Strengthening the social sciences to help solve global priority problems

ISSC Newsletter 2


World Social Science Fellows Seminar, London

We are seeking 20 talented early career social scientists to attend a week-long seminar – Global Social Governance: Developing International Social Science Research and Impacting the Policy Process – at the London School of Economics, in London, 28 July-3 August 2014. Participants will develop and deepen interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspectives which they can then put into practice in subsequent research and teaching activities and future careers. 

This is a unique opportunity to explore global social governance issues with leading thinkers, policymakers, practitioners, activists and other stakeholders, as well as peers from around the world. The call for applications ends on 2 March 2014, so don’t miss out! See Fellows Seminar, London for more details on the selection process. If you have any questions please email  

New! Transformations to Sustainability programme

The ISSC is proud to announce it has reached an agreement of support with the Swedish International Development Agency. This will enable us to launch a new funding programme, Transformations to Sustainability - a concrete outcome of the World Social Science Report 2013. The new programme will be launched within the next few weeks. This is a great opportunity for the social sciences and we will keep you updated on its development and progress. Watch this space!


World Social Science Report

On Valentine’s Day and despite heavy snow in New York, ISSC Executive Director Heide Hackmann presented the World Social Science Report at the latest session of the UN Commission for Social Development, at a panel discussion entitled ‘Emerging issues: the social drivers of sustainable development’. Focusing on transformative policymaking, it was a huge success with lots of interest from the UN in the report. You can listen to the webcast of Heide’s presentation (starting 1:11) or read it here. We have also presented the report at numerous events in South Africa, Ghana, Brazil (World Science Forum in Rio), Sweden and the USA and with further presentations planned in Norway, Japan, and Sao Paolo, Brazil for which we are discussing the possibility of translating the summary into Portuguese - we will keep you updated on this. The summary is already available in Spanish and French. Please get in touch if you would like a print copy of the main report or summary or view report and summaries online

New! World Social Science Blog

Have you seen the new ISSC Blog? Launched a couple of weeks ago, it is for ISSC members and partners, social scientists and colleagues, policymakers, funders, government agencies – indeed everyone interested in advancing the social sciences, in how they can contribute to social transformation and positive change. We would like the blog to become a platform to debate and share opinions, best practices and innovative ideas. For example, does social science need to change? Does it need to become bolder, better, or bigger in the way the World Social Science Report 2013 demands? As Susi Moser says in her contribution to the blog: ‘we must radically re-envision and reframe the challenge before us and help generate the knowledge needed to meet it … now is not the time to stay on the side lines’. Do you agree with this clarion call to the social sciences? Write for the ISSC blog and let us know! 

World Social Science Forum

It may seem a long way off but why not sign up for updates on the 2015 World Social Science Forum which will take place in Durban, South Africa 13-16 September? Run in partnership with the ISSC, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, the Human Sciences Research Council and other African partners, the 2015 Forum will bring together academics and others interested in how social sciences can contribute to and address future global problems and priorities. Sign up for updates on the 2015 Forum website

Ethnografilm Festival April 2014 

The first ever ethnographic film festival takes place at the Ciné 13 Théâtre in Paris 17-20 April. Co-sponsored by the ISSC and the Society for Social Studies of Science, the festival will screen documentary and academic films from all over the world. It will celebrate the art and science of non-fiction filmmaking, promote video ethnography and encourage dialogue between independent and academic documentary filmmakers.
Launched in Canada by legendary documentary film director Alanis Obomsawin, the festival is divided into four categories: Academic Feature, Documentary Feature, Academic Short, Documentary Short. Over 300 submissions were received and the selections made in January 2014. The festival will screen over 30 hours of films over Easter. Don’t miss this festival in Montmartre, one of the best loved areas of Paris. Ciné 13 Theatre is well known for its cosy, comfortable seats, and vibrant atmosphere. There is also a small bar. What better way to spend a spring weekend in Paris! More details at  


Diary dates

Many ISSC members are holding international conferences and world congresses this year – below are links to their websites in case you are interested in attending.
  • International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Japan 15-18 May IUAES Japan
  • The International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, Canada, 22-26 May ICASS Canada
  • International Economic Association, Jordan, 6-10 June 2014 IEA Jordan
  • International Institute of Administrative Sciences, Morocco, 13-17 June IIAS Morocco
  • International Political Science Association, Canada, 19-24 July IPSA Montreal
  • International Sociology Association, Japan 13-19 July ISA Japan
  • International Society for Ecological Economics, Iceland, 13-15 August ISEE Iceland
  • Society for Social Studies of Science, Argentina 20-23 August 4S Argentina
  • World Association for Public Opinion Research, France, 4-6 September WAPOR France

Wanted! Future Earth engagement committee

Future Earth is seeking applications for its Engagement Committee, a strategic advisory group that will foster in-depth and innovative interactions between science and society. Working closely with the Future Earth Science Committee and the Secretariat, it will advise the Governing Council on research priorities for the programme, help identify key stakeholders at the global, regional and national levels, advise on how best to engage them in Future Earth, and provide leadership and creative thinking on how to bridge the gap between knowledge and solutions for sustainable development. Fill in the application form by 14 March 2014.

Welcome to the Transnational Institute

The ISSC warmly welcomes the Transnational Institute as a new ISSC member. The TNI has been at the forefront of research and communications on the critical global issues of our time for over 40 years. Given the convergence of crises – economic recession, global warming, energy wars, food crises – TNI’s work is more relevant than ever. The TNI carries out informed but radical analysis of critical global issues, builds alliances with social movements, and develops proposals for a more sustainable, just and democratic world. See TNI website for more information. 


CROP update


CROP, the Comparative Research Programme on Povery, is co-sponsored by the ISSC and hosted by the University of Bergen, Norway. In mid-february 2014, it organised an International Workshop, ‘Child Poverty, Public Policies and Democracy’ in Mexico to explore children’s rights and democracy, good practices in eradicating child poverty and children's participation and citizenship amongst other topics. Seventeen papers presented at the workshop will be co-published in English by CROP with Zed Books, London and in Spanish by CROP and FLACSO. See child poverty workshop for more information.
PoLAMe is a new three-year project on poverty, language and media in Latin America, funded by the Norwegian Research Council. The result of collaboration between the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Bergen and CROP, it will study the linguistic representations of poverty in Mexican, Argentinian, Colombian and Brazilian media. See PoLAMe  for more information.
CROP’s second workshop on sustainability science took place in January 2014. It aimed to consolidate and expand a network based on previous international cooperation within the framework of the Worldwide University Network on Sustainability Science and Human Development. Academics from Norway, Canada, Brazil, Nigeria, Australia, Argentina and Kazakhstan presented their research on how transdiciplinarity and participatory social science research methods provide new ways to address sustainability. See sustainability science workshop for further information.
CROP dates for the calendar
  • 14-17 January: Panel and Working Group Meeting, ‘Childhood, Poverty, Inequality and Public Policies’; First Latin American Congress on Childhood and Public Policies. Santiago, Chile
  • 16-17 January: Workshop, ‘Poverty Language and Media in Latin America’, Federal University for Latin American Integration, Brazil
  • 28-29 January: Workshop, ‘Development and Sustainability Science: Exploratory Meeting’, Bergen, Norway
  • 19-21 February:Equity for Children Working Group’ workshop on child poverty, public policy and democracy, Mexico City
  • 23 May: Panel, ‘Social Reform and Segmented Incorporation in Latin America: Dead End or Transit to Social Equality?’, Track on Politics and Public Policy, 2014 LASA Congress. Chicago, USA
  • 30 June-1 July: Scientific Committee meeting and workshop, Bergen, Norway
Meet Orla Martin
This is the first of a regular 'get-to-know-the-secretariat' feature introducing you to ISSC staff. Sadly, however, Orla is leaving the ISSC for the possibly brighter lights of London. So this is a fond farewell to a great colleague and friend. Orla has been at the ISSC for over three years, starting as an intern in late 2010. Over the years she has played an invaluable role as Policy Officer, Global Environmental Change, working on several ISSC projects including the Climate Change Design Project and the World Social Science Report 2013. Most recently she has played a key role in helping set up the ISSC’s latest activity, the four -year Sida-funded Transformations to Sustainability programme.
Orla has a first degree in Social Science from University College Cork and an MA in Environment, Development and Policy from the University of Sussex. Her main interests are sustainability – food production and bottom-up, community-driven initiatives, such as the Transition Town Network – in particular. Indeed she has already started a vegetable garden back in London. In Paris she cycled all over the city, exploring French food and wine and eating in different restaurants, café, bistros and wine bars. As Heide says, Orla has been a valued member of the ISSC Secretariat and will be missed by all. We wish her very good luck for her new life in London and keep in touch!
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