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Third pillar of ILIASS

The third pillar sheds light on three sub-themes for collaborative research: Agroecology and sustainable farming systems, Circular economy and social inclusiveness of sustainable cities, Green innovation and ecotechnology.

& sustainable farming systems

Description of the theme 1

The transformative vision of this research theme lies in its capacity to link together science principles and social dimensions. This implementation of agroecological principles with the entrepreneurial models of family farming is highly grounded in specificities in terms of local conditions of soil and climate specificities, biodiversity, cultural values, and socio-economic context.


The aim of this research theme is to enhance our understanding of what makes unique this combination of both scientific and social factors, and what are their critical success factors.


More particularly we aim at two main results, based on the selection of country-based case studies: 

  • Firstly, identifying the emergence of niche initiatives seen as socio-technical innovation, i.e. farmers and their families developing micro-level sustainable practices.

  • Secondly, the scaling of agroecology at a territorial and/or collective organization level, with the driving roles of formal and informal communities of work practices and social lives.

In the end, the overarching objective of this research is to bring together the researchers and local networks of actors of the Lasallian universities, deliver new knowledge, and finally contribute to the promotion and the development of sustainable agri-food territories, with an ambition shared both locally and at an international level.

Circular economy & social inclusiveness of sustainable cities

Description of the Theme 2

The context of rapid urbanization combined with the need for more sustainable models of development for energy, food, and agriculture-based upon living territories and socioeconomic proximity is at the core of this theme. This research theme opens the way to innovative approaches to the concept of circular economy as a driver of sustainability in cities. Indeed the symbiotic design of circular urban systems optimizes material and energy uses, thus mitigating environmental footprints. In a complementary perspective, the research conducted in the Lasallian network strongly emphasized the role of social and environmental inclusiveness in urban circular economies.


More specifically the research focuses on the role of social and environmental intermediaries and institutions, in dialogue with scientific and policy partners. This interdisciplinary approach is seen as a major component of innovative governance structures at micro and macro levels of urban and peri-urban territories and hinterlands, connecting together people with their social and economic lives in a more sustainable way.

Green innovation & ecotechnology

Description of the Theme 3

The quality of life, in the perspective of sustainable goals development, is highly dependent upon how modern society will use technology to mobilize the resources of the environment. Within the Lasalle network, green innovations and ecotechnology are developed in perspective on technology which is neither in favor of technological progress at all costs, nor promoting technophobia, but instead viewing the technology evolution in its human dimension, i. e. with and for human values. Thus the research developed in the Lasallian universities network is done in the views of values-driven designs, applied to different stages of the production, distribution, and consumption processes: eco conception, waste management, innovative usage of by and co-products by consumers, among other topics. The research applications cover many sectors, with a strong emphasis on agro resources, energy, and agri-food systems.

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