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We can only do it together: Addressing global sustainability challenges through a collaborative paradigm

Avery, Helen LU and Nordén, Birgitta LU (2020) The 5th World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities
Abstract
Urgent structural change is required in higher education, to allow collaboration both within and across universities, so that achieving rapid sustainability transition can become not only the overarching but the main purpose of education, research and work in society. A review of the literature reveals that fragmentation caused by traditional hierarchical faculty and disciplinary organisation is a major obstacle to such goals. Additionally, universities today operate under a competitive paradigm which prevents the transfer and application of available knowledge, as well as blocking the development of new knowledge and coherent futureoriented approaches. Fragmentation and competition prevent universities from pooling resources,... (More)
Urgent structural change is required in higher education, to allow collaboration both within and across universities, so that achieving rapid sustainability transition can become not only the overarching but the main purpose of education, research and work in society. A review of the literature reveals that fragmentation caused by traditional hierarchical faculty and disciplinary organisation is a major obstacle to such goals. Additionally, universities today operate under a competitive paradigm which prevents the transfer and application of available knowledge, as well as blocking the development of new knowledge and coherent futureoriented approaches. Fragmentation and competition prevent universities from pooling resources, understanding phenomena holistically and using systemic approaches in the way we address major challenges. Political agendas, funding priorities, as well as existing mechanisms of dissemination and evaluation of academic activity contribute to inertia. Rather than applying fragmented sustainability goals within rigid silo structures, it is therefore argued that action for sustainability needs to be coordinated among academic actors, horizontally and diagonally. This requires spaces for concertation and strategical thinking. Insights achieved in strong sustainability research environments need to direct efforts, and priority must be given to structures, networks and research that already enable concertation and collaboration. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
in press
subject
keywords
higher education, research policy, sustainability transitions, future-oriented methodology, strategic systemic thinking, collaborative paradigm
conference name
The 5th World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities
conference location
Visby, Sweden
conference dates
2020-08-26 - 2020-08-28
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
98482acd-93ef-4da6-a4da-f634cd444a92
date added to LUP
2019-12-25 00:15:51
date last changed
2020-01-07 11:17:33
@misc{98482acd-93ef-4da6-a4da-f634cd444a92,
  abstract     = {Urgent structural change is required in higher education, to allow collaboration both within and across universities, so that achieving rapid sustainability transition can become not only the overarching but the main purpose of education, research and work in society. A review of the literature reveals that fragmentation caused by traditional hierarchical faculty and disciplinary organisation is a major obstacle to such goals. Additionally, universities today operate under a competitive paradigm which prevents the transfer and application of available knowledge, as well as blocking the development of new knowledge and coherent futureoriented approaches. Fragmentation and competition prevent universities from pooling resources, understanding phenomena holistically and using systemic approaches in the way we address major challenges.  Political agendas, funding priorities, as well as existing mechanisms of dissemination and evaluation of academic activity contribute to inertia. Rather than applying fragmented sustainability goals within rigid silo structures, it is therefore argued that action for sustainability needs to be coordinated among academic actors, horizontally and diagonally. This requires spaces for concertation and strategical thinking. Insights achieved in strong sustainability research environments need to direct efforts, and priority must be given to structures, networks and research that already enable concertation and collaboration. },
  author       = {Avery, Helen and Nordén, Birgitta},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {We can only do it together: Addressing global sustainability challenges through a collaborative paradigm},
  year         = {2020},
}