UBC and Freie Universität Berlin Collaborative PhD Opportunity

University Alliance for Sustainability: Spring Campus 2017 “Societal Transformation to Sustainability: Universities as Pacesetters“

From March 27-31 Freie Universität will host the second Spring Campus event of the University Alliance for Sustainability on the topic “Societal Transformation to Sustainability: Universities as Pacesetters?”

Following a whole institution approach, the Spring Campus brings together researchers, management staff, as well as PhD candidates and students to contribute to a lively discussion of the event’s topic.

Program focus and objectives

In 2016 in Paris all member states of the United Nations adopted a historic decision on a comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centered set of universal and transformative sustainable development goals and targets (SDGs) to be implemented by 2030. The need for extensive change – a societal transformation indeed – has been widely acknowledged by politics and science.

Ideas on how to achieve this goal differ considerably. The challenge of realizing the transformation to a sustainable society calls for multi-level coordination, involving multiple stakeholders, managing change at different rates and scales. During the Spring Campus we will address the questions:

  • What changes would be regarded as transformative? How can a societal transformation be achieved that is socially accepted and politically feasible?
  • Who are the stakeholders that need to be involved and what can governance for transformation look like?
  • What is the role and responsibility of higher education organizations and how can they become active leaders? How can universities unfold their potential to foster interdisciplinary cooperation and lead transformative change?

During the conference we aim to build a scientific understanding of transformative change, offering scientists the opportunity to connect for solution-oriented research and be part of growing a network of informed and inspired university stakeholders that bring change to their home institutions.

Program Design

The Opening Day invites all participants of the Spring Campus to attend. It features keynote speeches from renowned experts as well as presentations from representatives from UAS partner universities. The talks will be followed by a panel discussion on the overall topic, elaborating on the question of the relevance of universities in the societal transformation to sustainability.

On Tuesday and Wednesday (March 28 and 29) we will continue with a program of four parallel research and management workshops. Please klick on the workshops for further information.

Workshop I: “Governing by Numbers – The Role of Indicators, Data and Empirical Evidence in the Political Transformation to Sustainability” chaired by Prof. Philipp Lepenies (FUB)

Workshop II: “Managing Responsibility of Research at Universities” chaired by Dr. Klaus Jacob (FUB)

Workshop III: “Climate Change in Cities: Mitigation and Adaptation” chaired by Prof. Sahar Sodoudi (FUB)

Workshop IV “Feasible or Illusion: Economic Globalization and Decarbonization?” chaired by Prof. Kurt Hübner (UBC), Dr. Achim Brunnengräber (FUB)

Workshop V: “Participation as Trigger for Committed University Communities” chaired by Andreas Wanke, Katrin Risch (FUB)

Additionally, a PhD Conference will be organized, which will complete the Spring Campus with a two-day meeting.

A PhD Workshop will be chaired by Prof. Kurt Hübner (UBC). Further information will follow soon.

  • Call for Abstracts (kurt.huebner@ubc.ca)

During the previous Spring Campus in 2016 more than 120 researchers, practitioners and students from 19 universities, 8 institutes and 11 different countries contributed to the international sustainability discourse. We look forward to welcoming participants from all over the world to once again critically reflect on the role of universities as societal actors and their integral function for the great transformation.

Coming from different cultural and professional backgrounds, participants will also share experiences on how international networks can connect communities and trigger engagement in sustainability. In this way the Alliance hopes to contribute to spreading innovative ideas, interesting research and sustainable campus solutions across the globe and to spark extended dialogue between all stakeholders on campus and beyond.

Further information and a complete program of the Spring Campus 2017 will be available on this website soon. Until then we invite you to browse the documentation of the 2016 event.

Please find the registration form here