Knowledge and Policy cluster

Last updated 20 August 2019

Bringing together the knowledge base for a wellbeing economy is a key task for WEAll. There is a lot to draw on – whether it is the knowledge that emerges from practitioners who are building towards a wellbeing economy today or the array of work done by academics and policy analysts assessing the state of the economy and the ideas and theories that set out how the economy needs to change.

WEAll’s work to build the knowledge base and ensure it is accessible and coherent is greatly assisted by the ‘Knowledge and Policy core team’ (see below). This team comprises world-renowned thinkers in a range of fields and they not only contribute to the evidence base, but guide and advise on the strategy for enhancing it.

We are just getting going, but already we have a series of projects in the making. Click on the blue tabs below to find out more about each one. You can also check out this recent blog by Knowledge and Policy lead Katherine Trebeck summarising the approach and work.

These are all work-in-progress, so if you want to contribute please do get in touch via

The WEAll Research Fellows Network comprises researchers exploring all corners of a wellbeing economy. Fellows come from a range of academic disciplines – what unifies them is an interest in the wellbeing economy agenda and an enthusiasm for being part of building it.

They will contribute to the various publications WEAll has planned and their expertise will be drawn on to help practitioners and politicians seeking to create a wellbeing economy wherever they are.

It is our hope that by being part of the WEAll Research Fellows Network we can raise their profiles and help connect them to other Fellows with whom they can collaborate.

One vital contribution WEAll can make to the transition to a wellbeing economy is to help interested people find their way to the most useful material for their interests, needs, and level of awareness. We want to ensure that, no matter where they are and no matter what their sphere of influence is, people can easily find relevant material and guides and apply them to their life and work.

We have a small project team, led by Professor Dirk Philipsen at Duke University, who are working to respond to this need by creating an online interactive repository of wellbeing economy material.

Provisionally called ‘WETools’ this is a challenging task and requires dedicated resources to ensure quality, relevance, and accessibility. So we are in the process of not just scoping what it entails (including learning from what has been done before) and testing some mock-ups, but also seeking funding to deliver it to the extent required.

In the meantime, as an interim measure, WEAll has an online resources hub which features some key resources.

There is a lot known about why the economic system needs to change and even what that change entails. But this knowledge is scattered and often inaccessible to people who want an easy-to-grasp summary of what is known about a topic and what needs to be done about it.

WEAll is publishing a series of summary papers, fact sheets, and other material that, together, will constitute a body of theory and practice about a wellbeing economy. We are calling this series ‘WEAll Briefings’.

Each of these documents will weave together existing material and present it in a coherent and accessible form so that anyone interested in learning more about a particular aspect of a wellbeing economy can easily digest a document that explains the key concepts, state of the knowledge, where any debate is at, what is being done, and implications for various players.

Helping people get their heads around what a wellbeing economy might entail – and become excited by not just its desirability, but possibility – is another key task for WEAll.

So we have outlined how the wellbeing economy would deal with and respond to a range of issues, topics and challenges (and how this differs to the response of the current system).  This provides ‘at a glance’ insights into a wellbeing economy.

There is more detail of the fundamentals and building blocks that comprise it in our strategy document (click to download PDF) and more will come in the WEAll Ideas papers.

Promoting the agenda of a wellbeing economy to a range of strategic audiences is something WEAll is dedicating a lot of time to – sharing ideas, challenging narrow thinking, and telling the world about the work of our members so the possibility of a wellbeing economy feels real.

We have published hundreds of blogs, authored papers and articles for a range of outlets and even some books; given media interviews; recorded many podcasts; and given presentations in many different countries to a range of audiences. Much of this has, in our first year, been responsive to (the many!) invitations from others. In time, our WEAll Ideas papers will constitute our proactive promotion of the wellbeing economy agenda. You can see all of this content in our archive, and keep an eye on our home page, newsletters and social media channels for regular updates.

We have also been active in policy influencing tasks – speaking at parliamentary events in various countries and holding meetings with civil servants and members of parliament.

And of course WEAll instigated the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership.

We are thrilled to be part of projects and proposals that our members are developing. Whether this is funding bids where WEAll helps with strategy and dissemination or being part of the advisory group of research projects (such as the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity), we are keen to partner with members and others to enhance the knowledge base for a WEAll and get the knowledge out there to people who need to are keen to use it!

Knowledge and Policy core team

Justine Braby

Justine is the Director of Progress Namibia Technical and Advisory Services. Her academic qualifications include natural science, law, and education. She has most recently been working on the broad framework of sustainable development, including system thinking and economic transformation. Justine has extensive experience working on themes that are interconnected, such as climate change, sustainable land management, poverty eradication, among others. She has a large portfolio of work supporting African governments in their sustainable development planning, and has recently been working closely with the Sustainable Development Goals. Justine leads the Secretarial work of the WE-Africa (Wellbeing Economy Africa Research and Action Network), and is a member of the core research group of the WE-All (Wellbeing Economy Alliance). Justine has published widely on themes from economic transformation, alternative measures of economic wellbeing, as well as climate change, global transformation, and ecology. She has also had extensive experience in developing, implementing and evaluating different projects and strategies all over Africa, including for various UN and bilateral agencies, governments, and business. Justine’s biggest passion is the redefining of value systems towards a more equitable world.

Beth Caniglia

Beth serves as a member of the Board at the Alliance Center in Denver, Colorado and is Co-Editor-in-Chief at the Solutions Journal. Dr. Caniglia’s research and publications are focused at the intersection of social movements, organizations and policymaking, especially related to the environmental movement, while her more recent work has turned toward resilience and environmental justice in urban communities. For over a decade, she collected extensive data on the Multi-stakeholder dialogues at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, where she also served as a consultant to the NGO Steering Committee.

She has received numerous awards. In 2009, she was chosen as a Global Climate Leader by the State of the World Forum in recognition of her commitment to link academic scholarship to global carbon cycle transformation. In 2016, she was recognized by the International Women’s Leadership Association as among Top Women Executives, Professionals & Entrepreneurs. Her book (with Thomas J. Burns) Environmental Sociology: The Ecology of Late Modernity was honored with the Gerold L. Young Outstanding Book Award from the Society for Human Ecology. She has been honored by America’s Who’s Who in Academia. And, most recently, she was nominated for the Denver Sustainability Summit Visionary Award.

Luca Coscieme

Luca is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie and CAROLINE research fellow from Trinity College Dublin. His research focuses on ecosystem services and natural capital evaluation and the Sustainable Development Goals indicators.

Luca is contributing to theoretical and practical reforming of the economics discipline overcoming paradigms of growth at all costs. Since 2015 he is Fellow of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and Member of the RESURBE initiative for transition to resilience and adaptation through community development under the umbrella of the United Nations (UNEP, UNDP and UNESCO) and FAO. Since 2018 he is Associate Member of the Well-Being Economy Alliance. He is Editor of Frontiers in Energy Research and Frontiers in Sustainable Cities and authored multiple publications on international peer-reviewed journals.

Robert Costanza

Robert Costanza is a Professor and Vice Chancellor’s Chair in Public Policy at the Crawford School of Public Policy. Prior to this, he was Distinguished University Professor of Sustainability in the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University, Gund Professor of Ecological Economics and founding director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont, Professor at the University of Maryland and at Louisiana State University and a visiting scientist at the Beijer Institute for Ecological Economics in Stockholm, Sweden, and at the University of Illinois Natural History Survey.
Dr. Costanza is also currently a Senior Fellow at the National Council on Science and the Environment, Washington, DC, a Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Center, Stockholm, Sweden, an Affiliate Fellow at the Gund Institute at the University of Vermont„ and a deTao Master of Ecological Economics at the deTao Masters Academy in Shanghai, China.

Dr. Costanza received BA and MA degrees in Architecture and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering Sciences (Systems Ecology with Economics minor) all from the University of Florida.

Juliana Essen

Juliana Essen is a public anthropologist whose work advances the most promising solutions to global sustainability, equality, and wellbeing—those that emerge when personal, public, and planetary spheres of life connect.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, Juliana partnered with small farmers and schools to spread sustainable agroforestry practices, and with women entrepreneurs, to launch community-based microenterprises. Fresh from that 2-year field experience, Juliana went on to earn a PhD specializing in sustainable human development, funded in part by the MacArthur Foundation.

Her ethnographic research in an intentional Buddhist community in Thailand provided rich fodder for her first book, Right Development, as well numerous publications in Buddhist economics…not to mention profound reflections on life. After teaching for 12 years at Soka University, where the mission is “to foster a steady stream of global citizens committed to living a contributive life,” Juliana left academia to advance her own life’s mission.

Juliana now fosters public conversations on how to create a Good Life for Allthrough her nonprofit, Global Wellbeing Institute.

Irene Gujit

Irene leads Oxfam GB’s Research Team.  Prior to joining Oxfam GB in 2015, Irene worked for 25 years in rural development, natural resource management, collective action and social justice. She is a keen advocate for making the less heard voices more audible and influential. Recent work includes pioneering the SenseMaker® stories-at-scale approach in international development for (impact) evaluation in East Africa, Latin America and Asia on issues including girls’ empowerment, inclusive business, accountable democracy, water service delivery, and youth leadership.

Irene worked at the International Institute for Environment and Development from 1990 to 1998. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University between 1996 -1998 and 2013-2015. She has co-hosted the annual ‘M&E on the Cutting Edge’ series for 6 years, including themes on complexity and on responsible innovation. She is a Research Associate for the Overseas Development Institute.

Irene holds a BSc and MSc in land and water use engineering from Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands. Her PhD focused on small-scale producers in Brazil.

Amanda Janoo

Amanda is an Alternative Economic Policy expert with particular reference to policies oriented towards issues of diversificaton, value addition, inequality reduction and employment generation.

Specialization in holistic approach to industrial policy design which considers economic, social and environmental dimensions of development to ensure context-appropriate and complementary policies which are in line with larger national objectives

Emphasis on delivering institutional capacity-building interventions with strong ability to deconstruct and communicate complex ideas and processes to various stakeholders

Well-versed in analysis and writing on issues related to the political economy for academic, government and public audiences

Ida Kubiszewski

Ida Kubiszewski is an Associate Professor at Crawford School of Public Policy at The Australian National University. Prior to this, she was an Assistant Research Professor and Fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Solutions, at Portland State University.

She was awarded the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) to do ‘An Integrative Assessment of Factors Contributing to Wellbeing in Australia.’

Ida was a climate change negotiator the Dominican Republic and was a delegate at the 19th through 21st Conference of Parties (COP19 in Warsaw, Poland in 2013; COP20 in Lima, Peru in 2014; and COP21 in Paris, France in 2015).

She is a co-founder and former managing editor of the Encyclopedia of Earth.

Ida received both her B.A. in Astronomy and Physics and her M.A. in Energy and Environmental Analysis from Boston University. She received her Ph.D. through the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Vermont.

Lars Mortensen

Details coming soon

Dirk Philipsen

Dirk Philipsen, raised in Germany and educated in both Germany and the United States, is an Associate Research Professor of Economic History at the Sanford School of Public Policy, and Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. His research, writing, and teaching is focused on sustainability, wellbeing economics, and the history of capitalism.  His latest work focused on GDP as the dominant measure of success in U.S. and international economic affairs, and was is published by Princeton University Press under the title The Little Big Number – How GDP Came to Rule the World, And What to Do About It (2015/17.)  He is currently working on pieces about alternative economic performance indicators, the nature of economic growth, and the systemic imperative of decoupling material throughput from human development.

Kate Pickett

Kate trained in biological anthropology at Cambridge, nutritional sciences at Cornell and epidemiology at UC-Berkeley. She is currently Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences, and the University’s Research Champion for Justice and Equality.  Kate was a UK NIHR Career Scientist from 2007-12, is a Fellow of the RSA and a Fellow by Distinction of the UK Faculty of Public Health. She is co-author, with Richard Wilkinson, of The Spirit Level, chosen as one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by the New Statesman, winner of Publication of the Year by the Political Studies Association, translated into 25 languages, and the recently published, The Inner Level. She is a co-founder and trustee of The Equality Trust. Kate and Richard have been awarded Solidar’s Silver Rose Award and The Irish Cancer Society’s Charles Cully Memorial medal. Kate received the Alexander Morison Medal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and is a full member of the Club of Rome.

Michael Pirson

Prof. Michael Pirson is a scholar of humanistic management, which holds that business and commerce ought to protect human dignity and promote societal well-being. He is currently an associate professor for Global Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship at Fordham University, New York and a Research Fellow at Harvard University.

He is the co-founder of the Humanistic Management Network, a global organization bringing academics from various disciplines together with practitioners, policy makers and media representatives to accelerate the transition towards a life-conducive economic system. Michael is the also actively exploring the role of higher education in positive change making and social innovation, leading Fordham University’s efforts as ASHOKA Changemaker Campus.

Michael established the social entrepreneurship track chair for the Oikos-Ashoka Global Case Writing Competition in Social Entrepreneurship and serves on the board of five social enterprises. He has won numerous awards for his work, including from the Academy of Management. He is a Full member of the Club of Rome.

Vala Ragnarsdottir

Prof. Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir is Professor of Sustainability Science at the University of Iceland.  She was previously the Dean of Engineering and Natural Science at the University of Iceland and Professor of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Bristol, UK.  She is Distinguished Fellow at the Schumacher Institute (UK), Vice-President of the Balaton Group, and Fellow of Academia Europeae, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Icelandic Academy and the Royal Society of Arts and Commerce.

Vala´s research engagement, publications and teaching focus on evaluating natural resources and their link with the economy, developing structure and indicators for the wellbeing economy, determining soil sustainability indicators, finding fabric for sustainable communities with focus on food security, and imagining sustainable futures with steps towards them through back-casting.  Her most recent interests are linking the energy Sustainable Development Goal with other SDGs, casting light on corruption and developing groundwork for the circular- and bioeconomy.

Simon Sizwe Mayson

Simon’s previous work experience includes positions within the Office of the City Manager at the City of Johannesburg (Assistant Director), National Association of Social Housing Organisations (Project Coordinator), UN-Habitat in Nairobi and an independent consultant for a variety of housing-related projects. Previous non-paid work included roles as Chair of United World Colleges Trust South Africa and founder of Innovate Jozi and RideLink.

Academic qualifications include a MSc in Development Planning (Distinction) from Wits University where he received awards including SAPI Best Student and was awarded Oppenheimer, NRF and other scholarships; a BSocSci from the University of Cape Town (Stream Distinction); and an International Baccalaureate from United World Colleges Red Cross Nordic (full scholarship).

In 2016 he was recognised as a Mail & Guardian top 200 Young South African, by as one of 40 South Africans born since 1976 who have changed the country, and was awarded full scholarship to attend the Young African Leaders Initiative programme initiated by President Obama. Please see curriculum vitae for additional awards and leadership experience.

Claire Sommer

Research Editor

Claire is supporting the WEAll Research Fellows as an editor and translator of their big ideas into useful summaries. She helped found in 2015 and served as the initiative’s director from June 2017-April 2019. Claire also supports the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (a WEAll partner) as associate director for communications, and  the new Earth’s Call Fund for climate solutions.

Find her on Twitter at @KayakMediaTweet. She lives and gardens in Damariscotta, Maine.

Paul C. Sutton

Details coming soon

Katherine Trebeck

Katherine (WEAll’s Knowledge and Policy Lead) has over eight years experience in various roles with Oxfam GB: as a Senior Researcher for the Research Team, as UK Policy Manager, and as Research and Policy Advisor for Oxfam Scotland. Katherine helped to instigate the Wellbeing Economy Governments (an alternative to the G7); developed Oxfam’s Humankind Index; and led Oxfam’s work on a ‘human economy’. She was Rapporteur for Club de Madrid’s Working Group on Shared Societies and Sustainability and is on the advisory board for the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity (University of Surrey). Katherine has a PhD in Political Science from the Australian National University and is Honorary Professor at the University of the West of Scotland and Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Strathclyde. Her  bookThe Economics of Arrival: Ideas for a Grown Up Economy (co-authored with Jeremy Williams and published by Policy Press) was published in 2019

Stewart Wallis

Stewart has come out of retirement to voluntarily help to run WEAll, as its founding chair. A long term advocate for the need to transition to a new economic system, Stewart previously worked in various senior management roles for Oxfam Great Britain, for which he was awarded an OBE. From 2003 to 2016, he was Executive Director of the New Economics Foundation.

He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Lancaster University in December 2016 and was a Steward for the World Economic Forum (WEF), Global Challenge on inclusive Growth, 2015/2017. He has published a range of reports and articles on new economic ideas and his latest book is A Finer Future, co-authored with Hunter Lovins, John Fullerton and Anders Wijkman.

2002-Awarded the O.B.E. for services to Oxfam

James Ward

Details coming soon

Matt Wisner

Matt Wisner is a native of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and in his last year of Public Policy studies at Duke University.  Together with Professor Dirk Philipsen he is working with WEAll on the Resource Hub.  He is also providing a newsfeed on wellbeing articles at – go check it out.  His main interest is in sustainability.  He’s also a competitive middle distance runner.

Richard Wilkinson

Richard studied economic history and the philosophy of science at the London School of Economics before training in epidemiology.  From the 1970s onwards, his research focused on of social class differences in death rates.  He has played a formative role in international research on the social determinants of health and on the societal effects of income inequality.

Richard is Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham Medical School, Honorary Professor at University College London and Visiting Honorary Professor at the University of York.  He is co-author, with Kate Pickett, of The Spirit Level, chosen as one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by the New Statesman, winner of Publication of the Year by the Political Studies Association and translated into 25 languages, and the recently published, The Inner Level. He is a co-founder and trustee of The Equality Trust.  Richard and Kate have been awarded Solidar’s Silver Rose Award and The Irish Cancer Society’s Charles Cully Memorial medal. Richard also received Community Access Unlimited’s ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ Award in 2013 and was the 2017 medalist of The Australian Society for Medical Research.

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