Sustainability Science

, Volume 7, Supplement 1, pp 57–73 | Cite as

Industry and academia for a transition towards sustainability: advancing sustainability science through university–business collaborations

  • Fabio Orecchini
  • Valeria Valitutti
  • Giorgio Vitali
Special Feature: Overview Article Sustainability science: bridging the gap between science and society


This paper gathers evidence from the current crisis in sustainability, which indeed has led to unsustainable global, social and human systems, to reaffirm the increasing importance of the business sector, not only in terms of its central role in the achievement of the current unsustainable path, but above all the role still to be played by business in the transition towards sustainability. Principally, this review focuses on the concept of business sustainability and calls for the necessity of collaboration between industry and academia within the context of sustainability science. To provide a reasoned and robust argument, the main co-operation modalities and best practice currently applied out of the sustainability science paradigm are reviewed. Furthermore, collaborations between industry and academia experienced within the framework of International Conferences on Sustainability Science (ICSS) are analyzed, by describing the founding principles of the innovative scientific paradigm, its evolution and its application to the field. In addition, the manuscript stresses the current relevance of the sustainability science discipline while attempting to institutionalize a collaborative and participative process, and confronts the expected outcomes with the obstacles faced. Finally, the paper proposes a series of recommendations for conducting successful business–academic collaborations within the framework of sustainability science.


Sustainability Science University Business Collaborations 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabio Orecchini
    • 1
    • 2
  • Valeria Valitutti
    • 3
  • Giorgio Vitali
    • 3
  1. 1.Sapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Guglielmo Marconi UniversityRomeItaly
  3. 3.CIRPS Sapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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