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International Development Research @ Cambridge


Hacking; Innovation; System Design; Department of Engineering; School of Technology

Paulo Savaget is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Industrial Sustainability, Institute for Manufacturing/ Department of Engineering/ Hughes Hall, a Gates Scholar and a Visiting Professor at Fundação Dom Cabral.

Paulo’s research is placed at the intersection between innovation, sustainability, and system design, covering topics such as sustainable innovations, circular economy and sociotechnical transitions. For his PhD, he is currently developing a new concept, Hacking Sustainability, to refer to the means of circumventing formal and informal rules of sociotechnical systems in the pursuit of sustainable outcomes. 

Paulo is committed to contributing to a more socially inclusive and environmentally resilient world not only through his research, but also by directly helping nonprofits and businesses through his experience as a lecturer, consultant and entrepreneur. His drive to impact the lives of the world’s poorest 3 billion people is shown by the nonprofit project he leads, FA.VELA, which, funded by the British government, aims to accelerate sustainable businesses of low-income entrepreneurs and to foster urban resilience in Belo Horizonte (Brazil). He is also conducting Action Research with the nonprofit ColaLife - which piggybacks fast-moving consumer goods to deliver anti-diarrhoea kits to remote areas.  Prior to his PhD, Paulo co-founded four companies and conducted award-winning consultancy work for large companies, for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), for nonprofits, for government agencies and for research institutes.

Paulo’s concerns with a more sustainable world were acquired in an early age in his home country, Brazil, where inequality is evident and ecosystem services are taken for granted. He soon realized that the concrete sustainability challenges are essentially heterogeneous and complex. This diversity is what inspires him to promote participation, equality, and resilience in his research and entrepreneurial projects and to now contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals through the participation in Cambridge Global Challenges. 

Welcome to Cambridge Global Challenges

Cambridge Global Challenges is the Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with a particular focus on the poorest half of the world’s population.


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