An Impact-Oriented Research Network

Beyond the Academy is an international network of sustainability researchers committed to making universities more supportive of applied interdisciplinary research with real-world impact. We convene workshops to share stories, resources, and ideas with the aim of spreading successful models across institutions. In particular, we identify institutional barriers and solutions on the following themes:

Reforming academic incentive structures​

Encouraging public engagement and co-production of science

Preparing graduate students to be sustainability leaders ​

Metrics like publication count often do not sufficiently encapsulate the accomplishments of academic researchers, especially those who do engaged work. Science uses a suite of quantitative and qualitative methods to assess impact, so why are traditional methods for assessing research impact so one-dimensional? Learn more

Engaged research is needed to tackle urgent societal challenges, yet institutional barriers often hinder these efforts. While universities have invested in institutes, graduate programs, and other cross-cutting mechanisms to support engaged sustainability science and policy, many remain uncoordinated experiments with limited contribution to systemic change and limited long term institutional support. Learn more

Graduate school is always challenging, but more so for students who want to do applied, nontraditional work within traditional disciplinary departments. Even graduate students within interdisciplinary degree programs face hurdles because faculty may not understand what skills are needed and may impose antiquated requirements because that is all they know. Learn more