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    An overview of research trends on sustainability in higher education – an exploratory study

    Leal, Walter ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1241-5225, Frankenberger, Fernanda, Salvia, Amanda, Shiel, Chris, Paço, Arminda, Price, Elizabeth ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5723-7856, Londero Brandli, Luciana, Simon Rampasso, Izabela, Anholon, Rosley, Gonçalves Quelhas, Osvaldo Luiz and Wessel Pretorius, Rudi (2023) An overview of research trends on sustainability in higher education – an exploratory study. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 24 (5). pp. 1161-1175. ISSN 1467-6370

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    Purpose: This study aims to investigate the main areas in which researchers are focusing their efforts in terms of sustainability in higher education (curriculum, campus greening, research, governance, or outreach), the format in which this research is performed (in terms of individual or combined efforts) and the primary research focus (in terms of local or global issues). Design/methodology/approach: Trends on sustainability research were investigated by means of an online survey - the World Survey on Sustainability Publishing and Research in Higher Education (WSSSP-HEI), which was disseminated among members of the European School of Sustainability Science and Research (ESSSR) and the Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Programme (IUSDRP). Findings: The survey collected responses from 103 researchers across over 40 countries. Three trends emerged: despite the intrinsic value of sustainability research in higher education, this area is not as mature as one could expect; the range of themes covered is wide and address a variety of areas; and individuals working alone is the most common means of doing research, whereas research at the university, department and faculty level, appears to be less common. Originality: The paper outlines some measures via which higher education institutions may be able to take more advantage of the many opportunities sustainability research offers to them.

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