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On this page you find news and updates from across our work programme. Our research themes are drawn together through collaboration and cross-cutting projects, such as An Economy That Works, Investing In the Future, and our work as secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Limits to Growth. For a full list of publications, please see our Publications page.

Young lives in seven cities | CYCLES project launch, 19 Sept 2017
How do young people see the world? What are their hopes and aspirations for the future? What does the ‘good life’ mean for them in an age of environmental and social limits? These are some of the questions that motivate the CYCLES project which we are delighted to launch. This event marks the launch of the project and the publication of the study’s first background city report.
At the interface | Prof Fergus Lyon presenting CUSP research at #AOM2017
A growing number of businesses is interested in contributing to positive social and environmental change, yet face challenges in how they can assess their impacts meaningfully. This issue will be explored at the 77th Meeting of the Academy of Management in Atlanta, USA, with Fergus Lyon sharing CUSP research.
What makes for a good life in Stoke-On-Trent? | A Workshop Report
This report presents a summary of a workshop we held in Stoke-on-Trent in May of this year. The emphasis in the workshop was to encourage discussions around identifying existing assets within the city, and to consider what would make Stoke-on-Trent a better place to live.
Social enterprise for sustainable societies | 6th EMES conference w Fergus Lyon
CUSP Deputy Director Fergus Lyon will be introducing our research on the role of social enterprise in meeting the challenges of sustainable prosperity at the 6th EMES conference. His upcoming paper explores a set of key economic concepts that are challenged by social enterprise in practice, and sets out a topical research agenda that addresses a richer articulation of prosperity.
The challenge of stuff | Sue Venn presenting CUSP paper at #BSG17
Excessive focus on acquiring material goods is not only environmentally damaging but also associated with lower individual wellbeing. In this paper we focus on the transition to retirement as a period when people may reflect on the possessions they have, those they want to acquire and those they want to dispose of.
More fun with less stuff? CUSP researcher Amy Isham is putting ‘Flow’ to the test
CUSP researcher Amy Isham to present CUSP paper at 4th Annual BrEPS Conference, introducing her research into 'flow' activities as an environmentally friendly route to enhanced well-being.
Learning to Thrive | Innovation Unit event with Tim Jackson, London 28 June
What does it really mean to thrive in today’s world, and what are the key ingredients of a good society that works for everyone? Tim Jackson discussing solutions at evening event co-hosted by Innovation Unit, Webb Memorial Trust and Compass.
Ecological Economics in action | CUSP paper presentations at ESEE 2017 Conference Budapest
CUSP researches Agni Dikaiou, Sarah Hafner, Simon Mair and Craig Rye to give paper presentations at the 2017 Annual Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics, introducing their CUSP projects to the international ESEE community.
Prosperity without Growth – Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow | By Tim Jackson
The publication of Prosperity without Growth was a landmark in the sustainability debate. This substantially revised and re-written edition updates its arguments and considerably expands upon them. Tim Jackson demonstrates that building a ‘post-growth’ economy is not Utopia - it's a precise, definable and meaningful task. It’s about taking simple steps towards an economics fit for purpose.
Conservation and the real world | Earth Optimism Summit with Tim Jackson
On 22 April 2017, the Cambridge Conservation Initiative of the UK is partnering with the Smithsonian in hosting an Earth Optimism event in Cambridge. CUSP Director Tim Jackson will be joining a panel with Jane Goodall, Sebastian Pole and David Amaning Kwarteng. Other speakers of the day include Fiona Reynolds, Steven Pinker and David Attenborough.
The political nature of sustainable prosperity | Panel session w Joan Walley and Fanny Broholm
Video now available +++ How can we build a political consensus for sustainability that is inclusive and fair? How do research and practice move beyond the divisive nature of ‘post-truth’ populism? As part of the 2017 Nexus conference, CUSP was hosting a breakout session with Kate Burningham, Fanny Broholm, Phil Catney, Will Davies and Joan Walley.
Seriously Modelling what Matters | UKSD 2017 Annual Conference with Aled Jones
This is the 60th anniversary of the founding of System Dynamics by Jay Forrester, who died in November 2016, leaving behind a unique and precious legacy. This conference in his honour covers contemporary examples of the classic themes he first developed.
Recovering the Social | BSA Annual Conference 2017 with Kate Burningham and Sue Venn
In the light of a rising culture of hyper-individualism and denigration of the role of the social, the broad theme of the conference will consider how research might explore and challenge misrepresentations of the relationship between the personal and the public realm.
Inclusive and Sustainable Economies Powering the SDGs | Tim Jackson at international PAGE conference, Berlin
CUSP Director Prof Tim Jackson is joining the opening panel of the 2nd international ministerial conference of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), 26 March 2017, Berlin.
A Future Generations Commissioner for the UK | Evening debate with Peter Davies and Sándor Fülöp, 11 April
This event explored the potential to establish a UK-wide Commissioner for Future Generations. We heard from two speakers who have intimate knowledge of the work of Commissioners and Ombudsman around the world: Peter Davies and Sándor Fülöp. Provocations were then offered by Andrea Westall and Victor Anderson.
National Infrastructure Assessment | Evidence Submission
In October 2016, the National Infrastructure Commission has launched a 15 week call for evidence to provide input into the development of its National Infrastructure Assessment. The Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity responded.
A Cultural Account of Ecological Democracy | Marit Hammond presenting paper at major international workshop
CUSP co-investigator Marit Hammond to present her paper The Centrality of Culture in Ecological Democracy at a major international Democracy workshop, 20 February 2017. The workshop will contribute to the work of the Task Force on the Conceptual Foundations of Earth System Governance, coordinated by the Earth System Governance Project.
Connecting Societies and Cultures | Discoveries on your Doorstep evening with Kate Burningham
CUSP Deputy Director Kate Burningham will give a presentation at the second event in Surrey's Discoveries on your Doorstep series, with the theme this time on Connecting Societies and Cultures. Kate will draw on ongoing research which we are conducting in Stoke-on Trent.
Theatre, Performance and Employment | Keynote by Prof Kate Oakley
Co-Investigator Prof Kate Oakley to give a keynote presentation for the Theatre, Performance & Employment symposium to take place 23 – 24 February 2017 at Queen Mary University of London, bringing together scholars, artists, and activists from the theatre and performance industries.
Rethinking Capitalism | Joint lecture by Mariana Mazzucato and Michael Jacobs, 15 March 2017
In this joint lecture, Mariana Mazzucato and Michael Jacobs will seek to explain the causes of the current economic crisis, and suggest how we might escape it. Drawing on their new book, Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth they will show how today’s deep economic problems reflect the inadequacies of orthodox economic theory and the failure of economic policies informed by it.
Integrating Health and Environment | NCSE conference with Tim Jackson
CUSP Director Prof Tim Jackson has been invited to give a keynote presentation at the 17th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment in Washington, D.C.. The event is hosted by The National Council for Science and the Environments.
Moral Economies of the Future – The Utopian Impulse of Sustainable Prosperity | Working Paper No 5
The field of ‘moral economy’ explores the ways in which seemingly amoral economic institutions are normatively and politically instituted. However it has tended to neglect the question of how economic actors make commitments to the long-term future, of the sort that are implied by the idea of ‘sustainable prosperity’. Anthropocenic utopias are urgently required.
Combining film and field notes to explore spatial practices
This short film seeks to give insight into a particular spatial practice. The use of video and field notes taken as primary research, is set to raise questions around positionality, context, and geographical framing in how and why we measure and understand (time)spaces.
Social Science and Moral Economy | Evening lecture by Prof Andrew Sayer, 22nd Feb 2017
Using the example of political economy, Professor Andrew Sayer will talk about social science’s conflicted stances towards normativity, and how these derive from unsatisfactory treatments of culture-nature relations, and a false equation of objectivity with value-freedom.
Survey: Values and Everyday Experiences
Take part in our study to understand how people's values may impact upon their everyday experiences and feelings. The results will help inform research and interventions looking at how a change in values may allow for more positive experiences and improved well-being.
CUSP response | EAC report on Sustainability and HM Treasury
The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee report on the workings of the Treasury has been warmly welcomed by researchers at the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP).
Disruptive Innovation Festival 2016 | Tim Jackson in conversation with Ken Webster and Joss Blériot
Having explored in depth the topic of our industrialised societies’ relationship with materials, as well as the need for gradual decoupling between development and resource impact, Tim Jackson joins the Disruptive Innovation Festival, discussing the potential of the circular economy at scale.
On the use of instability indicators in exploring inter-decadal GDP variability | Working Paper No 4
This paper explores the use of instability indicators developed in statistical physics to analyse the stability of the GDP within national longitudinal datasets. From our early results it is suggested that they may provide invaluable insights into the inter-decadal dynamics of the macro-economy, providing potentially useful insights into (e.g.) the nature of the business cycle, secular stagnation and the restoring forces of the economy.
National Infrastructure Assessment: Methodology Consultation | Evidence Submission
On 26 May 2016, the National Infrastructure Commission published a consultation on the process and methodology for putting together the UK’s first National Infrastructure Assessment. CUSP responded.
The Political Culture of a Democratic Route towards Sustainable Prosperity | Seminar w/ Marit Hammond
Why would voters support policies that would leave them potentially materially worse off? In her presentation at Keele University, co-investigator Marit Hammond re-considers the link between democracy and sustainability from the angle of political culture.
Indicators for sustainable prosperity? Challenges and potentials for indicator use in political processes | Working Paper No 3
The use of quantified indicators for the implementation and measurement of social progress is a well-established policy tool. However, any form of ‘social progress’ is inherently contested and a meaningful application of indicators in such contexts poses numerous challenges. In this paper we explore how indicators might be used to research and implement sustainable prosperity.
SDG’s in the UK inquiry | Evidence Submission
In July 2016, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has launched an inquiry into domestic implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to which the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity responded.
Beyond Consumer Capitalism – Foundations for a Sustainable Prosperity | Working Paper No 2
This paper explores the ramifications of the combined crises now faced by the prevailing growth-based model of economics. In paying a particular attention to the nature of enterprise, the quality of work, the structure of investment and the role of money, the paper develops the conceptual basis for social innovation in each of these areas, and provides empirical examples of such innovations.
Spending time in a low carbon society | RSC event w/ Angela Druckman
Prof Angela Druckman to give a presentation on the embeddedness of carbon in UK lifestyles, at the The Royal Society of Chemistry, 13 October 2016, 6-8pm
Cultivating conversation for energy conservation | Seminar w/ Phil Catney
This talk examines the potential of locally-based interactive knowledge sharing networks – ‘Community Knowledge Networks’ (CKNs) – to enhance community capacity to engage in energy conservation.
Understanding Sustainable Prosperity – Towards a transdisciplinary research agenda | Working Paper No 1
Understanding sustainable prosperity is an essential but complex task. It implies an ongoing multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary research agenda. This working paper sets out the dimensions of this task. In doing so it also establishes the foundations for the research of the ESRC-funded Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP).
FutureLearn study programme: social enterprise in theory and practise
New global study programme with Prof Fergus Lyon and colleagues, introducing students into to the diverse world of social enterprise.
ESRC Festival of Social Science | w/ CUSP event in Guildford
A week-long celebration of the social sciences and social science research, taking place from 5-12 November across the UK, with free to attend events suitable for all ages and levels of interest.
Sustainability and the challenge of transdisciplinarity | Seminar w/ Fergus Lyon and Frances Harris
How can science, business, the public sector and civil society work together? This seminar will discuss findings from the joint think piece on knowledge co-production at the food, water, energy, and environment nexus.
Rethinking the Green Economy | Podium discussion w/ Tim Jackson
Tim Jackson joining discussion panel at "Inside the Green Economy" book launch, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, 19 September 2016