Research at CSTM, in its core, focuses on sustainable development, specifically with respect to protecting and improving the quality and proper use of the bio-physical environment, as condition for sustaining (a good) life. The academic community, governments, businesses, and broader society recognise the importance of sustainable development for the future health and welfare of the planet and its inhabitants. To deal with the challenges of sustainable development, past research has often focused on separate approaches towards business responsibilities and initiatives, government policies, instruments and implementation networks, cultural and value orientations, and technological inventions and advances. But if the scientific study into dealing with the challenge of sustainability since the early 1990s has made anything clear, it is that all these changes are in need of each other. The unavoidable challenge of sustainable development can only be addressed by the productive co-evolution of different approaches.
CSTM conducts research upon the governance, institutional and managerial dynamics of appraisal and improvement of the ecological, social and technical resources in society, their interplay and co-evolution. Within this complexity, our research programme 'Innovation and Governance for Sustainable Development' is structured by four core themes, in which three disciplinary lenses are applied. These four core themes are: 1) Energy transition, 2) Water and climate, 3) Sustainable production and consumption, and 4) Regional sustainable development. The themes are closely related to different Sustainable Development Goals, with significant interplay between each other. CSTM’s trans- and interdisciplinary research is shaped by three disciplinary lenses: 1) Policy studies & transition, 2) Law & regulation, and 3) Geographic economics.