Who benefits from genetically-modified crops? Will there be enough water for people to survive this century? What are the implications of the HIV/AIDS pandemic? These are just some of the questions that the STEPS Centre – a new global research and policy hub based at the University of Sussex in the UK – is asking. This short document provides an overview of the approach that STEPS is taking as it seeks to grapple with two of the most pressing challenges of contemporary times: linking environmental sustainability with poverty reduc-tion and social justice, and making science and technology work for the poor. Intended for anyone wanting a quick insight into the Centre’s work, it highlights key elements of the Centre’s ‘pathways approach’, how this approach inter-weaves the themes of systems dynamics, governance and designs, and the practical implications for the distinctive styles of interactive, engaged research that the Centre is undertaking.