Barriers to embedding Education for Sustainable Development in the curriculum

Alison Calvert, Kieran Higgins, Alysha Thompson, Tracy Galvin

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther contribution to conference

92 Downloads (Pure)


Following the review of the Food Science programme at Queen’s University Belfast, the need for a new Sustainable Food Systems module was identified. Coinciding with this, the presenters took part in the UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Bootcamp. Applying the techniques taught there to design of this module, we sought to embed the hallmarks of ESD into the curriculum: co-creation, transformative pedagogy, active learning, and authentic assessment. However, this was not straightforward, and the presenters faced, and continue to face, many challenges in doing so.

We offer a reflection on module design that utilises ESD-informed and active learning module design, and discuss the local, institutional, and systemic barriers encountered in this way of working. We share our personal experience of reconciling the necessity of this approach against the realities of modern Higher Education practice, with the hope that those in the earlier stages of working within the ESD paradigm are forewarned, while those who are facing ESD challenges can apply learnings to their own practice. The presenters also welcome the perspective of tackling barriers from all those present at the conference.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2023
EventAdvance HE Sustainability Symposium -
Duration: 29 Mar 202330 Mar 2023


ConferenceAdvance HE Sustainability Symposium


  • Education for Sustainable Development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Barriers to embedding Education for Sustainable Development in the curriculum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this