Published on Apr 11, 2018

Frank Biermann, chair of the Earth System Governance Project and Professor of Global Sustainability Governance at Utrecht University’s Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant to conduct research on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The ERC Advanced Grant, worth 2.5 million EUR, is the European Research Council’s highest personal grant and awarded annually to senior researchers whose groundbreaking work opens up new directions in their field.

Biermann’s new project team will analyse whether goal-setting, as a new central approach in global governance, can help resolve the pressing challenges of economic development, poverty eradication, social justice and global environmental protection. While the United Nations and its member states place high hopes on this novel strategy, there is little scientific knowledge on whether such global goals can live up to exceedingly high expectations. The 5-year study programme will deploy a unique set of cutting-edge methodologies, including social network analysis and online surveys, to assess and explain the steering effects of nine Sustainable Development Goals through a detailed investigation of their institutional arrangements and actor networks, at international and national levels. It will make a crucial knowledge contribution to both the theory of global sustainability governance and the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.