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Transforming knowledge systems for life on earth: visions of future systems and how to get there.

Fazey, Ioan; Sch�pke, Niko; Caniglia, Guido; Fremantle, Chris


Ioan Fazey

Niko Sch�pke

Guido Caniglia


Formalised knowledge systems, including universities and research institutes, are important for contemporary societies. They are, however, also arguably failing humanity when their impact is measured against the level of progress being made in stimulating the societal changes needed to address challenges like climate change. In this research we used a novel futures-oriented and participatory approach that asked what future envisioned knowledge systems might need to look like and how we might get there. Findings suggest that envisioned future systems will need to be much more collaborative, open, diverse, egalitarian, and able to work with values and systemic issues. They will also need to go beyond producing knowledge about our world to generating wisdom about how to act within it. To get to envisioned systems we will need to rapidly scale methodological innovations, connect innovators, and creatively accelerate learning about working with intractable challenges. We will also need to create new funding schemes, a global knowledge commons, and challenge deeply held assumptions. To genuinely be a creative force in supporting longevity of human and non-human life on our planet, the shift in knowledge systems will probably need to be at the scale of the enlightenment and speed of the scientific and technological revolution accompanying the second World War. This will require bold and strategic action from governments, scientists, civic society and sustained transformational intent.


FAZEY, I., SCHÄPKE, N., CANIGLIA, G., 2020. Transforming knowledge systems for life on earth: visions of future systems and how to get there. Energy research and social science [online], 70, article ID 101724. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 25, 2020
Online Publication Date Sep 25, 2020
Publication Date Dec 31, 2020
Deposit Date Sep 28, 2020
Publicly Available Date May 4, 2021
Journal Energy research and social science
Print ISSN 2214-6296
Electronic ISSN 2214-6296
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 70
Article Number 101724
Keywords Sustainability science; Epistemology; Transformation; Social-technical transitions; Knowledge; Climate and energy research
Public URL
Additional Information For full details of all 184 authors, please refer to the accompanying file or the publisher's website:


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