First Humboldtn School entitled "Climate Change-Risks and Adaptation" held in Bonn
Sixteen universities from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) have come together to form the Humboldtn sustainability initiative. The initiative’s first interdisciplinary summer school has now been held at the University of Bonn, with support provided by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the state of NRW.
The global climate crisis and the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations call for decisive action, which cannot be delivered without interand transdisciplinary dialogue between research and practice. This year’s first-ever Humboldtn School set out to promote this exchange by sharing some fundamental insights into food and energy security and sustainable land use through case studies and intensive interdisciplinary project work.
The Humboldtn School was attended by 33 doctoral students from NRW universities whose doctorates cover a wide range of different subjects. They were given a lot of food for thought by listening to keynote speeches by experts from research and practice and learning methods of transformation research. The summer school was geared toward making the early-career researchers more aware of the potential that their sustainability research offers for practical application.
Holger Burckhart, spokesperson for Humboldtn and Rector of the University of Siegen, explained: "The interdisciplinary Humboldtn School marks a further milestone in the sustainability initiative launched by the universities of North Rhine-Westphalia and is helping to raise awareness of sustainability issues among doctoral students in all fields. Discussing climate change and associated processes of transformation with the speakers and in the debates allowed participants to take away ideas for their own research processes and make new contacts."
The summer school was opened by the Rector of the University of Bonn, Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch, in his capacity as host of the first Humboldtn School. He had this to say: "I’m delighted that the University of Bonn, as a University of Excellence, is organizing the first-ever Humboldtn School. The issue of sustainability is front and center in our University’s Excellence Strategy and strategy for the future. For instance, we have our Sustainable Futures Transdisciplinary Research Area and our new Vice Rectorate for Sustainability under Professor Annette Scheersoi, complete with its very own unit. Being home to a University of Excellence, the Bonn Alliance for Sustainability Research and numerous UN institutions, Bonn is also unique anywhere in the world as a venue for the sustainability dialogue between research and policymaking."
Gonca Türkeli-Dehnert, State Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Science of NRW, explained the state’s engagement: "Sustainability research is important to the state government, and it’s good that the universities in the state have committed to pursuing this interdisciplinary task. In Humboldtn, a platform has been created that helps researchers to obtain and communicate key scientific findings. The state government is intent on supporting the Humboldtn initiative in this way."
The strategic partners of Humboldtn are the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy (Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt und Energie gGmbH) and the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts. The United Nations University (UNU-EDU) and key players from business and industry, such as the North Westphalian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, are also involved in the Humboldtn School. Participants who successfully complete the summer school receive a certificate. Now that it has come to an end, work will begin on developing the initial results further and getting them published.
The Humboldtn ("Humboldt to the power n") sustainability initiative sees its role as stimulating efforts to make intergenerational responsibility for sustainability and sustainable behavior an integral part of research, teaching, administration and infrastructure. Entirely in line with the philosophy of brothers Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt, it is redrawing the boundaries of scientific research, highlighting conflicting objectives in sustainability and trying out potential solutions. The aim is to integrate sustainability research across all locations as a joint program in basic and applied research at universities as well as in curricula by 2025. Via the Humboldtn School for doctoral students and postdocs, Humboldtn is helping to raise awareness of aspects of sustainability research among early-career researchers.
Contact for the Media:
Dr. Johanna Höhl