The Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) is a vibrant international research institution at the University of Oslo which promotes scholarly work on the challenges and dilemmas posed by sustainable development.
SUM’s current research is anchored in five thematic research areas:
- Poverty and Development
- Energy and Consumption
- Culture, Ethics and Sustainability
- Global Governance for Sustainable Development
- Global Health Politics and Culture
Within these broadly defined areas, SUM promotes research on a range of topics. The main geographical focus of the research is Latin America, Southern and Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
SUM is presently engaged in several prestigious international projects - financed by the Norwegian and the European Research Councils, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NORAD.
SUM is the host institution of The Oslo Academy of Global Governance and The Independent Panel on Global Governance for Health.
SUM was also the academic home of the founder of Deep Ecology, professor Arne Næss, and is the organizer of the annual event 'Arne Næss Symposium' linked to the Arne Naess Chair.
SUM has an extensive network of national and international research partners, and works in close co-operation with researchers in the South. It is the coordinating unit for the following networks:
Although SUM is primarily a research institution, it offers courses at MA and PhD levels, as well as an International Master in Development, Environment and Cultural Change. The Centre has the status of Research School which specializes in educating scholars interested in interdisciplinary perspectives on development and the environment.
The Centre was established in 1990 in response to the report of the Brundtland Commission: "Our Common Future". SUM is currently one of the few institutions in Scandinavia advancing interdisciplinary research on development and the environment, combining insights from the social sciences, natural sciences and humanities. Sidsel Roalkvam is the Director of SUM.