The Sustainability and Education Policy Network (SEPN) is an internationally recognized leader in sustainability and climate change education policy research.
Climate change, new environmental technologies, and energy and water sustainability are cultural and political challenges, not just technical issues. Solving our human-environment challenges requires integrated solutions that require citizens to be informed about environmental issues and motivated to make change.
Given mounting public support for mitigating the effects of climate change, education sectors in nations throughout the world will be increasingly expected to align policy to address sustainability challenges. However, little is known about how education systems are – and could be – influencing sustainability and climate action. Existing research on sustainability policy and practice in education is scarce, uncoordinated, and regional.
The Sustainability Education and Policy Network (SEPN), an international network of researchers and organizations advancing sustainability in education policy and practice, emerged in response to these knowledge gaps. SEPN is hosted at the Sustainability Education Research Institute (SERI), located at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, and was established with $3 million in funding from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), as well as through generous funding from our partner organizations.
In 2012, SEPN began the world’s first large-scale, national-level research collaboration by collecting and analyzing comparable data across Canada’s formal education system. Our flagship project, SEPN-Canada, examined and compared the range of sustainability policies and practices being developed, implemented, and experienced in Canadian primary, secondary, and post-secondary education contexts. Since then, SEPN has expanded its research internationally.
SEPN’s partnership model focuses on research-informed policy making, providing researchers and policy makers with a framework for increased collaboration on policy research and sustainability development in education in order to maximize the potential for impact.
Vision & Impact
Integrated partnerships between researchers, organizations, and policy partners form the basis of the SEPN vision. As a global consortium of researchers and policy actors, SEPN is undertaking policy research in international, national, and regional education systems to provide rigorous, comparative evidenced-based understandings of policy, and enable deeper responses to sustainability. SEPN’s vision is to:
- Maximize the two-way flow of knowledge between researchers and non-academic partners
- Develop rigorous comparative, evidenced-based understandings of sustainability in education policy internationally, nationally, and regionally
- Mobilize research-based evidence to diverse stakeholders and decision-makers
- Focus on people and relationships, with integrated partnerships among researchers, organizations, and policy partners
- Share a dual focus on contributing to research literature in a range of disciplinary fields and having an applied impact on policy and practice throughout education systems