We would love to hear from you:

STEPS Centre news
Winter 2012

Rio: Opening up the green economy

Brazil flag
We have a range of activities planned in the run up to, and at, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June. Our submission to the Rio+20 zero draft calls for a more open, inclusive approach to innovation, science and technology for development. We also contributed to the Green Economy Coalition’s submission to the zero draft. We are blogging about Rio+20 issues on the Guardian's Global Development site - keep an eye on the STEPS website and blog for further engagements. If you are going to Rio this June and would like to engage with STEPS, do get in touch - email

Planet Under Pressure, London

At the Planet Under Pressure conference in London (26-29 March) we are running a key session, chaired by Melissa Leach and convened by Adrian Ely, to discuss the future of technology in the green economy. Lawrence Gudza (Practical Action, South Africa) and Dinesh Abrol (National Institute for Science, Technology and Development Studies, India) are among those taking part. Adrian is also presenting in a session on emerging technologies.
In addition we have a stand in the exhibition area and will be launching our Pathways to Sustainability book series with a drinks reception at 5.30pm on Tuesday 27 March at the Ramada Hotel with special guest Johan  Rockström , executive director of , ex, , executive director of the ,,,, - executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Do come along and say hello. Keep up-to-date with all our PUP activities on the blog and via Twitter.

Brighton Festival: Who's going to save the planet?

Caroline LucasClimate change, famine, financial turmoil - are we doomed? Or, with Rio+20 just weeks away, can citizens help create a greener, smarter and fairer planet? Ask Green MP Caroline Lucas and our panel of sustainability experts at a free public debate on 17 May, part of this year's Brighton Fringe Festival. Co-convened with the Institute of Development Studies.

New book: Contested Agronomy

Our latest book in the Pathways to Sustainability series looks at debates over rising food prices and the impacts of climate change on agriculture. Editors Jim Sumberg and John Thompson explore how problems are framed and discussed, different views of history and knowledge, and the pressure to demonstrate success in agricultural research.
Contested Agronomy – buy online
Pathways to Sustainability series

Conference: Risk, competitiveness and sustainability in Indian business

In Bangalore on 27-28 February STEPS is co-convening a conference challenging companies in India to embrace more sustainable business models. Case studies by companies that have structured their business models around sustainability will be presented, along with valuable insights from environmental consultancies, global organizations, leading accountancy firms, universities and government. Live video of the event will be streamed online - a link will be available via the STEPS Centre blog. The event, and one earlier in the month about biotech in Bangalore, have been organised with the Center for Public Policy (CPP), Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) and funded by the UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).

IDS Bulletin: "Some for all"

World Water Forum logoA new IDS Bulletin, published on 2 March, will focus on STEPS work on Water and Sanitation. Entitled "Some for All? Pathways and Politics Since New Delhi 1990", it brings together papers from participants at our 2011 Water Symposium, including Barbara Frost, Gourisankar Ghosh and Kamal Kar.

The Bulletin will be launched at the World Water Forum in Marseille (15 March, 7.15pm) with a debate focusing on wellbeing and equity in water and sanitation. Meanwhile a selection of papers from the Bulletin will be available to view online, for free, for one month from the 2nd of March.

Evidence to UK government

The STEPS Centre’s director Melissa Leach was asked to give evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology committee's inquiry into UK support for capacity building for science, technology and innovation in developing countries. Among our recommendations are the inclusion of groups outside mainstream science, and more consideration of who benefits or loses from innovation.

New consortium on disease in Africa funded

We are delighted to announce that a major new consortium, led by STEPS Centre directors Melissa Leach and Ian Scoones, has been granted funding by the Ecosystems Services for Poverty Alleviation Programme (ESPA). The Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa consortium will explore the impacts of ecosystem change, ecology and the interactions between humans, animals and ecosystems on new or re-emerging diseases and public health.

It brings together researchers from the STEPS Centre, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Cambridge, the Institute of Zoology, University College London, ILRI and the Stockholm Resilience Centre, and partners in Ghana (Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, University of Ghana), Sierra Leone (Ministry of Health, Njala University), Kenya (KEMRI, ILRI, University of Nairobi), Zambia (Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, University of Zambia) and Zimbabwe (Ministry of Agriculture, University of Zimbabwe).

New articles and papers

Video: Tackling TB

Still from videoHow can the humanities help in the challenge of tackling TB? A new video from the Wellcome Trust includes interviews with STEPS director, Melissa Leach and research fellow Hayley MacGregor.
Video: Tackling TB

Audio: Climate change and maize in Kenya

Listen to a recent Sussex University seminar given by John Thompson about the STEPS project on pathways in and out of maize farming in Kenya.

STEPS Summer School

In May we will be welcoming 49 participants from 17 countries to the University of Sussex campus to take part in the first ever STEPS Centre Summer School. Support for the group includes bursaries from the UK-India Education and Research Initiative and STEPS. Sessions with STEPS researchers and guest speakers will range from the politics of sustainability, knowledge and power to uncertainty, innovation, livelihoods and governance. Thank you to all who expressed interest in attending the School.

Zimbabwe: Voices from the field

Zimbabwe's land reform since 2000 has been intensely controversial. New research by STEPS co-director Ian Scoones looks beyond the myths, offering a more detailed picture of the results of land reform. The results are published in a book, accompanied by videos, photos and a blog on the Zimbabweland website.

Video: Innovation for social inclusion

Watch presentations from a special session we ran at the 9th Globelics Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, entitled Innovation for Social Inclusion and Sustainable Development.

Other events

1 March 2012 - STEPS Seminar: Israeli-Palestinian Water Co-operation: A new analysis and investment.
Jan Selby, University of Sussex. 1-2pm, Convening Space, Institute of Development Studies.

Discussion & debate on our blog

Our blog features original thinking and comment from STEPS researchers, guest bloggers and the communications team.
Copyright © 2012 STEPS Centre, All rights reserved.
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