Principles for knowledge co-production in sustainability research

Research practice, funding agencies and global science organizations suggest that research aimed at addressing sustainability challenges is most effective when ‘co-produced’ by academics and non-academics. Co-production promises to address the complex nature of contemporary sustainability challenges better than more traditional scientific approaches. But definitions of knowledge co-production are diverse and often contradictory. We propose a set of four general principles that underlie high-quality knowledge co-production for sustainability research. Using these principles, we offer practical guidance on how to engage in meaningful co-productive practices, and how to evaluate their quality and success.
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  • Norström, Albert V
  • Cvitanovic, Christopher
  • Löf, Marie F
  • West, Simon
  • Wyborn, Carina
  • Balvanera, Patricia
  • Bednarek, Angela T
  • Bennett, Elena M
  • Biggs, Reinette
  • Bremond, Ariane de
  • Campbell, Bruce M
  • Canadell, Josep G
  • Carpenter, Stephen R
  • Folke, Carl
  • Fulton, Elizabeth A
  • Gaffney, Owen
  • Gelcich, Stefan
  • Jouffray, Jean-Baptiste
  • Leach, Melissa
  • Le Tissier, Martin
  • Martín-López, Berta
  • Louder, Elena
  • Loutre, Marie-France
  • Meadow, Alison M
  • Nagendra, Harini
  • Payne, Davnah
  • Peterson, Garry D
  • Reyers, Belinda
  • Scholes, Robert
  • Speranza, Chinwe Ifejika
  • Spierenburg, Marja
  • Stafford-Smith, Mark
  • Tengö, Maria
  • Hel, Sandra van der
  • Putten, Ingrid van
  • Österblom, Henrik


Norström AV, Cvitanovic C, Löf MF, West S, Wyborn C, Balvanera P, Bednarek AT, Bennett EM, Biggs R, de Bremond A, Campbell BM, Canadell JG, Carpenter SR, Folke C, Fulton EA, Gaffney O, Gelcich S, Jouffray J-B, Leach M, Le Tissier M, Martín-López B, Louder E, Loutre M-F, Meadow AM, Nagendra H, Payne D, Peterson GD, Reyers B, Scholes R, Speranza CI, Spierenburg M, Stafford-Smith M, Tengö M, van der Hel S, van Putten I, Österblom H. 2020. Principles for knowledge co-production in sustainability research. Nature Sustainability.