ENLIGHT joint courses

ENLIGHT Equity and Sustainability Transitions, Summer School

About the course

  • Do you wonder whether discussions on sustainability transitions include discussions on fairness?
  • Can different communities and categories of people respond in the same way to what is required for sustainability transitions? For example, is public transport available for those living in less off areas? Who can afford to shop for quality nutritious food?
  • What is meant by climate justice?
  • Are marginalised people and those who are often ‘left behind’ included in discussions on sustainability transitions or represented in some way at the policy table?
  • How can we measure how different communities' area affected in different ways by the enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies?

 Interested? Then join us in this postgraduate interdisciplinary summer school, where we will unpack equity and sustainability transitions.


 The world is facing up to the fact that we require many large-scale changes which challenge our current ways of living - particularly in the global North. The 2030 Agenda adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 provided a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the context of the climate crisis, and energy and food crises driving up cost of living, the sustainability of our social and economic systems is under pressure. The transition to sustainable economies and societies is urgently required, yet such a process can appear overwhelming to many and to those with less resources or options for change. So, what are sustainability transitions and how do they occur? While ideas formed around climate justice have become more pronounced in recent years, we need to inquire about the concrete means by which such aspirations can translate into practices that sustain gains made in the fight for equity over the last centuries and render these compatible with mandates emanating from climate change imperatives. Given the need to implement ambitious environmental and climate objectives and move towards carbon neutrality, a circular economy, cleaner air, cleaner transport and sustainable consumption, this summer school explores how sustainable transitions can be advanced with equitable distribution of benefits and burdens.  

Learning outcomes

After the course, students will be able to:

  1. Students will gain an understanding of the concepts of equity, climate justice and sustainable transitions, and how they are linked.
  2. Students will be able to review sustainability transition frameworks and their inclusion in policy processes.

Students will learn to outline how civil society, institutions (including universities) and governments can incorporate equity perspectives into their interventions that relate to sustainability transitions.   


  • Online assignment ahead of the summer school—9 May 2024
  • Intensive week at the University of Galway, Ireland, Monday 20 May – Friday 24 May 2024
  • The week will consist of lectures, workshop sessions and a one-day field trip.

After the intensive week: submission of assignments.


  • Short online assignment in preparation of the summer school
  • Final essay (1500 words)

Contribution to a collectively produced report on the theme of the summer school.


  • Dr Hanna-Kaisa Hoppania, University of Galway

  • Dr Una Murray, University of Galway

    Practical Details

    Courses – Focus area: Equity
    Study Field: Humanities, Science and Technology, Economics and Law
    Type: summer school
    Format: Blended
    Host: University of Galway
    Course dates: Online: 9-24 May 2024 (Onsite week 20-24 May)
    ECTS: 5
    Number of places available: 3 per ENLIGHT university
    Level: Master, PhD