JANUARY 24 - 28, 2022 (Virtual)

Call for Abstracts: August 1 - October 1
Abstract Decisions: October 10
Registration Opens: October 15

As the global community continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, issues of sustainability and development remain as critical to wellbeing as ever. Indeed, the experience of the pandemic only brings home how progress on such sustainability and development goals as ecosystem conservation, greater equality and justice, stronger institutions, and transformative actions are necessary to improve our common future. The Sustainability and Development Initiative at the University of Michigan is excited to announce a call for abstracts for the 3rd Sustainability and Development Conference. The SDC will be held virtually, January 24-28, 2022. The virtual gathering will capitalize on the enhanced ability to connect global colleagues and aims to revive, establish, and sustain knowledge production, sharing, and collaboration around sustainability and development.

In addition to parallel paper presentation sessions, the event will feature debate style plenary events, skill/tool-based workshops, journal editor roundtable conversations, a poster gallery, and opportunities for informal conversations and networking

While the conference will continue to explore the dominant themes of our fields, we welcome work that explicitly examines the challenges and opportunities brought to the fore by the pandemic. Click on each theme below for an expanded description. 

Contributions may focus on (but not limited to) rights of indigenous populations, harms and safeguards, threats to indigenous sovereignty, and processes and examples of positive outcomes through sustainability and development interventions and institutions.

Contributions may focus on effective and inclusive institutions, at state and civil society levels, to advance sustainable development. Submissions may also describe and critique cases of weak institutions (e.g. corrupt legal, financial, business systems) that prevent or limit poverty reduction.

Contributions may address advances towards accessible, quality education for all on a number of fronts, including but not limited to (1) the assessment of education systems and outcomes (2) the use of evidence on how people learn and how to best promote education innovation, and (3) political, social, and technical barriers to educational advances.

Submissions to this theme may explore the causes and consequence of inequality (e.g. gender, class, race), both within and among nations, as a barrier to sustainable development. Submissions that offer insights and propose solutions to inequality are especially encouraged.

Contributions may illustrate challenges to sustainable development in current and post-conflict areas (at any scale). Submissions that offer insights into promoting both peace and development along a number of axes (security, social, economic, and environmental) and that evaluate progress, whether in the short- or long-term, are encouraged.

Contributions may discuss climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, at local, regional, national, and international scales. Submissions that explore climate-friendly investments and technology that reduce carbon emissions and support economic development are encouraged.

Contributions should address the ways in which geography influences sustainable development. For example, (a) higher densities as cities grow; (b) shorter distances as workers and businesses migrate closer to density; and/or fewer divisions as nations lower their economic borders and enter world markets to take advantage of scale and trade in specialized products.

Contributions may explore the ways in which agriculture and sustainable food systems can ameliorate poverty and support development (e.g., through increasing productivity in the staple foods sector; connecting smallholders to rapidly expanding high-value horticulture, poultry, aquaculture, and dairy markets; generating jobs in the rural, non-farm economy; etc).

Contributions may assess policies and systems related to public service provision of water, sanitation, and health services, and offer solutions to subpar accessibility and quality.

Contributions may explore strategies, policies, and interventions that promote sustainable development while also protecting the natural environment and its inhabitants. Submissions could focus on aquatic or terrestrial biota. Contributions to this theme could also address the relationship of ecosystem conversion to issues of health, conservation, and development.

Contributions may focus on the development and financing of sustainable energy sources; new technologies for energy production, storage, and access; and political willingness to invest in such technologies; implications of clean energy access for health and wellbeing.

Contributions may explore the risks and benefits of urbanization, infrastructure development (transportation, buildings, communications), and continuing industrialization in promoting sustainable development. Such risks and benefits may include more cost effectiveness sustainable development strategies but also the possibility of air and noise pollution, epidemics, and pressures on urban infrastructure.

Contributions may discuss the growing role of the private sector in achieving any given SDG. Submissions may focus on, for example, cases where countries incorporate the private sector into their national planning strategies, the role of corporate social responsibility, or collaborations between government and the private sector.

Contributions may discuss opportunities and challenges around funding interventions aimed at achieving any given Sustainable Development Goal. Opportunities and challenges may specifically address the role of new forms of capital (e.g. private equity funds, sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, challenge funds, and sustainability bonds) whether in promoting the achievement of SDGS or fueling corruption, inequality, and capital flight.

Contributions may focus on opportunities and challenges in monitoring and assessment of Sustainable Development Goals and their associated targets and indicators. Submissions could consider synergies and trade-offs; implications for policy and for implementation; and around frameworks and tools for rigorous data collection, visualization, analysis, and dissemination are encouraged.

Contributions that explicitly explore emergent challenges, opportunities, and direct impacts of pandemics and other health crises on sustainability and development outcomes are welcome. Work on this theme could also explore how communities, countries, public and private sectors, and others have - or have not - prepared for health crises. 

We can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on!

 Abstract Guidelines and Submission

You may submit multiple abstracts. To ensure equity and diversity across presentations, however, we may allocate one oral presentation per presenter where multiple abstracts are accepted. Additional abstracts may be accepted as posters. 

Call for Abstracts: August 1 – October 1                                                                                                                                                                                                Abstract Decisions: October 10 [updated date!]
Registration Opens: October 15
Registration deadline for session speakers and poster presenters: November 8
Registration for observers will remain open throughout the conference


                                                                                                    Click below for detailed guidelines

Abstracts for oral presentation and posters should be no more than 350 words. They should follow the structure below to convey the most salient features of your work:

  1.  Open with a jargon-free sentence or two, providing a basic introduction to your work that is understandable to a broad audience (students, scholars, practitioners, policy-makers, donors, non-government organization representatives, grassroots organizations, etc.) interested in sustainability and development issues. It should clearly state the general problem (within the sustainability and development domain and focusing on a key meeting theme);
  2. Two to three sentences that provide more detailed information about the situated/on-the-ground context and relevance of your work that can be understood by an audience from diverse disciplines, sectors, and geographies;
  3. Two or three sentences summarizing the methodology, approach, and main findings (please use the phrase, “Our/My study finds,” or We/I show” or equivalent);
  4. Two or three sentences explaining the scholarly significance and practical application (the “so what”) of the main findings and argument, especially as compared to what is already known;
  5. One or two sentences that situate the results in a more general context, framed by the relevant meeting theme.


Accepted abstracts for oral presentations will be organized into sessions according to thematic fit. Presenters will be responsible for preparing TWO presentations.

  1. A 5-7* minute pre-recorded presentation. This must be uploaded to the Speaker Resource Center, and organizers will include it in the Conference Resource Library as a resource for all conference attendees. Conference organizers will provide instructions for recording, saving, and uploading this presentation.
  2. A 3-5* minute presentation that you will present in the session, via live webinar. You will share your screen during your presentation.

*Approximate presentation lengths (to be finalized with conference agenda development).

Conference organizers will invite one session speaker to be a discussant for the session. Discussants will receive a registration discount.

Conference attendees will be able to view pre-recorded presentations in advance, view the live presentations, and engage with speakers via several engagement features in CVENT, including Chat, Q&A, and polls/surveys.

Accepted abstracts for posters will be organized into a poster gallery, within the online conference platform. Presenters will be responsible for uploading their poster to their online conference profile, after they have registered for the conference. Conference organizers will provide instructions for creating and uploading the poster. 

Conference attendees will be able to view the posters at any time during the event, leave comments for the author, and engage in chat conversations with the author (if both parties select the online/chat option within their conference profile).

*Pending conference size, live poster sessions chats may be scheduled, to increase online engagement between participants.

SDC also encourages the submission of pre-organized session panels. Session organizers are responsible for organizing and/or publicizing the proposed session, soliciting abstracts, and selecting the abstracts for submission to the SDC call for abstracts. The session organizer must notify the session submitters of their decision to accept or decline the abstract within 5 days of the SDC abstract deadline. This gives the declined submitters an opportunity to submit as an independent abstract, if not chosen for your organized session.

  • One session typically includes 4 oral presentations. 5 may be allowed, with reduced presentation time for each presentation.
  • Sessions could focus on a single topic, be a collection of related topics, present a series of book critiques, etc. Other ideas are welcome.
  • Session abstracts must also follow the main abstract guidelines above.

Submission Directions

  • Each session abstract must be submitted as a “Pre-organized session” type abstract.
  • Each abstract submission must indicate the same session organizer. Answer the question by giving the full name of the session organizer. 
  • One “session description” abstract must also be submitted, which describes the overall focus of the pre-organized session and lists the names of the individual session contributors. Important: Please include the words “SESSION DESCRIPTION_ORGANIZER LAST NAME” at the end of the abstract TITLE (E.G. “The impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on forest resource -based livelihoods: A multI-country analysis SESSION DESCRIPTION_LAWTON”).

Workshop abstracts should follow the description structure below to convey the most salient features of your workshop. You must provide the workshop objectives, a draft agenda, and the key knowledge/tools to be acquired by the participants. Workshops are organized and facilitated by the person(s) submitting the abstract, with some assistance from the SDC Resource Team. Attendance will be capped at 20 participants (not including a maximum of 3 facilitators). The workshop length is 60-90 minutes.

Please review workshops from SDC 2018 https://umsusdev.org/2018-conference/workshops/ and SDC 2019 https://umsustdev.org/2019-conference/workshops/. *Please note that these workshops were conducted in-person and were 2-3 hours long. The workshops for the 2022 SDC will be online and free of charge.

  1. A jargon-free sentence or two providing a basic introduction to your workshop, so that it is understandable to a broad audience (students, scholars, practitioners, policy-makers, donors, non-government organization representatives, grassroots organizations, etc.) interested in sustainability and development issues;
  2. Two to three sentences that provide more detailed information about the context and relevance of your workshop that can be understood by an audience from diverse disciplines, sectors, geographies;
  3. Two or three sentences clearly stating the practical objectives of your workshop. For example, introducing a specific tool, skills, dataset, methodology, or facilitating an interactive discussion/debate around an emerging topic, tool, etc);
  4. Two or three sentences summarizing the workshop methodology and format with specific learning/participatory activities and expected outcomes.

Official Abstract Guidelines can also be downloaded Here

 Event Registration and Access

Event registration is required to access the conference. The registration form will be sent to abstract submitters and will be available here on this webpage.

Registration Fees

Our goal is to make this engagement opportunity as accessible as possible. Therefore, fees are determined by your home country income level (see here), whether you are a student or not a student, and whether you are a session speaker, post presenter, or an observer.

Registration Type and Admission Item FEE (USD) Registration Period
Upper-Income Countries
Non Student - Presenter $150 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Student - Presenter $75 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Non Student - Poster $100 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Student - Poster $0 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Non Student - Observer $125 Oct 15 - Jan 28
Student - Observer $75 Oct 15 - Jan 28
Middle-Income Countries
Non Student - Presenter $100 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Student - Presenter $50 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Non Student - Poster $50 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Student - Poster $0 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Non Student - Observer $75 Oct 15 - Jan 28
Student - Observer $50 Oct 15 - Jan 28
Lower-Income Countries
Non Student - Presenter $60 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Student - Presenter $0 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Non Student - Poster $50 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Student - Poster $0 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Non Student - Observer $50 Oct 15 - Jan 28
Student - Observer $0 Oct 15 - Jan 28
Student - Presenter $0 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Student - Poster $0 Oct 15 - Nov 8
Student - Observer $0 Oct 15 - Jan 28
For session speakers and poster presenters
100% refund granted up to Nov 30 (Tuesday)
50% refund granted Dec 1 – Dec 15 (Wednesday)
No refunds after Dec 15
For observers
100% refund granted up to Nov 30 (Tuesday)
50% refund granted Dec 1 – Jan 15 (Wednesday) 
No refunds after January 15

Questions? Email us @ umsusdev@umich.edu