Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress 2022

June 20-24, 2022
Online and onsite in Pretoria, South Africa

The Sustainability Research & Innovation Congress is a series of gatherings that unite global research leaders, experts, industries and innovators to inspire action and promote a sustainability transformation.

A joint initiative of Future Earth and the Belmont Forum, the SRI Congress is a space of dedicated advocacy for sustainability scholarship and innovation, transdisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration and action.

Hosted by the Future Africa Institute at the University of Pretoria, SRI2022 will build on the success of the first SRI Congress which took place in June 2021 and featured 700 speakers and 2,000 participants from 100 countries.

South Africa will offer an inspiring environment for this second edition of the SRI Congress. A leader on the African continent and around the globe for sustainability science and innovation as well as participatory approaches to action research, it also provides a gateway to the wider African continent.

The country boasts an exceptional network of universities working at the forefront of resilience with strong ties to private sector and industry research that is moving new green ideas to market, building innovation capacity and providing sustainability career opportunities to meet Africa’s Agenda 2063.

An important objective of SRI2022 is to amplify the voice of sustainability science and innovation in the Global South, specifically for the African continent, through raising awareness and propelling discussions about sustainable priorities for Africa. Africa has much to offer to the global discussion on sustainability, and SRI2022, together with its host Future Africa, will provide a critical platform for collaboration with local, African and international partners.

A VISION FOR THE FUTURE

SRI2022 is the second meeting in the annual SRI series that unites global leaders, experts, industry, and innovators to inspire action and promote transformation in sustainability. SRI2022 offers a platform for meaningful solutions to society, transformations at the intersection of research and innovation, and collaborations for change on the ground.

SRI2022 THEMES

NEW HORIZONS

Sustainability is about our relationship with the future, and SRI2022 seeks to explore emerging issues and trends that shape our world tomorrow. In a time of rapid change, looking ahead is more important than ever. What are the challenges and solutions that might surprise us? How can we get ahead of the curve and build our preparedness and resilience? How to predict the unpredictable? Who are the new players and what are the unlikely coalitions? Under this theme, we are particularly open for new if not unexpected ideas, but examples or areas might include:

  • World after Covid-19
  • Unheard voices in sustainability science and innovation
  • Justice, equity, ethics and inclusion
  • Levers for innovation and change
  • Inclusive financial mechanisms for supporting growth and resiliency

DIFFERENT WAYS OF KNOWING

Recognizing that knowledge is versatile, SRI2022 explores the various ways of understanding, conceptualizing, and learning about the world. An inclusive approach to knowledge will dramatically broaden the spectrum of solutions available for action-forward sustainability work. SRI2022 will promote new perspectives to:

  • Indigenous/local community knowledge
  • Equitable access to information and decision-making options, including Artificial Intelligence
  • TD (transdisciplinary research and transdisciplinarity)*

*transdisciplinary science is an approach that threads together different scientific and other knowledge

NEXUS ISSUES

Many sustainability challenges are interrelated and intertwined and require a nexus approach. SRI2022 invites novel perspectives looking at critical intersections in multiple areas including but not restricted to:

  • Sustainable food systems and human wellbeing
  • Resilience, adaptation and addressing risk
  • Evidence-based and actionable contributions to the SDGs and beyond
  • Narratives of progress, wealth and well-being
  • Water, food, energy, society
  • Resources use efficiency

CROSS-CUTTING: AFRICAN SCIENCE AND INNOVATION

One of the key objectives of SRI2022 is to showcase the richness of African science and innovation in sustainability. From tested local solutions to advanced academic research, the African continent has a wealth of knowledge and innovation to offer to the wider world. In addition, SRI2022 is hoping to strengthen the inter-African dialogue and networks by offering an inclusive platform for increased visibility and collaboration.

CONGRESS FORMAT

A global meeting committed to translating knowledge to action.

SRI2022 will be a hybrid meeting, bringing together sustainability professionals and practitioners from all over the world, to attend both online and onsite. Similar to SRI2021, we anticipate an interactive meeting with significant opportunities for mixing and exchanging information – dialogues, training sessions,, workshops, andinnovation demonstrations, with plenty of space for sponsors and cyber-enabled engagement. A major difference to the 2021 Congress will be extensive onsite activity and creative experimentation with the hybrid experience, which we are focused on making as smooth and engaging as possible. As inclusivity and accessibility remains two of our main principles, SRI2022 will be designed to service a more diverse group of participants from different geographies, language groups and across sectors. For a global transformation to sustainability, we need a broad coalition of experts and change-makers.