Member meeting explores interdisciplinary education for sustainable development

plus Students working in a group

On 31 May, SDSN Northern Europe held its second member meeting of the year, focusing on inter- and transdisciplinary education for sustainable development. The meeting aimed to facilitate learning and resource sharing within the network. 

In a recent online gathering of SDSN Northern Europe members, the focus was on inter- and transdisciplinary education for sustainable development. Here’s a summary of the key highlights:

SDG Academy – a valuable resource for education on SDGs
Patrick Paul Walsh, SDSN VP of Education and Director of SDG Academy, showcased the SDG Academy as SDSN’s flagship initiative for education on sustainable development. SDG Academy offers a wealth of free online courses on sustainable development and it stands on four pillars

  • Content, where the building block is free online courses on sustainable development.
  • Pedagogy & Training, including an SDG library for SDSN members, online masters level training, a master’s programme in sustainable development, and teacher training together with the SDSN Global Schools program.
  • Community, through for example the Global Classroom, partnerships with e.g. UN member states, UNESCO, and UN Academic Impact, and the Mission 4.7 initiative.
  • Thought Leadership, including a high-level advisory council and continuous efforts to get science into policy.

Agenda 2030 Graduate School at Lund University
Ylva Van Meeningen, Research Administrator at the Agenda 2030 Graduate School, presented an overview of the interdisciplinary research school at Lund University. The graduate school offers eight interdisciplinary PhD courses each year, promoting collaboration across faculties and supporting full funding for PhD student positions. Though facing challenges related to institutional boundaries, the graduate school presents an opportunity to encourage cross-faculty collaboration and break down silos.

Innovation for Sustainability PhD Program at Oslo MET
Astrid Skjerven, Professor and Academic Programme Coordinator at Oslo MET, introduced the Innovation for Sustainability program, a newly established interdisciplinary and project-oriented PhD program. The program aims to utilise innovation as a tool for sustainability and encourages applicants from diverse academic backgrounds. Strong collaborations with the public sector and industry are crucial components of the program.

Just Transitions Graduate School
Stefan Holmlid, Professor at Linköping University, presented the Just Transitions Graduate School. This pioneering initiative aims to deepen understanding of how a just climate transition can be implemented at the local level. The five-year program spans multiple academic disciplines and tackles crucial themes such as urban planning, justice, and research methods. The graduate school also establishes a Swedish platform for just climate transitions, which will be accessible to both doctoral students and professionals.

The meeting included a lively discussion on the challenges and opportunities associated with in-person, hybrid, and online education, inter- and transdisciplinary education, and incorporating practice and policy into academia. Participants highlighted the importance of staying up to date with policy developments and promoting flexibility in graduate education programs.

Furthermore, the SDSN Northern Europe secretariat shared news updates, including the launch of the Net Zero on Campus guide and toolkit, recommendations from the UN Secretary-General to accelerate progress on the SDGs, a workshop on strengthening the EU’s leadership on the SDGs, and a pilot project implementing the SDG Impact Assessment Tool in municipalities. Additionally, it was revealed that President Halonen’s new book on sustainability science, produced in collaboration with the University of Helsinki and other partners, will soon be available in English for educational use in universities.

The next SDSN Northern Europe member meeting is scheduled for 11 October, 2023.


More reading

The member meeting from 8 March: How to become a nature-positive university? >>

SDSN logotype