Nordic Research Center for Wellbeing and Social Sustainability (WellFare)

Research Center

Nordic Research Center for Wellbeing and Social Sustainability (WellFare)


Girls holding hands running away from the photographer. Photo
Photo: Josue Michel/Unsplash


WellFare is a Nordic Research Center for Wellbeing and Social Sustainability at NTNU. WellFare brings together researchers, practitioners, students and relevant stakeholders from a wide range of disciplines and sectors. WellFare leads transdisciplinary and cutting-edge research to transforming communities and welfare systems towards a fairer, healthier and more socially sustainable future. 

WellFare is a metaphor for “faring well across the lifespan”. WellFare aims to develop and disseminate knowledge, practices and tools to accelerate progress towards social change for the common good, where wellbeing and social sustainability is placed at the heart of social transformation. The agenda is to promote wellbeing for all across the life-course, leaving no one behind. 

The Center’s missions and activities are concentrated on four interlinked spotlight areas on:

More about us

WellFare has a particular emphasis on social justice, and the United Nations universal value of “leaving no one behind”. Our focus is on how ongoing transformations of the Nordic welfare states can enable democratic governance and joint action across the whole of society, and how the Nordic model both can inspire and be inspired by promising practices in other contexts. The aim of WellFare is to support and sustain health and wellbeing for all as a public value and common mission for both current and future generations. Thus, WellFare explore and progress co-creation and socially just societal development to create and sustain health and wellbeing across the lifespan, and to tackle inequities in processes and outcomes. 

WellFare focuses on transforming planning, policy-making and economies to promote wellbeing for all as a common mission. We especially emphasize participation, citizenship and relational responsibility to ‘leave no one behind’ at different levels; locally, regionally, nationally and internationally; the transformative promise that connects UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

WellFare is particularly focused on the impact of everyday life on people’s wellbeing. By adopting a participatory and place-based approach to transformative change, we focus on settings and environments (play, learning, work, trade, leisure, neighborhoods, digital meeting places) in connection to welfare services and other socio-political institutions that influence the development of people's wellbeing and participation in society. 

WellFare focuses on innovative welfare solutions. We bring together experts and students to lead critical and cutting-edge research to experiment and co-create knowledge and solutions for wellbeing and social sustainability in collaboration with citizens, communities, NGO’s, businesses, practitioners, and researchers. 

People and Research


Advisory Board


  • Research professor Ragnhild Bang Nes, The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH)


Research Network

Wellbeing and Social Sustainability

  • SoVei (in Norwegian)
  • Evaluation assistance in the implementation structure of the International Child Development Program (ICDP) in The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (Bufdir)
  • Citizens´ model in Trondheim Municipality: Study on well-being, social inclusion and co-creation
  • Preventing an Opioid Epidemic In Norway: Focusing on Treatment of Chronic pain (POINT). Coordinator: University of Oslo – SERAF; funded by Norwegian Research Council 2021-2024.
  • Future Lab: Empowering children and young people through research and giving them a voice (Erasmus+ ENHANCE-project)
  • PUBLIC VALUE: PUshing the Boundaries of Leadership In Co-creating VALUE together with citizens and stakeholders
  • Feeling valued, and adding value: Mattering in co-creating Well-being Communities
  • WELCOME: WELlbeing COMmunities in Europe – Experimenting with deliberative and participatory democratic processes towards wellbeing for all
  • Recovery and recovery-oriented services and practices within mental health and substance abuse care
  • Inter-professional collaboration for children and youth in schools who are in contact with child welfare services (a PhD-project in collaboration with the COIN-research group)
  • Relational Capacity
  • Asset Based Community Development (ABCD)
  • Democratic Innovation in deliberative and participatory democracy
  • Citizen assemblies in local communities
  • Public Health and strength based communities of learning
  • Think it out – dialogical reflection groups in prisons
  • Action research methods for transforming communities (Edited book)
  • It takes a village: Co-creation of social inclusion amongst families with children in preschools. PhD project at Nord University and Levanger Municipality, Norway.
  • Health promotion at the local level: From disease prevention to community development (Edited book)
  • A life in the community for people with severe mental health problems: An exploration of young people's views on processes of citizenship and recovery. Collaboration between Equality research collective, Ghent University, Belgium, University of Bergen and NTNU
  1. Special Issue: "Promoting Well-Being, Health Equity, and Citizenship through Inclusive Democratic Innovation" in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  2. Special Issue: "Promoting Recovery, Citizenship and Well-being in Substance Use Issues and Mental Health among Young Adults" in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  3. Special Issue: “Co-production and co-creation: Perspectives, forms of practice, and contexts, Vol. I and II”. Academic Quarter: Journal of Humanistic Research
  4. Special Issue: Psychology for the Common Good: The Interdependence of Citizenship, Justice, and Well-being across the Globe. Frontiers in Psychology

Nordic Journal of Wellbeing and Sustainable Welfare Development is a scientific interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary journal that focuses on social conditions and services that promote wellbeing, participation and citizenship at multiple levels: locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Promising practices

Local practices

Example from neighbourhood:

  • In the place-based public service “From stairway to stairway” in Århus municipality, Denmark, an interdisciplinary team work together to support wellbeing and community connectedness among some of the district's most vulnerable families.

Examples from municipality:

  • Wigan in the UK has developed a “Deal”, where the municipality’s strategic master plan serves as a community contract between the municipality, actors in the local community and the citizens. "The Wigan Deal" is concentrated on “Our People, Our Place, Our Future”, stating that all actors and stakeholders in the borough play a part in the change they want to see. The Deal describe the various parties' responsibilities in achieving common missions, where health, wellbeing and equity is placed at the heart. 

Experiences from the Wigan Deal.

  • In their strategy "Rock-scissors-paper", Trondheim Municipality has emphasized the importance of strengthening the community connectedness of children and intergenerational support as a foundation for societal development. The strategy is co-created with citizens and local communities, where also NGO´s and private actors have committed to contribute to common missions and social sustainability.

National practices

  • New Zealand has developed the world's first "wellbeing budget" with a focus on human rights and sustainable development and is a leading nation in the global community of “wellbeing governments”.

International practices

  • The Wellbeing Government (WeGo) network is an international collaboration between countries who commit to working together, sharing best practices and examples and building capacity to promote wellbeing, sustainability and social justice as their ultimate public values.