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Sustainability

The world in the 21st century is experiencing accelerating change in environment and climate, as well as in the technological, economic and social spheres. How can we ensure improved coupling between science and society for more effective transition to sustainability? Traditional disciplinary fields of ‘normal science’ can only play a limited role in resolving such complex problems, especially considering the prevailing rift between the natural and the social sciences.

Sustainability in law and policy at the University of Luxembourg today:

  • 2003 Law on the creation of the University of Luxembourg article 3 and article 16: Interdisciplinary approaches are stated as an organising principle for the University.
  • The Plan Quadriennal (2010-2013; 2014-2017): Integrate sustainable development within the organisation and foster interdisciplinary approaches in education and research
  • The current “vision” of the University has three pillars:
    • Digitalisation
    • International University
    • Sustainable integration of the University in Luxembourg

Accordingly, all three faculties of the University offer learning opportunities and research programmes that relate to our civilisation’s sustainability challenges in the 21st century

A brief history of sustainability at the University of Luxembourg:

  • 2006: Foundation of an informal bottom-up University Sustainable Development Group (SD)
  • 2008: A formal Working Group (WG) on SD was created. It expanded with student participation and the first position statement on energy and water-use in Belval was adopted by the rectorate and the Fonds de Belval.
  • 2009: The University Cell for Sustainable Development with a dedicated Head of SD, who reported to the President, was approved by the governing board. The University Strategic Action Plan on SD (2010-2013) was approved and implemented.
  • 2010: The University signs the ISCN-GULF “International Sustainable Campus Network Charter”. The idea was to reconnect campus and teaching as a test-bed for SD and to “walk the talk”. The University still is signatory today.
  • Until 2015: The following University SD Reports were published and can be downloaded here: 2009/2010; 2011/2012; 2013/2015.
  • 2018: Meeting of Prof. John Robinson with Rector Prof. Dr Stéphane Pallage and the administrative director Dr Monfardini to present proposals to reactivate ISCN-related activities and to build on and improve earlier University sustainability strategies with current ideas on curriculum innovation, campus as test-bed and the Univeristy as change agent. The proposal was supported in general terms.

In Luxembourg, salient disciplinary research and teaching to describe specific sustainability challenges that are set in specific systems is established, and the development of key interdisciplinary research areas including on transport/mobility, health economics, ecological economics, economic geography, socio-economics and demography studies, and Green ICT is well underway.

There is however relatively little research that combines natural science and engineering with critical perspectives from social sciences and humanities on the functioning of our society. This is however required in order to better understand and act upon complex social-ecological systems. 

A new field of transformative sustainability science is emerging, in which researchers, civil society, private enterprise, and governments collaborate with the goal of transforming how society and environment interact.

Universities with their combined mission of research, teaching and civic engagement have a pivotal role to play in building this new mode of scientific inquiry.

  • Dr. Ariane König
  • SOCIAL ENTERPRISE AND SOCIAL INNOVATION
  • Certificate in Sustainable Development and Social Innovation
  • Global Environmental Change in the Anthropocene
  • Scenario Worksho
  • Special Guest: The Grand Duchesse
  • Science and citizens meet challenges of sustainability