Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Masterclass: Governing Complexity for Sustainability in the Anthropocene

Date: 14 May 2017

We have entered a new era in which the mainstream approach to governance is unlikely to produce arrangements that are successful in addressing a number of critical problems. To meet emerging needs for governance, we must find ways to steer complex systems featuring higher levels of connectivity, nonlinear and often sudden transitions, directional changes, and emergent properties. While regulation may still prove useful in dealing with some needs for governance, there is a need to experiment with alternative strategies, including principled governance, approaches emphasizing processes over substance, and governing through goals.

Professor Oran Young will offer a masterclass where participants will explore approaches to governance that can supplement the mainstream rule-making or regulatory paradigm in addressing needs for governance in the Anthropocene. Professor Oran R. Young is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Early career researchers are welcome to apply for the masterclass by sending an abstract and a CV to the organisers at and by 20 April. Six applicants will be selected based primarily on how well the abstract matches with the theme of the masterclass. 
A short working paper of approximately 2,000 words will need to be prepared by each participant by 8 May. At the masterclass, participants will speak about their work and receive feedback from Professor Oran Young as well as others.

The masterclass will take place at Utrecht University in The Netherlands on 19 May 2017, from 09:00 to 14:00. Participants will be invited to Professor Oran Young’s ocean governance seminar hosted by the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea at 15:00 on the same day and a dinner in the evening. 

There are no registration fees. This masterclass is funded and organized by the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University with support from the Earth System Governance Project and the Research School for Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment (SENSE).

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