The Nexus Conference 2015 | Scales, Levels & Spaces of the Nexus of Food, Energy, Water & the Environment | #uk_nexus


The 2015 Nexus Network annual conference, titled ‘Scales, Levels and Spaces of the Nexus’, will take place in London (Mary Sumner House, 24 Tufton Street, Westminster SW1P 3RB) on 19 November 2015 (10am–5.30pm).

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Nexus Network is a collaboration between the University of Sussex, the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL).

What is the Nexus?

In the past five years, the idea of the ‘nexus’ has developed a surge of interest as a way of thinking about the interdependencies, tensions and trade-offs between food, water and energy security, in the wider context of environmental change. Because these different systems are inextricably linked, efforts to improve sustainability in one domain without considering wider connections often prove inadequate. This necessitates more integrated approaches that move beyond sectoral, policy and disciplinary silos.

Questions of scale are crucial in addressing the linked nexus challenges of food, energy, water and the environment. The nexus is often framed as a global security problem, but this can obscure alternative understandings of interactions and trade-offs at local, regional and national levels.

The 2015 Nexus Network Conference

Structured around a number of keynote talks and interactive discussions, the 2015 Nexus Network conference will bring together researchers, policymakers, businesses and others interested in the sustainability of food, energy, water and the environment, providing them with an opportunity to identify and strengthen connections between different projects and initiatives in this area.

The event will feature two keynote speakers: Professor Tim Jackson (lead of the ESRC-funded Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity CUSP) and Professor Tim Benton (Champion for the UK Global Food Security programme).

The day’s programme is as follows:

09.30 Registration and coffee
10.00 Plenary 1: Introduction:
• Chair: Prof James Wilsdon (Director, The Nexus Network/ University of Sussex)
• Panel: Prof Alice Bows-Larkin (University of Manchester), Andy Gibbs (ESRC), Prof Ian Bateman (University of Exeter) and Prof Lyla Mehta (Institute of Development Studies)
10.50 Keynote: Flourishing within Limits – towards a social science for sustainable prosperity.
Prof Tim Jackson (Lead of the ESRC Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity/ University of Surrey)
11.30 Refreshment break
12.00 Nexus Network knowledge sessions (parallel sessions):
• A1. Nexus Interactions at the household level.
• A2. Nexus shocks: informing decision making in response to shocks.
• A3. Levels of decision-making and their mismatches.
• A4. International development and innovation.
• A5. Nexus struggles: agricultural scales, policy spaces and nexus interactions.
13.00 Lunch
14.00 Nexus Network workshop sessions (parallel sessions):
• B1. Focal scales, knowing spaces and methods of the nexus.
• B2. The funding landscape for nexus research.
• B3. Policy engagement on the nexus.
• B4. Nexus politics at different focal scales (technologies, discourses, policies).
• B5. Building a career in interdisciplinarity.
15.00 Plenary 2. Nexus2020 – selecting the most important questions for business.
Dr Bhaskar Vira (CISL/ Cambridge University)
15.45 Refreshment break
16.15 Plenary 3. Systems approaches to managing the nexus: can we really do it?
Keynote: Prof. Tim Benton (UK Champion for Global Food Security/ University of Leeds)
17.00 Closing remarks
17.15 Drinks reception and close

The Nexus Network

The Nexus Network is an ESRC funded, three-year initiative to foster debate, innovative research and practical collaborations across the linked ‘nexus’ domains of food, energy, water and the environment. It brings together researchers, policy makers, business leaders and civil society to develop collaborative projects and improve decision making in these areas.

The Network’s aims are to:
• Encourage debate, fund innovative research and improve decision making across the linked ‘nexus challenges’.
• Support interdisciplinary, cross-sector collaborations
• Enable researchers and stakeholders to develop and share new methodologies, data, conceptual frameworks, skills and practices directed towards nexus challenges.

To achieve these aims, the network funds research; provides opportunities for dialogue and debate; develops a suite of methods, tools and briefing papers; and acts as a UK hub for nexus-related news and discussion.

The Nexus Network consists of four partner organisations:
• Science and Technology Policy Research Unit (SPRU)
• Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS)
• Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE)
• Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Science and Technology Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex is an interdisciplinary research centre in science and technology policy and management. Its research addresses pressing global policy agendas, including inclusive economic growth, energy policy and pathways to a more sustainable future.

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre, based at the Institute of Development Studies and SPRU, is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement centre uniting development studies with science and technology studies. Its cross-cutting work covers agriculture & food; energy & climate change; health & disease and water & sanitation.

Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE), based at the University of East Anglia (UEA), is a leading interdisciplinary research centre in the field of sustainable development and decision making. It consists of a number of collaborating disciplines including economics, political science, social and group sciences and the natural sciences.

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) is an institution within the University of Cambridge with a mission to empower individuals and organisations to take leadership to tackle critical global challenges. Bringing together business, government and academia, it challenges, informs and supports leaders from business and policy to deliver change towards sustainability.

In the UK, the ESRC is spearheading efforts to support interdisciplinary research and cross-sector collaborations designed to tackle nexus challenges. Further investments are planned over the next three years in order to realise its vision for the Nexus Network, i.e. building a community of researchers and stakeholders that is better placed to tackle nexus interdependencies, trade-offs and decision-making processes.

Note: Logos in the graphic are from respective websites.


News post on the event on the Nexus Network website

News post on the ESRC website

The Nexus Network | @uk_nexus

Profiles of keynote speakers:
• Professor Tim Jackson (University of Surrey) | @ProfTimJackson
• Professor Tim Benton (University of Leeds) | @timgbenton

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) | @esrc

Science and Technology Policy Research (SPRU), University of Sussex | @SPRU

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS), University of Sussex | @stepscentre

The Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE)

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership | @cisl_cambridge

Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP) | @CUSP_uk

Global Food Security programme | @FoodSecurityUK

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