Knowledge for a Better World:

The need for Sustainability and Collaboration in a disruptive age

This year's annual NTNU European Conference will be organized as an online event in collaboration with Elsevier and UniLiOn.

Publisert Sist oppdatert

Sustainability and the environment have been of primary concern for Europe for several years. The European Commission’s Green Deal and commitment towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are already driving European investments in research, education and innovation. These themes are also integrated into EU framework programs such as Horizon Europe (Research and Innovation) and ERASMUS+ (Education). 

The 5th edition of the annual NTNU European Conference will be organized as an online event in collaboration with Elsevier and UniLiOn [1] and it represents an opportunity to discuss the contribution that Universities can provide in terms of research, innovation and education to sustainable development. We have invited speakers and panelists that will bring insights on the European policies on Research and Innovation as well as policy makers and academic representatives to discuss sustainable models and approaches that can be applied in the future.

The conference will be organized in two sessions. The first will focus on the role of universities in research and innovation ecosystems, discussing possible models to effectively address specific SDGs critical to the Green Deal development. The second session will discuss how the European Universities Initiative can be an efficient vehicle to increase the impact of collaborative efforts across Europe in addressing sustainability and European competitiveness.

In the first session Anne Borg, President of NTNU will introduce the topics of discussion and Jean-Eric Paquet, Director-General of Research and Innovation [2] , will deliver an opening keynote presentation and define the trends and visions of the European commission in the upcoming framework program of Horizon Europe. His Directorate General is responsible for EU policies and related implementation investments on research Science and innovation with a view to create growth and jobs and to tackle Europe`s societal challenges especially after the unprecedented consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Looking at research trends and collaborations relative to the SDGs specific to the Green Deal – such as SDG7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG11 (sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 13 (climate action) – the conference intends to offer a glimpse into the rich knowledge value produced by academia at European and global level.

The second session will be opened by Marit Reitan, Vice Rector for Education at NTNU with an opening keynote by Themis Christophidou, Director-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture [3]. Her Directorate General is responsible for EU policies and related implementation investments through main flagship programs being the Erasmus +, Marie Sklodowska-Curie and Creative Europe.

The session will discuss the European Universities Initiative launched in 2017 by the European Commission as an instrument to improve students’ mobility and intra universities research collaborations and how these can contribute to accelerate collaborative efforts addressing sustainability and European competitiveness. This initiative by the EU is calling on member states to strengthen strategic partnerships across Europe with combined education from different European countries and bottom up networks where student organizations, education institutions and the Commission can work together to co-develop programs following the European Education Plan. It will also increase collaboration and impact across Europe, and across the core missions of the universities: education, research and innovation.

The European Universities Initiative from the European Commission today connects 270 universities across Europe in 41 European Universities supported by both Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020. NTNU is partner of ENHANCE – the European Universities of Technology Alliance, one of the awarded European Universities.

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[1] UnILiON - Universities Informal Liaison Offices Network which was founded in 2017 by NTNU Brussels Office in collaboration with the offices of FU Berlin and A4EU. Today it includes 53 member offices representing more than 150 Universities all over Europe



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