Special Issue: Universities and multi-stakeholder engagement for sustainable development. An interdisciplinary approach

Submission Schedule

  • March 31st, 2022 Full paper submission due


Special Issue: Universities and multi-stakeholder engagement for sustainable development. An interdisciplinary approach  
This issue is being developed through selected papers from the ISBEE 2020, RnD Conference 2020, IFKAD 2020, and an open call for papers.

Guest Editors
Prof. Laura Corazza
Department of Management
University of Turin, Italy

Prof. Maria Franca Norese
Department of Management and Production Engineering
Politecnico di Torino, Italy

Dr. Paolo Saluto
Department of Management and Production Engineering
Politecnico di Torino, Italy

Prof. Maurizio Cisi
Department of Management
University of Turin, Italy  


Among the various merits attributable to the Sustainable Development Goals, there is the importance associated with the creation of partnerships to achieve all the seventeen objectives (SDG17) (United Nations 2015). Although much has been said about the role of universities as actors for guaranteeing a contribution for the sustainable development using education and research (Cottafava et al. 2019; Faham et al. 2017; Lozano et al. 2015; Voegtlin and Scherer 2017), little has been said about knowledge exchange dynamics between universities and their multi-stakeholder networks for supporting a sustainable future. Nowadays, the SDGs require by definition an interdisciplinary approach that the partnership with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) facilitates (Annan-Diab and Molinari 2017; Kroll et al. 2019). However, it requires to rethink about the traditional dynamics of dialogue between universities and their ecosystems.

Moreover, the general strategic drive of an organization towards a more sustainable future requires to reshape the relation between universities and the citizens, embracing the opportunity to consider and elevating the importance of citizens for science (Fritz et al. 2019). Paraphrasing the term “citizen science”, to let researches effective, we should elaborate more the paradigm of “stakeholders science”, where stakeholders can enter in the spiral of producing, delivering and communicating data science (Burger 2011; Windsor 2011). A substantial stakeholders’ orientation will in the future enrich research projects, partnerships, tests, also including underrepresented stakeholders (Findler et al. 2019). Consequently, we will assist to an impellent need of new researches also on methods, techniques, protocols, new ways of communication, between universities, unusually public and their multi-stakeholder platforms and ecosystems, also virtual. 

Within this call, we bring together different streams of literature belonging to different disciplines: knowledge exchange dynamics in universities, multi-stakeholder engagement and sustainable development. With this special issue, we want to explore how qualitative approaches that use narratives (relationships and informal exchanges of knowledge) can be operationalized for sustainable development and also how to overcome the pivotal element of interdisciplinarity that sometimes can represent an obstacle, in organisations that are not yet mature to manage it.

Suggested topics are, but not limited to: 

  • The institutionalization of the engagement between stakeholders and universities for sustainable development: technical and digital approaches
  • Frontiers in knowledge management between universities and multi-stakeholder networks: open data, bottom-up approaches, knowledge hiding, interdisciplinary competition.
  • Multi-stakeholder knowledge sharing mismatch for sustainable development: what others would like to know and what is being said, multi-power centers, fragmented knowledge, non-collaborative environments
  • Good practices of collaboration between universities and individuals beyond intellectual property: informal knowledge sharing and the management of long-term social outcomes of universities
  • The operationalisation of the third mission of universities
  • Analytics for stakeholder science and citizens science

Notes for Prospective Authors:

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere. A conference paper can only be submitted if the paper has been completely re-written and if appropriate written permissions have been obtained from any copyright holders of the original paper. Manuscripts should be submitted through the publisher’s online system. Submissions will be reviewed according to the journal’s rigorous standards and procedures through double-blind peer review by at least two qualified reviewers. 

Selected papers presented at conferences including ISBEE, IFKAD, RnD Conference will be invited to submit for the special issue. In addition, all others are welcome to submit papers as explained below. The paper may not be under review by another publication. Please prepare the manuscript according to IEEE-TEM’s guidelines ( and submit it the journal’s Manuscript Central site ( Please clearly state in the cover letter that the submission is for this special issue.

Submission Schedule

March 31st, 2022 Full paper submission due


Annan-Diab, F., & Molinari, C. (2017). Interdisciplinarity: Practical approach to advancing education for sustainability and for the Sustainable Development Goals. International Journal of Management Education, 15(2), 73–83. doi:10.1016/j.ijme.2017.03.006

Burger, J. (2011). Introduction: Stakeholders and Scientists: Achieving Implementable Solutions to Energy and Environmental Issues. In J. Burger (Ed.), (pp. 1–25). New York, NY: Springer New York. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-8813-3_1

Cottafava, D., Cavaglià, M. G., & Corazza, L. (2019). Education of sustainable development goals through students’ active engagement: A transformative learning experience. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 10(3), 521–544. doi:10.1108/SAMPJ-05-2018-0152

Faham, E., Rezvanfar, A., Movahed Mohammadi, S. H., & Rajabi Nohooji, M. (2017). Using system dynamics to develop education for sustainable development in higher education with the emphasis on the sustainability competencies of students. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 123, 307–326. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2016.03.023

Findler, F., Schönherr, N., Lozano, R., Reider, D., & Martinuzzi, A. (2019). The impacts of higher education institutions on sustainable development: A review and conceptualization. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 20(1), 23–38. doi:10.1108/IJSHE-07-2017-0114

Fritz, S., See, L., Carlson, T., Haklay, M. (Muki), Oliver, J. L., Fraisl, D., et al. (2019). Citizen science and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Nature Sustainability, 2(10), 922–930. doi:10.1038/s41893-019-0390-3

Kroll, C., Warchold, A., & Pradhan, P. (2019). Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Are we successful in turning trade-offs into synergies? Palgrave Communications, 5(1), 1–11. doi:10.1057/s41599-019-0335-5

Lozano, R., Ceulemans, K., Alonso-Almeida, M., Huisingh, D., Lozano, F. J., Waas, T., et al. (2015). A review of commitment and implementation of sustainable development in higher education: Results from a worldwide survey. Journal of Cleaner Production, 108,1–18. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.09.048

United Nations. (2015). Sustainable Development Goals., C., & Scherer, A. G. (2017). Responsible Innovation and the Innovation of Responsibility: Governing Sustainable Development in a Globalized World. Journal of Business Ethics, 143(2), 227–243. doi:10.1007/s10551-015-2769-z

Windsor, D. (2011). The Role of Dynamics in Stakeholder Thinking. Journal of Business Ethics, 96(S1), 79–87. doi:10.1007/s10551-011-0937-3

IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management is a journal of the Technology and Engineering Management Society of IEEE, published quarterly since 1954. It is dedicated to the publication of peer-reviewed original contributions, by researchers and practitioners, regarding the theory and practice of engineering, technology, and innovation management.

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Tugrul U Daim, Ph.D. PICMET Fellow
Professor and Director
Technology Management Doctoral Program
Department of Engineering and Technology Management
Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science
Portland State University, Portland OR
United States

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