Snellmaninkatu 12
(PL 16)
00014 University of Helsinki


Stefan Sjöblom
+358 2941 28414

Administrative Assistant
Minna Lehtola
+358 2941 28483

FO-RUM networks


SUSTAIN network

SUSTAIN - Governing Sustainability through Projects: the Effects of Temporality on Sustainable Development and Democracy


The shift from government to governance is one of the mega trends in industrialised societies. Organisational life is facing a time of “temporality”, or short-termism, where temporary project organisations are increasingly important. The effects remain however largely unexplored. A project is a temporary knowledge organization. There is, however, a shortage of systematic information on the extent to which innovations emerges, how new knowledge is transferred from short-term project organizations to permanent politico-administrative structures and how the knowledge affects future policy formulation and institutional capital. Increasing temporality also affects democratic procedures and thereby the legitimacy of the implemented policies.

In governance for sustainable development, this is crucial since legitimate decision-making and implementation procedures imply commitment of those involved. There is a need for systematic information on to what extent temporary organisations contribute to such awareness and to new participatory arrangements and procedures, particularly in terms of rural-urban relations which represent the showpiece of a policy problem which the partnership principle is aimed at addressing within the EU. The difficulties to steer this system call for innovations and for innovative policy procedures.


The Objective of SUSTAIN network is to promote an international network of co-operation regarding themes of common interest in the field of social sciences and humanities.

SUSTAIN will therefore:

  1. Promote and facilitate the dissemination, transfer, exchange and exploitation of past and present research results
  2. Contribute directly to the European research area through strategic review, mobilization and creation of best practice in supportive infrastructure and through mapping out the competencies and skills in the field of governance and rural-urban relations.
  3. Prepare new research in this research area.

Coordinating team
• Professor Stefan Sjöblom (network coordinator), Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki, Finland
• Senior researcher Kjell Andersson, Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki, Finland
• PhD student Sebastian Godenhjelm, Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki, Finland
• Research administrator Minna Lehtola, Swedish School of Social Science, University of Helsinki, Finland

SUSTAIN participants
• Professor Erland Eklund, Åbo Akademi University Vasa, Finland
• Dr Sarah Skerratt, SAC (Scottish Agricultural College), UK
• Professor Nicole Mathieu, Unité Mixte de Recherche Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique / Université de Paris1 Laboratoire Dynamiques Sociales et Recomposition des Espaces, France
• Professor Imre Kovách, Institute for Political Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
• Research Fellow Boldizár Megyesi, Institute for Political Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
• Professor Giorgio Osti, Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Uomo Università degli Studi di Trieste Piazzale Europa, Italy
• Professor Arunas Poviliunas, Department of Sociology, Vilnius University, Lithuania
• Professor Hilary Tovey, Department of Sociology, Ireland
School of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
• Assistant Professor Steven Wolf, University of Cornell, Department of Natural Resources, USA
• Professor Terry Marsden, School of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University, UK
• Associate Professor Bettina Bock, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
• Professor Javier Esparcia Pérez, Departamento de Geografía / Instituto Universitario de Desarrollo Local, Universitat de Valéncia
• Research Fellow Gusztav Nemes, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
• Dr Christopher High, the Open University, UK
• Senior Researcher Åge Mariussen, University of Tromsø

SUSTAIN activities

SUSTAIN network meeting 29.1.2010, Helsinki

Sjöblom (2009) Special Issue, Jounal of Environmental Policy and Planning Working group at ESRS congress, Vasa

SUSTAIN network meeting 28.8.2009, Vasa

Working group at ESRS congress, Wageningen Vaasa 2009

SUSTAIN network meeting 24.8.2007, Wageningen

EU-US workshop at Cornell University, October 2007

SUSTAIN network meeting 24.10.2007, Ithaca

EU proposal

Sjöblom, Andersson, Eklund & Godenhjelm (2006) Project Proliferation and

Working group at ESRS congress, Keszthely

EU proposal

FO-RUM international research seminar on projectification in 2003, Helsinki




  • SUSTAIN Workshop: Temporary organisations and regional development policies
    Helsinki 28-29.1.2011

  • SUSTAIN meeting
    Helsinki 29.1.2010

  • Working Group 5.3: Temporary organisations and rural-urban relations
    17-21 August 2009, XXIII ESRS Congress Vaasa

  • Workshop on Projectification, Governance and Sustainability: US-EU Synthesis and Comparison
    21st - 23rd October, 2007, Cornell University, US

  • EU-US network

  • Working Group 7: Rural-urban relations, short-termism and sustainable development
    20-24 August 2007, XXII ESRS Congress, Wageningen