Transformations to sustainability programme – T2S

The Transformations to Sustainability Programme (T2S) is a research initiative of the International Social Science Council (ISSC),[1] implemented in partnership with members of the Belmont Forum. [2]

The programme supports research to help advance transformations to more sustainable and equitable societies around the globe. It aims at providing a deeper understanding of the processes and impacts of the transformative social change in the context of global environmental change. It facilitates the creation of solutions to the problems of environmental change and sustainability, in the context of social and cultural diversity as well as promotes the use of the best knowledge about social transformations by researchers, educators, policy makers, practitioners, the private sector and citizens. 

The programme is characterised by a comprehensive new approach to supporting research for sustainability:

  • By mobilising social scientists from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to get involved in solutions-oriented research for sustainability,
  • By enabling social scientists to frame and lead interdisciplinary research with partners from the natural sciences,
  • By building capacity research for international research collaboration by enabling researchers in low- and middle-income countries to lead international research projects, as well as by promoting research career development,
  • By encouraging researchers to take the cross-border nature of sustainability challenges into account in internationally comparative research designs with international research teams,
  • By supporting co-designed and co-produced research involving academic and societal partners operating from local to global level, from the beginning to the end of the research and dissemination process.

The programme is built on the following principles: social science leadership, internationally comparative research, interdisciplinary research, transdisciplinary research, integrated collaboration and capacity-building.

In practice, the programme has funded 38 seed projects (September 2014 to March 2015) and three Transformative Knowledge Networks (December 2015 to December 2018). The programme will build on networks of knowledge gathered through the seed projects and Transformative Knowledge Networks to create a lasting Global Knowledge Trust on transformations to sustainability. It will serve as a repository of knowledge and a reference point for expertise on social transformation that will continue to inform the development of solutions beyond the formal lifespan of the programme.

The programme also represents a significant contribution to Future Earth, [3]the global research platform providing knowledge and support to accelerate transformations to a sustainable world.

The Transformations to Sustainability (T2S) ERA-NET Cofund programme will be implemented in the context of a Belmont Forum Collaborative Research Action in cooperation with the NORFACE (New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Cooperation in Europe) network and ISSC. Belmont Forum and NORFACE launched the programme, which will contribute to restructuring the broad field of sustainability research by placing social science and humanities at the heart of interdisciplinary research in a step change in scale and scope for research programming on this topic. Researchers from social sciences/humanities (SSH) can apply to T2S on behalf of a consortium. The deadline for the first stage of Outline Proposals is April 5, 2017.


[1] The International Social Science Council (ISSC), a membership-based non-governmental organization, is the primary global body representing the social sciences, including economic and behavioural sciences. Its mission is to strengthen social science to help solve global priority problems. Through its members and programmes, the ISSC reaches hundreds of thousands of individual social scientists working across a wide range of disciplines and representing all parts of the world (

[2] The Belmont Forum is a group of the world’s major and emerging funders of global environmental change research. It aims to accelerate delivery of the environmental research needed to remove critical barriers to sustainability by aligning and mobilizing international resources. It pursues the goals set in the Belmont Challenge by adding value to existing national investments and supporting international partnerships in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary scientific endeavors (

[3] Future Earth is a major international research platform providing the knowledge and support to accelerate transformations to a sustainable world (