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Spring Campus Conference 2020

Commitments for Future: Sustainability in Higher Education

+++ Please note the new date for the event +++

From August 31 - September 4, 2020, Freie Universität Berlin will host the fifth Spring Campus Conference of the University Alliance for Sustainability.

Program focus and objectives

In 2019, social movements raised the awareness of climate change and sustainability in public and scientific discourse, urging political leaders, business executives, and public institutions to “act now, not later”. This discourse has also reached Higher Education Institutions around the world. While sustainability has been increasingly rooted in research, teaching, and on the university campus, the current development has brought a new political and social dimension to campus:

-          How do universities as public institutions respond to calls for action from their community and stakeholders?

-          How do universities shape their governance structures in light of new participatory demands?

-          How does the current discourse impact the societal and political role of universities?

The Spring Campus Conference will address those commitment questions in key notes as well as in expert workshops focusing on the core pillars of Higher Education Institutions: research, teaching, campus & management, and transfer & outreach activities. During the conference, we will discuss the following topics:

-          Sustainable Finance

-          Education for Sustainable Development

-          Renewable Energy Innovations and Acceptance

-          Digitalization & Sustainability

We will present innovative sustainability research and teaching formats from various disciplines, facilitate inter- and transdisciplinary exchange, and foster dialogue with representatives from politics and business. This way, the Alliance hopes to contribute to spreading innovative ideas, interesting research, and sustainable campus solutions across the globe.

Program Design

The Opening Day (August 31) features keynote speeches from renowned experts as well as presentations from representatives from UAS partner universities. The talks will be followed by an interactive format encouraging discussion of the overarching topic.

On Tuesday and Wednesday (September 1 - 2), we will continue with a program of parallel research and management workshops. We are invited contributions from all disciplines.

+++ Due to the postponement of the conference we are currently in contact with all contributors regarding their availability for our new dates. Programs are preliminary and will be updated as necessary. +++

  • Workshop I: "Financial Markets and Sustainable Development in Times of Climate Change" organized by Kurt Hübner (University of British Columbia), Berthold Kuhn (Freie Universität Berlin) and Itay Fishhendler (Hebrew University)
  • Workshop II: "From Innovation to Acceptance: Challenges and Potentials of a Sustainable Energy Transition" organized by Dr. Maria Rosaria di Nucci and Bettina Tacke (Freie Universität Berlin)
  • Workshop III: "Higher Education for Sustainability in Turbulent Times organized by Prof. Inka Bormann, Dr. Mandy Singer-Brodowski and Nora Große (Freie Universität Berlin) and Robert VanWhynsberghe (University of British Columbia)
  • Workshop IV: "Universities on the Way to Climate Neutrality"organized by Andreas Wanke and Katrin Schweigel (Freie Universität Berlin)

Additionally, a PhD Conference will be organized, which will conclude the Spring Campus with a two-day meeting on Thursday and Friday (September 3-4).

  • PhD Workshop I: "Unlocking and Transitioning – Strategies and Policies for a Sustainable World" organized by Prof. Kurt Hübner (University of British Columbia)
  • PhD Workshop II: "Sustainable Development Research – an Interdisciplinary Chance or Challenge?" organized by PD Dr. Berthold Kuhn (Freie Universität Berlin)

PhD Training Sessions (Friday, September 4)

  • Training I: Training Session: Academic Writing and Publishing organized by Prof. Kurt Hübner (University of British Columbia)

  • Training II: Drafting of Research Proposals: Focus on Evaluation Criteria in the Context of Horizon2020/Horizon Europe organized by PD Dr. Berthold Kuhn (Freie Universität Berlin)

  • Training III: Shaping Sustainability Discourses through Academic Writing organized by Dr. Andrea Kölbel (Institute for Innovation and Technology (iit))

Program Overview

Please find last year's Program here.