The RDAA Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF) is committed to research that supports a green transition of society. The RDAA CSF’s overall purpose is to generate and disseminate humanities-based research on climate change, socio-environmental crises, and loss of biodiversity. The center builds on the premise that humans and environments cannot be separated. While the premise of intertwinement of humans and environments locates the centre’s activities squarely within the field of environmental humanities, it also points to the need for robust interdisciplinary collaboration with the natural sciences. The centre was established based on United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a universally agreed set of sustainability goals that support governments, businesses, and communities around the world to work towards a more just and equitable future.

Research Areas

Climate Adaptation

The aim of SDG 13 Climate Action is to take urgent action to tackle climate change and its impacts. Our researchers tackle SDG 13 Climate Action from a number of different angles. We have a strong grounding in the scientific drivers of climate change and a practical understanding of the impacts climate change is likely to have across all sectors of society. Our research at RDAA focuses on urban and rural contexts and includes the water sector, behavioral change initiatives, social, institutional and ecological resilience, buildings and cities, resource management and international development issues.

Agricultural Systems and Food Security

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and
healthy life. Our research therefore considers transforming food systems to ensure healthy, thriving and food secure communities and businesses. We take a ‘food systems’ approach to understand and address issues across the food value chain and associated human and ecological drivers of change. Food security is key theme in the African context. Food systems are at the intersection of major sustainable development challenges. They intersect climate change, biodiversity, water, energy, economics, gender, social inclusion, digital innovations, and human wellbeing. Access, availability, utilization and stability of food is a challenge faced by many on both a local and global scale, while the global food system is responsible for loss of habitat, pollution of water bodies, and global inequalities. Future changes such as in the economy and climate may pose further challenges, affecting the security of our food systems at different scales. Therefore, at RDAA, we hope to do agricultural systems and food security research that will impact social, economic, and environmental ecosystem.

Specific Areas

  • Food availability and access
  • Food utilization and stability
  • Peri-urban and social dimensions of  food systems
  • Organic resources in the circular economy

Affordable and Clean Energy

The aim of SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. At RDAA, we plan to be at the forefront of energy research and innovation both in policy debates and on the ground, assisting organizations assess and transition towards a cleaner more equitable energy future. Energy is in many ways linked to efforts to reduce poverty, improve human welfare, and raise living standards. Therefore, energy solutions have long term impacts on the environment, economy and society. Securing access to affordable, safe, clean and sustainable energy is one of the greatest challenges. We hope that our research will add value to the international community, national and state governments, local communities, and civil society towards a just energy transition based on renewable energy.

Specific Areas

  • Customer energy innovations
  • Energy data visualization
  • 100% renewables

Our researchers have experience in:

  • Systems thinking for customer-centric energy solutions
  • Global, regional and country-level analysis
  • Employment modelling to facilitate a just transition
  • Developing visualization tools to map energy opportunities
  • Research for government, communities, councils, and industry.


Society expects water supply systems to perform efficiently and be resilient to drought and disruptions, expect to enjoy urban landscapes with green open spaces. Our research partnerships align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 6 and improve the accessibility, equity and security of water and wastewater services in urban centres across the world.

Specific Areas

  • Integrated water.
  • Decision-making, strategy, and policy.
  • Water and wastewater planning for low- and medium-income countries.
  • Adaptive planning and drought.
  • Circular economy (water, energy, and waste)
  • Efficiency, conservation, and demand

Healthcare and well-being

Mental and physical wellbeing are seen as crucial elements of a more sustainable society. The link between health and sustainability incorporated within this challenge covers local to global issues from combating malaria to preventative medicine and sustainable pharmaceutical use and management, links between mental health and wellbeing, green space, connection to nature, disease and environmental change. Health emergencies such as COVID-19 pose a global risk and have shown the critical need for preparedness. The United Nations Development Programme highlighted huge disparities in countries’ abilities to cope with and recover from the COVID-19 crisis.  Technology integration comes in handy for improved service delivery through eHealth services. The concept of telemedicine and telehealth is still new to providers and physicians , hence the  slow adoption. However telemedicine will help improve the remote delivery of healthcare services. In addition, the quality of clinical data should be constantly assessed and reassessed in an iterative fashion to ensure that appropriate levels of quality are sustained. Effective data quality management covers integrating reliable data sources, verifying information, working with and sharing sensitive data with trusted recipients and implementing systems, which protect patients. Our research at RDAA therefore considers the importance of quality and innovative management of healthcare data.

Our areas of research interest

  • Health care systems
  • Reduction of global maternal and infant mortality.
  • Quality and innovative Healthcare data management
  • eHealth research and Telemedicine adoption.
  • Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

Education for Sustainable Development

Specific Areas

  • Reduce the global maternal mortality.
  • End preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age.
  • End the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases, and other communicable diseases.
  • Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse.
  • Halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents
  • Strengthen the capacity of all countries,
  • Substantially increase health financing and the recruitment, development, training and retention of the health workforce in developing countries.
  • Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

Education for sustainable development (ESD) is defined as education that encourages changes in knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to enable a more sustainable and just society for all. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is UNESCO’s education sector response to the urgent and dramatic challenges the planet faces. Technology can be used to enhance ESD through influencing learners’ behavior and to evaluate such behavior change. In order to effectively apply technology to support ESD, a strong partnership between educators and technologists. E-learning is a rapidly growing industry, and its importance offers an alternative that is much faster, cheaper and potentially better to education. This was evident during the global covid-19 pandemic. At RDAA therefore our research focuses on improving education outcomes through holistic learning systems.

Specific Research Areas

  • Advancing advocacy to holistic learning
  • Transforming learning environments with improved school physical infrastructure 
  • Building educator technology capacities for eLearning readiness
  • Empowering youth with digital literacy for technology integration in education 

Green Supply Chain management (GSCM)

Green Supply Chain management is integrating environmental thinking into supply-chain management,  including product design, material sourcing and selection, manufacturing processes, delivery of the final product to the consumers as well as end-of-life management of the product after its useful life.

Specific Areas

  • Eco-design level
  • Green purchasing level
  • Green manufacturing capacity
  • Green marketing and consumption
  • Recycling products processing ability
  • Green innovation (Product innovation, Process innovation, Managerial Innovation)
  • Reverse Logistics

Human Rights, Peace and Gender Equality

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. There has been progress over the last decades: More girls are going to school, fewer girls are forced into early marriage, more women are serving in parliament and positions of leadership, and laws are being reformed to advance gender equality. Despite these gains, many challenges remain: discriminatory laws and social norms remain pervasive, women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political leadership, and 1 in 5 women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 report experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner within a 12-month period.

Specific Areas

  • Gender-based violence, including domestic violence, is mitigated and reduced,
  • Social protection and economic stimulus packages serve women and girls,
  • People support and practice equal sharing of care work,
  • Women and girls lead and participate in COVID-19 response planning and decision-making,
  • Data and coordination mechanisms include gender perspectives.