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Sustainable Development Research Network Phase IV - SD1223

The Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN) was established in 2001 and is funded by Defra and Department for Transport. It is coordinated by the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) (part of University of Westminster) and project managed by the Transparency & Engagement Team in Defra’s Sustainable Development Unit. SDRN is supported by an Advisory Committee made up of academics, research funders, government policymakers and other stakeholders. SDRN aims to facilitate and strengthen links between research providers and policymakers across government to improve evidence-based policymaking to deliver the UK Government's objectives for sustainable development.

SDRN-membership is free and open to everyone with a professional interest in UK sustainable development research and policy. Over 500 organisations are currently represented from across government (central, agencies, local and devolved), the research community, NGOs consultancies and businesses. Most members are in government or researchers. Communication to members is via a fortnightly electronic newsletter. Mailing collates and briefly summarises information from across UK related sustainable development policy and research, including news on reports, publications, events and new research calls. It is used to advertise government research competitions and can be used by policy-makers for direct calls for evidence and other inputs from researchers.

From 2001 to 2010, there have been 3 previous stages to SDRN's work. The next stage, Phase IV of the SDRN will run for 3-years from August 2011 to July 2014.
The SDRN is a key resource and well-respected as noted by Defra’s 2010-13 Evidence and Investment Strategy noted . For the next stage, Phase IV which will run from August 2011 to July 2014, we are seeking to make much wider use of SDRN to develop Defra's SD research and evidence base to support delivery of Defra’s policy objectives in the 2011-15 Business Plan, and to get most value for money from Defra funding. The SDRN will be directed to support delivery of Defra policy objectives as follows:

1. Contribute to knowledge transfer of the evidence base relevant to the work of mainstreaming SD across Government.

2. Attain a broader remit across the Green Economy & Strategy programme and other relevant policy areas such as Big Society, Sustainable Food and the Natural Environment.

3. Greater Defra governance, including a stronger - more central - role for Strategy and Evidence (SE), Chief Scientific Advisor ( CSA) and Head of Professions( HoPs).

4. Outputs are subject to proportionate quality assurance processes (and handling as necessary).

5. Refresh the Advisory Committee membership to improve alignment and co-ordination with other external evidence initiatives eg Living with Environmental Change (LWEC), Science Advisory Council (SAC), etc.

6. To increase the profile among researchers of the need to incorporate consideration of inevitable changes in the earth’s climate in to sustainable development thinking.

7. To organise and facilitate a quarterly series of meetings between social scientists in areas such as: (a) Climate risk perception; (b) Climate risk communication; (c) Risk and organisational psychology; (d) Community based ways to deal and lessen climate impacts (such as flooding, heat waves, drought etc); and (e) Social impacts of a changing climate (e.g. water shortage, heat related morbidity, possible increase in flood insurance cost), including impacts on equity, etc.

8. To inform government of policy-relevant evidence and for government researchers to outline policy-relevant topics likely to have greatest impact.

9. Contribute to work by the Government’s Chief Scientific Officer’s to strengthen cross-disciplinary work on low carbon/green growth, as follows: “To facilitate inter-disciplinary consideration of the economic, societal and scientific challenges associated with the transition to a low carbon economy, and policy-relevant research in this area”.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2015

Cost: £531,135
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Policy Studies Institute
Adapting to Climate Change              
Behaviour change              
Decision Making              
Sustainable Development