Welcome to IPWSD 2016!  We are excited to bring you the 6th annual Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Workshop in Sustainable Development.  Feel free to explore this site for more details or visit last year’s site for a glimpse of what is to come!

Application Deadline for Presentations: January 18, 2016, please register here.

Hosted by: Columbia University’s Sustainable Development Doctoral Society.

Dates/Location:  April 22-23, 2016;  Columbia University,  New York  City.

Contact Email:  cu.sdds.ipwsd@gmail.com




The sustainability of development presents some of the most important policy challenges concerning the future of our planet. None of these central issues can be understood from the sole perspective of a traditional discipline,  whether in the social,  natural,  engineering or health sciences.  After the great success of the inaugural workshop in 2011,  Columbia University’s Sustainable Development Doctoral Society is convening the fifth annual Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Workshop in Sustainable Development (IPWSD);  scheduled for April 22–23, 2016,  at Columbia University in New York City.

The IPWSD is a workshop open to students working on or interested in issues relating to sustainable development. It is intended to provide a forum to present and discuss research in an informal setting,  as well as to meet and interact with similar researchers from other institutions.  In particular,  we hope to facilitate a network among students pursuing in-depth research in one or several disciplines,  whether quantitative or qualitative in focus, to generate a larger interdisciplinary discussion concerning sustainable development. Workshop attendees can present current research they are working on, serve as discussants, or attend the workshop without presenting or serving as a discussant.

We encourage contributions on a wide range of subjects,  but particularly in the areas of:

  • Poverty and Development;
  • Climate and the Environment;
  • Natural Resources and Agriculture;
  • Coupled Systems and Human Ecology;
  • Energy Systems;
  • Urbanization and Inequality;
  • Public Health and Education;
  • Water Resources;
  • Institutions, Path Dependence, and Global Governance.

The intention is to assemble a group of researchers across a range of disciplines in the social and natural sciences,  whose research contributes to a deeper understanding of the interactions between natural and social systems within their particular field(s),  but who are capable of discussing this work with a broader audience of peers.

It is anticipated that disciplines represented at the workshop will include:  economics,  earth and environmental sciences,  political science,  engineering,  ecology,  epidemiology,  geography,  law,  and others. If your research pertains to the field of sustainable development and the linkages between natural and social systems,  we encourage you to apply regardless of disciplinary background.  The workshop will also feature introductory remarks by distinguished professors such as Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute, Columbia University.

If you wish to attend or present, you will be required to register online. Participants may present a paper, or just register as attendees. If you are interested in presenting, remember to submit an abstract (no more than 2 pages long), ideally describing the research methodology and reporting preliminary results, to cu.sdds.ipwsd@gmail.com.  If you would like to be considered for a longer presentation slot for a job market-style talk, please send your complete (even if still preliminary) paper.  All applicants will be notified of the final decision regarding their application by early February 2016.

Students in the dissertation stage of their Ph.D. will be given priority for presentation slots, though non-Ph.D. students (e.g. post-docs) are also welcome to apply.  We will try to provide an opportunity to present for as many applicants as possible.  Workshop participants are expected to cover their travel and lodging expenses,  but there is no fee for participating in the event and light breakfast & lunches will be provided.

Additional details, including instructions for presenters,  related events,  a social program,  options for accommodation,  NYC transit directions, and other information can be found via the links at the top of this page.  These links will be updated frequently, so please check back often!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the planning committee at cu.sdds.ipwsd@gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing you in New York this spring!

The Sixth IPWSD Planning Committee.

The Sustainable Development Doctoral Society is the official organization of the students in the Ph.D. Program in Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

We would like to sincerely thank our sponsors for this event: the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Graduate Student Advisory Council.

SDSN Earth-Institute-logo