There is at present in Europe no single organization or setting, which coordinates efforts in the field of sustainability science teaching and research on the continent, in an integrated way. Yet, much could be gained if the extensive body of knowledge, expertise and resources which European universities currently have available, could be consolidated, with a view to strengthening their profiles, activities, and scientific outputs. It is on the basis of the need to address this gap, that the “European School of Sustainability Science and Research” (ESSSR) has been created.
AIMS OF THE EUROPEAN SCHOOL OF SUSTAINABILITY SCIENCE AND RESEARCH
Consistent with the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the many requirements to be fulfilled so as to allow its implementation, the aims of ESSSR are as follows:
I. to provide a platform for universities to discuss the contribution of Sustainability Science and Research towards the implementation of the SDGs;
II. to mobilise universities working with sustainable development, to gather, deliberate and implement joint initiatives, especially online courses, research projects and specialist publications, which show how Sustainability Science and Research can help to achieve the SDGs;
III. to contribute to the education of next generation of sustainability scientists, by means of on-line courses and joint PhD programmes on sustainability science
A further aim of ESSSR is to link European sustainability researchers with their counterparts in other parts of the world (north-south and south-south cooperation on sustainable development). ESSSR strengthens interdisciplinary research on sustainability issues, and also paves the way for post-doctoral positions and fellowships across its members.
STRUCTURE OF THE EUROPEAN SCHOOL OF SUSTAINABILITY SCIENCE AND RESEARCH
The main office of the ESSSR in Hamburg (Germany), based at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences. Consistent with the need to ensure a balanced collaboration, it is structured as follows.
The Chairperson and Head of School (Prof Walter Leal, HAW Hamburg) coordinates the ESSSR and oversees research projects on sustainability science.
- Deputy Head 1: Digitally-oriented courses: new courses on sustainability science (University of Malta)
- Deputy Head 2: Research publications on sustainability science (University of Coimbra, Portugal and Uppsala University, Sweden)
- Deputy Head 3: Joint training of PhD students and post-doctoral fellows on sustainability science (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
Whereas the Chairperson catalyses, encourages and oversees all activities of ESSSR, the Deputy Heads, spread across well-established European universities, are responsible for the coordination of each thematic area.