Challenges of science-society interactions in the frame of sustainable development: A case-study of contemporary Bulgaria

Aneliya Paneva


Effectively tackling problems of sustainable development such as climate change, poverty, and biodiversity loss requires a different perspective on the role of science in society. Building on the understanding that knowledge production processes shall go hand in hand with governance processes, sustainability science and ecological economics promote transdisciplinarity and participatory procedures as a key requirement for scientific work on nature-society interactions. Involving non-academic actors such as local lay persons, civil society representatives, businesses, and decision makers in the research process promises the discovery of practical solutions to related problems and empowerment of communities. While this novel research approach has been increasingly applied in Western societies, its adoption by scientific actors in the context of Central and Eastern Europe, however, remains relatively low. Employing Bulgaria as a case study, this investigation examined the inter-actions between academia and practice through a series of expert interviews and a review of policy documents, thus offering insights into the specific conditions of implementing science for sustainable development. It emerges that knowledge transfer and experience exchange in the field are needed. Promoting social learning in this domain requires clarification of the roles of actors and institutions for sustainable development. Finally, recommendations for science related policies and scientific work are given.


sustainable development, scientific knowledge production, transdisciplinarity, social learning, Central and Eastern Europe, Bulgaria

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.