Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Workshop in Sustainable Development 2020

Welcome to IPWSD 2020!  We are excited to bring you the 11th annual Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Workshop in Sustainable Development. You can find the schedule for the workshop here.

Dates/Location:  April 3-4, 2020. Latest schedule here.

Application Deadline for Presentations: [applications for IPWSD 2020 are now closed].

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

Contact Email:  [email protected]



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 eleventh annual Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Workshop in Sustainable Development (IPWSD); scheduled for April 3–4, 2020, 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, 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:

  • Natural Resources (energy, water, agriculture, etc.);
  • Climate Change Impacts and Policies;
  • Pollution;
  • Public Health;
  • Institutions and Global Governance;
  • Poverty and Development, Inequalities;
  • Innovations and Technology;
  • Growth and Macroeconomics;
  • New Methods in Sustainable Development;
  • Man/Nature Interactions, Human Ecology;
  • Urban Studies;
  • Environmental Justice/Sociology.

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, sociology 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 Prof. Scott Barrett, Vice Dean, School of International and Public Affairs and Lenfest-Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics.

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 (maximum one page), ideally describing the research methodology and reporting preliminary results, to [email protected]. 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 March 2020.

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 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 [email protected].

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

The Eleventh IPWSD Planning Committee.





We would like to sincerely thank our sponsors for this event: Center for Sustainable Development, the Earth Institute at Columbia University and the SIPA Student Association.