Barry Ness

Associate Professor in Sustainability Science




Barry Ness is an associate professor at LUCSUS and is the first to receive a doctoral degree in sustainability science. He is the director of studies for Ph.D. research education, and the editor-in-chief for the journal, Challenges in Sustainability (Librello Publishing). Barry is also a member of the LUCID research school. He also holds a Master’s degree from Lund University in environmental studies and sustainability science (LUMES), and a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Minnesota. Barry was born and raised in the United States, but has lived in southern Sweden since 1999.


His research interests are diverse. Present research interests include inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches for both comprehending and addressing complex sustainability challenges, particularly how they can be used to improve the sustainability of craft beer production and consumption systems. Barry has been active with research on how simple, sustainable innovations can be more effectively diffused in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa, on knowledge systems in coffee growing systems, and on the governance of large land acquisition projects in Africa. His PhD research focused on understanding the variety of tools that exist for sustainability assessment, conceptualizing complex problems of sustainability based on scale and cross-scale interactions through the case of the sugar production system in Sweden. Early research included socio-economic analyses of municipal solid waste treatment, wastewater purification systems, and qualitative and quantitative modelling of food commodity systems.

Papers and publications

Yengoh, G. T., Steen, K., Armah, F. A., & Ness, B. (2016). Factors of vulnerability: How large-scale land acquisitions take advantage of local and national weaknesses in Sierra Leone. Land Use Policy, 50, 328-340.

Ness, B. & Åkerman, A. (2015) Sustainable development through innovation diffusion via entrepreneur in rural western Kenya: progress and related challenges. Sustainability: Science, Policy & Practice. 15(1):53-63.

Ness, B. & Åkerman, A. (2013) Publishing sustainability research visually: A film about the opportunities and challenges of a rural entrepreneurship initiative in Kenya. Challenges in Sustainability. 1(2):80-81.

Wiek, A., Ness, B., Schweizer-Ries, P. & Farioli, F. (2014) Collaboration for transformation. Sustainability Science. 9(1):113-114.

Ness, B. & Åkerman, A. (2013) Publishing sustainability research visually: A film about the opportunities and challenges of a rural entrepreneurship initiative in Kenya. Challenges in Sustainability. 1(2):80-81.

Ness, B. (2013) Editorial: Sustainability science: Progress made and directions forward. Challenges in Sustainability. 1(1), 27-8.

Yarime, M., Trencher, G., Mino. T., Scholz, R., Olsson, L., Ness, B., Frantzeskaki, N., Rotmans, J. (2012) Establishing sustainability science in higher education institutions: towards an integration of academic development, institutionalization, and collaborations with stakeholders. Sustainability Science.

Ness, B., Anderberg, S. (2011) Research and Development Financing for Sustainable Development: Case Study Sweden. EU FP7 Vision RD4SD Project.

Wiek, A., Ness, B., Schweizer-Ries, P., Brand, F. S., Farioli, F. (2012) From complex systems thinking to transformational change: A comparative study on the epistemological and methodological challenges in sustainability science projects. Sustainability Science. 7 (Supplement 1):5–24.

Ness, B. (2011) An Intergrated Sustainability Assessment of the Swedish Sugar Production System from a Life-Cycle Perspective: 2003-2015. Interdisciplinary Description of Complex Systems 9(1), 23-38,

Jerneck, A,.Olsson, L., Ness, B., Anderberg, S. et al. (2011) Structuring Sustainability Science. Sustainability Science 6, 69–82.

Mandere N., Ness, B., & Anderberg, S. (2010) Peri-urban Development, Livelihood Change and Household Income: A Case Study of Nyahururu, Kenya. Journal of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development 2(5) 73-83.

Ness, B., Anderberg, S. & Olsson, L. (2010) Structuring Problems in Sustainability Science: The Multilevel DPSIR Framework. Geoforum. 41 (3): 479-488.

Ness, B., Brogaard, S., Anderberg, S. & Olsson, L. (2009) The African Land-Grab: Creating Equitable Governance Strategies through Codes-of-Conduct and Certification Schemes. Presented at the Earth System Governance Conference in Amsterdam, December 2, 2009.

Ness, B. (2009) Sustainability of the Swedish Sugar Sector: Assessment Tool Development and Case Study Appraisal. Saarbrucken: VDM Verlag

Ness, B. and Brogaard, S.(2008) An environmental assessment of sugar beet transport in southern Sweden using GIS proximity analysis. Area 40 (4): 459-471.

Ness, B. (2008) Sustainability of the Swedish sugar sector: Assessment tool development and case study appraisal. Ph. D. thesis. Lund Dissertations in Sustainability Science No. 1. Lund University, Sweden.

Ness, B., Urbel-Piirsalu, E., Anderberg, S. & Olsson, L. (2007) Categorising Tools for Assessing Sustainability. Ecological Economics 60 (3): 498-508.

Ness, B. (2007) Book Review: Managing Urban Futures: Sustainability and Urban Growth in Developing Countries. European Planning Studies 15 (1): 167-168.

Contributor (2006) EPSD Report No. 3 – Towards a “Smart Growth” Strategy for Sustainable Development (Final version) European Panel on Sustainable Development

Rosenqvist, H. & Ness, B. (2004) An Economic Analysis of Landfill Leachate Purification Through Willow Coppice Vegetation Filters. Bioresource Technology 94: 321-329.

Åkerman, A, & Ness, B. (2013) Film: Pathway out of poverty? Improving Rural Livelihoods Through the Diffusion of Sustainable Technologies (1st version: 448 views, 5 January 2015)

Ness, B. & Jerneck, A. (in press) It takes an academic village: establishing an interdisciplinary research school and educating the first generations of Ph.D.’s. Tojo, N. & Kiss, B. (eds.) in Forwarding multi-disciplinary education for international students with various educational backgrounds. 1-18.

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