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Sustainable universities and higher education



Universities are central parts of the sustainability agenda in at least two ways: 

  1. Universities for sustainable development. As hubs for developing and disseminating knowledge about sustainable paths forward across society, by focusing on sustainability issues as the object and content of research and education. 
  2. Universities as sustainable development. Universities as institutions signify and embody the difficulty of constantly gearing up for as yet unknown challenges and the need to continually challenge the status quo in order to develop widespread sustainable development. 

This working group will examine how universities across Europe are engaging with sustainability agendas and the different types of the relationships between concepts of sustainability, management, staff and students.


Plan of work to be completed during 2020 and to bring to the workshop on 14-16 December 2020


As an introductory and grounding exercise, the group will try to pull a list of topics together that the members find most pressing, inspiring or provoking related to the university and sustainability challenges. Linked to this list of topics we will develop a list of key references both of an academic nature and also drawing from a broader spectrum of policy, art, movies or things that tickle our interest. 

We will be able to present tentative insights from this bringing together of insights and pressing topics at the December workshop. 




Yet unidentified, but we would like to get in contact with both local, national and European higher level university leaders in order to understand their thoughts on this topic. 


Plans between December 2020 and the final conference in December 2021


Webinars on sustainability & higher education futures

  • Sustainability and higher education in a Nordic perspective. Keynotes: Claus Holm DPU/AU, Stefan Bengtsson, Uppsala University
  • Sustainability and higher education in a European Perspective. Keynotes. Katrien Van Poeck and Marco Rieckmann. 


Co-organized webinar with the Centre for Environmental Humanities, Aarhus University


  • Environmental and sustainability education past, present and future challenges