Skip to main content

Our Vision

CENSE is guided by the overarching research question:


‘How can knowledge about the functioning of environmental and human systems be improved and used to inspire technological and social innovations for sustainability?’. 


Our activities follow five core principles:

a) Value commitment to work for a sustainable future;
b) Interdisciplinary research focused in problem areas instead of discipline-based;
c) Methodological pluralism;
d) Freedom of research;
e) Promotion of a science-in-society approach.

CENSE members developed a shared vision wherein: 

In 2030 CENSE is a centre for excellence on interdisciplinary research and advanced education in sustainability. In an atmosphere of collaboration and freedom to innovate, we explore new pathways for building a sustainable society. As a scientifically acknowledged centre, it integrates international and national networks, in a vibrant environment that attracts the best students and researchers. CENSE produces knowledge that informs decisions and promotes the co-creation of solutions with society through science that makes a difference.

To achieve this vision, CENSE aims to display a unique level of originality, quality and passion in all its activities, capturing the imagination of researchers worldwide. This goal will be achieved by selecting big problems with risky solutions in a blue-sky environment. Students and young researchers are encouraged to publish in top journals. The impact of research will be fostered by co-creation with society. Our advanced training relies on existing programs at NOVA University Lisbon and collaboration in international programs and summer schools. We plan to translate our thought leadership in societal programs with local and global impact. CENSE will also continue to be a major force in developing start-ups for the global market.