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Who are we?

We are a dynamic, international research centre with broad expertise within social and environmental sustainability. We use an interdisciplinary approach to understand local and global challenges and how they can be solved.

Photo from SUMs offices

Photo: UiO/Jarli & Jordan

At the Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM), we have research expertise in a number of fields, such as development policy, global health, global governance and international policy, rural change, energy justice and sustainable consumption. Our researchers work both nationally and internationally and have regional knowledge of Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

SUM was established in 1990 as a response to the Brundtland Report, “Our common future”. Today, SUM is one of the few institutions in Scandinavia advancing interdisciplinary research on development and the environment, primarily by combining different social science and humanities disciplines.

Studies and research training

SUM’s doctoral research fellows are admitted to doctoral degree programmes at most faculties at the University of Oslo (UiO), and are included in our research groups and in SUM’s research school. The research school facilitates active career planning for our younger researchers, both doctoral and postdoctoral. Through the research school, we also offer informal events and doctoral courses that are open to external research fellows.

SUM offers individual courses at master’s level and the MA programme Development, Environment and Cultural Change, which is one of the most popular English-language programmes at UiO.

A research-intensive centre

The Centre consists of around 40 academic staff, in addition to PhD candidates, postdoctorates and administrative staff. Around 40 students are enrolled onto SUM’s master’s programme.

As a research-intensive centre, SUM has many active research groups and ongoing research projects. SUM’s researchers are involved in a number of prestigious international projects funded by the Norwegian Research Council, the European Research Council, the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

SUM is the host institution for a number of initiatives: Include – Research centre for socially inclusive energy transitions, the Political Determinants of Health Collective and the Oslo SDG Initiative. SUM is also the coordinator of the Network for Asian studies.

SUM was the academic home of the founder of deep ecology, Professor Arne Næss, and arranges the annual “Arne Næss Symposium”, linked to the Arne Næss Programme.

Published Oct. 16, 2015 2:28 PM - Last modified May 19, 2021 1:31 PM