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One small step for LiU, one giant leap for sustainability

Environmental and sustainability research at Linköping University has been earmarked for more resources and a higher profile. A field of excellence with the working title of ‘LiU Expanding Sustainability’.

As yet nothing has been finalised, not the name, nor any official decisions. However there isn’t the slightest doubt that great enthusiasm and interest abounds to establish a field of excellence that focuses on environmental and sustainability research at Linköping University (LiU).

Representatives of the five departments that focus their research on the environment and sustainability attended a workshop, few days before Easter, to work on ideas for a new field of excellence to be called LiU Sustainable or perhaps even better, LiU Expanding Sustainability, these departments are:

Jenny Palm

We received a SEK 500,000 allocation of funds from the Vice-Chancellor to draft the guidelines for a field of excellence and we carried out some of that work at the workshop,” says Jenny Palm, Professor of Technology and Social Change and one of the organisers of the one-day workshop.

Discussions were animated and constructive, and the 25 LiU researchers who took part agreed that working together on sustainability would reap a number of advantages, such as better potential to apply for major, long-term research funding, provide greater clarity and a broad scientific platform that will also increase LiU’s attractiveness and facilitate recruitment of both researchers and students.

Naturally the hope is that the project will make a difference. Convening LiU’s proprietors of deep and broad expertise in environmental issues and building further on well-established interdisciplinary work methods, will result in scientific breakthroughs that will make an impression in both academia and society. This area comprises complex connections and systems so simple solutions do not exist.

Anders Wijkman, honorary doctor at the Division of Energy Systems, is one of those hoping that the initiative contributes to a conversion to true welfare. Wijkman explains,

“The benefits of using resources more efficiently are currently consumed by increased growth. We are simply buying time but what we really need is genuine change. A holistic approach is required, and we also need to find a model where developing countries are not the biggest losers."

Anders Carlsson, Research Communicator at the Department of Environmental Technology and Management, has worked and argued for a coordinated effort on sustainability and he is very satisfied with the workshop. Carlsson elaborates,


“LiU is currently ranked fifth best environmental university in the world. We want to build on that success by developing and demonstrating our wares. Top scientists and students interested in sustainability should see us as a natural choice."

The next step towards a field of excellence is to compile a report for the Vice-Chancellor aimed at receiving further funding to launch and run the initiative. The initiative will also be established more broadly at LiU where all researchers engaged in environment and sustainability work at LiU are welcome to participate, irrespective of their department.

There are also plans to launch a series of seminars and also to establish the initiative externally, with the region, research financiers and the industrial sector.

Anders Carlsson +46 13 28 18 01
Jenny Palm +46 13 28 56 15

Related links
Jenny Palm, Professor of Technology and Social Change  
Anders Carlsson Research Communicator

Monica Westman Svenselius 2012-04-11

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Last updated: 2016-10-26