UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Professor Costanza and Dr Kubiszewski help to secure funding for new collaborative research project

22 November 2023

Academics from the Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP) are part of a large European consortium which recently secured funding from the European Research Council to explore alternative measures of wellbeing


Professor Robert Costanza and Dr Ida Kubiszewski who teach at the IGP are part of a large European consortium recently awarded a total of €4 million Horizon funding for the research project 'Measuring what matters: Improving usability and accessibility of policy frameworks and indicators for multidimensional wellbeing through collaboration' (MERGE).

The 15-institution-strong collaboration brings together universities, research institutes and think tanks from across Europe and is led by the Cologne-based ZOE Institute for Future-fit Economies.  

The 3-year project aims to build a broad consensus on indicators and frameworks for measuring multidimensional well-being within planetary boundaries. Building on previous work by members of the consortia, it seeks to overcome the misuse of GDP growth as a primary policy goal.  The lack of such a consensus on alternatives to date has been a major obstacle to setting policy goals and monitoring / measuring progress in this area.

MERGE will address this by providing a platform for a multidisciplinary community of researchers who will work with technical, knowledge and policy networks as well as civil society actors. It will provide a forum for dialogue, co-creation and knowledge exchange, linking cutting-edge research and policy practice. MERGE participants will benefit from collaborative and training events, analyses, indicators, datasets and policy briefings. Through knowledge exchange, stakeholders and researchers will be able to adopt and develop a systematic and coherent understanding of the sustainable economy paradigm in their own work.

 "GDP was never designed as a measure of societal wellbeing but it has been misused for that purpose for far too long.  It is past time to move beyond GDP to more inclusive measures of sustainable wellbeing to drive policy decisions and the MERGE project will help do that." said Robert Costanza

Robert Costanza is Professor of Ecological economics at the IGP and a global pioneer of transdisciplinary research which integrates the study of humans and the rest of nature to address research, policy and management issues at multiple time and space scales, from small watersheds to the global system. He co-leads the new IGP Masters programme "Prosperity, People and Planet" with Dr Ida Kubiszewski, Associate Professor of Global Prosperity at the IGP.

Dr Kubiszewski is an ecological economist focusing on ecosystem services and how they can be integrated into decision-making. She brings expertise to the MERGE project on measures of wellbeing and prosperity, specifically alternatives to GDP.  

Photo credit: Ida Kubiszewski