Research Topic

The Role of the Human Dimension in Promoting Education for Sustainable Development at the Regional Level

About this Research Topic

The aim of the Research Topic is to reflect on sustainability transitions on a regional level, the diverse actors and learning processes and how this impacts reaching a complex but common goal This collection strives to assess the role of education and reflect on its transformative impact on practices, policies and shared visions for the future– all of which highly depends on the actors’ potential to bring about necessary changes in their local/regional context. Current environmental, social, and economic processes may be reflected on a macro systemic level (such as that of technology or related economic conditions), but also from the perspective of local and regional actors.. Thus, at the crux of this Research Topic is the “human dimension” and how human action can be a vital prerequisite of change using critical thinking and exchanging ideas of the future.

By analyzing diverse actors, learning processes, and social relationships generated in networks of cooperation, innovation is stimulated thus driving forward necessary changes (at local/regional levels) fora sustainable. In this regard, our focus is on the roles of these actors (institutions, networks and individuals) and importance of social capital in transitional processes.. Attention is paid to the shared visions of these actors, and their activities performed within the local/regional context to achieve common goals. The important keyword here is innovation: in a safe social environment with supporting relationships, new creative solutions to reoccurring problems can arise. appear. Therefore, this collection provides an opportunity for articles that open new perspectives fuelled by creativity, and provide a space to pose fundamental questions.

Manuscripts reflecting the roles of actors (institutions, networks and individuals) in developing social capital, to achieve desired progress in regional/local contexts are welcome. Experiences from the Regional Centres of Expertise network that have been established across the globe, to support education for sustainable development at the regional level, may contribute substantially to the shared understanding of this theme. This network system has been established to serve as a model for transforming theoretically grounded knowledge of regional sustainable development into practice. (Recently, the global RCE network serves as an excellent example of how this model is applied worldwide in more than 175 RCEs – while still sharing its main principles and goals.

Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:
• Education as a driving force for sustainability transition on a regional level;
• Interactions between organizations, including collaboration, competition, and conflicts;
• Learning processes related to achieving practical goals for sustainability / SDGs;
• Actors and their roles in (social) learning processes on a regional level;
• Actor networks, coalitions, and other relationships that support learning for sustainability;
• Social capital as a catalyzer and target of sustainable development on a regional level and the role of education in building it;
• Educational concepts used for understanding regional issues – relevant for different educational levels, with special emphasis on lifelong learning;
• RCEs as a model for regionally based cooperation of diverse actors where education provides tools to support sustainable development

Accepted are review articles and manuscripts based on original research. Case studies are welcome if the authors analyze presented experiences (with a theoretical insight), and/or use a method that allows the generalization of conclusions and their exploitation in other contexts. However, opening new perspectives is valued here – authors are encouraged to think creatively, use scientific evidence along with art-based methods, ethical considerations and other approaches that are embedded in unique methodologies of sustainability science.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The aim of the Research Topic is to reflect on sustainability transitions on a regional level, the diverse actors and learning processes and how this impacts reaching a complex but common goal This collection strives to assess the role of education and reflect on its transformative impact on practices, policies and shared visions for the future– all of which highly depends on the actors’ potential to bring about necessary changes in their local/regional context. Current environmental, social, and economic processes may be reflected on a macro systemic level (such as that of technology or related economic conditions), but also from the perspective of local and regional actors.. Thus, at the crux of this Research Topic is the “human dimension” and how human action can be a vital prerequisite of change using critical thinking and exchanging ideas of the future.

By analyzing diverse actors, learning processes, and social relationships generated in networks of cooperation, innovation is stimulated thus driving forward necessary changes (at local/regional levels) fora sustainable. In this regard, our focus is on the roles of these actors (institutions, networks and individuals) and importance of social capital in transitional processes.. Attention is paid to the shared visions of these actors, and their activities performed within the local/regional context to achieve common goals. The important keyword here is innovation: in a safe social environment with supporting relationships, new creative solutions to reoccurring problems can arise. appear. Therefore, this collection provides an opportunity for articles that open new perspectives fuelled by creativity, and provide a space to pose fundamental questions.

Manuscripts reflecting the roles of actors (institutions, networks and individuals) in developing social capital, to achieve desired progress in regional/local contexts are welcome. Experiences from the Regional Centres of Expertise network that have been established across the globe, to support education for sustainable development at the regional level, may contribute substantially to the shared understanding of this theme. This network system has been established to serve as a model for transforming theoretically grounded knowledge of regional sustainable development into practice. (Recently, the global RCE network serves as an excellent example of how this model is applied worldwide in more than 175 RCEs – while still sharing its main principles and goals.

Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:
• Education as a driving force for sustainability transition on a regional level;
• Interactions between organizations, including collaboration, competition, and conflicts;
• Learning processes related to achieving practical goals for sustainability / SDGs;
• Actors and their roles in (social) learning processes on a regional level;
• Actor networks, coalitions, and other relationships that support learning for sustainability;
• Social capital as a catalyzer and target of sustainable development on a regional level and the role of education in building it;
• Educational concepts used for understanding regional issues – relevant for different educational levels, with special emphasis on lifelong learning;
• RCEs as a model for regionally based cooperation of diverse actors where education provides tools to support sustainable development

Accepted are review articles and manuscripts based on original research. Case studies are welcome if the authors analyze presented experiences (with a theoretical insight), and/or use a method that allows the generalization of conclusions and their exploitation in other contexts. However, opening new perspectives is valued here – authors are encouraged to think creatively, use scientific evidence along with art-based methods, ethical considerations and other approaches that are embedded in unique methodologies of sustainability science.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

20 December 2021 Abstract
30 April 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

20 December 2021 Abstract
30 April 2022 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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