The United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) is a leading research and teaching institute based in Tokyo, Japan. Its mission is to advance efforts towards a more sustainable future, through policy-oriented research and capacity development focused on sustainability and its social, economic and environmental dimensions. UNU-IAS serves the international community through innovative contributions to high-level policymaking and debates, addressing priority issues for the UN system.
The activities of the institute are in three thematic areas: sustainable societies, natural capital and biodiversity, and global change and resilience. UNU-IAS applies advanced research methodologies and innovative approaches to challenge conventional thinking and develop creative solutions to emerging issues of global concern in these areas. The institute’s research, education and training combine expertise from a wide range of areas related to sustainability, and engage a global network of scholars and partner institutions.
Through postgraduate teaching UNU-IAS develops international leaders with the interdisciplinary understanding and technical skills needed to advance creative solutions to problems of sustainability. The institute offers master’s and doctoral degrees, postdoctoral fellowships and innovative short courses, in close collaboration with leading universities in Japan and other countries.
Reflecting the unique mission and identity of UNU-IAS, their approach to their work has four distinctive characteristics:
UNU-IAS research, education and training are directed towards issues of high policy relevance for the United Nations and its member states. As part of UNU, the institute is uniquely placed to engage with UN organizations and agendas while bringing the advantages of an academic institution built on the principles of academic freedom and autonomy. UNU-IAS combines its in-house expertise with a global network of scholars, developing a growing portfolio of knowledge products driven by the needs of policymakers. The institute also works closely with governments and other partners to translate UN agreements into national and local initiatives.
Advanced and Innovative
UNU-IAS applies advanced research methodologies and innovative approaches to challenge conventional thinking and develop creative solutions to emerging issues of global concern. Their research is advanced in that it looks ahead to the future to identify strategic areas of research related to sustainability, particularly for governments and policymakers in developing countries. By engaging its technical expertise and analytical capacity, UNU-IAS can assist UN organizations in learning from their past projects and initiatives, helping to improve the design and delivery of future activities.
Collaborative partnerships are a critical foundation and distinguishing feature of all UNU-IAS work. The institute bridges the UN system and policymakers with the academic community and civil society, while serving as an important link between scholars in Japan and other countries. Their global network of scholars and partner institutions brings diverse expertise to research projects, while our students benefit from access to leading scholars and practitioners, as well as opportunities for field experience. This far-reaching community of partner institutions provides a strong platform for research and teaching that bridge the developing and developed worlds.
UNU-IAS focuses on real-world problems as topics of analysis and learning rather than traditional academic disciplines, recognizing that pressing issues of sustainability are complex and interdisciplinary. The institute combines expertise from a wide range of areas related to sustainability, engaging experts from the natural, social and life sciences. Their research applies this diverse expertise to address common problems, while their teaching directly fosters interdisciplinary understanding and skills among the next generation of international leaders.
Where is United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)