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Symposium Interdisciplinarity for the Net-Zero transition

03>03 Nov. 2022
Register before 03-11-2022 9:00

This joint event will take stock of the past year and achievements towards its 2021 Call to Action towards the Net-Zero Transition. It will show that only by acting together, the research system can contribute to the goals of this transition. The chosen topic of the event is 'Interdisciplinarity', to conceptualise how various actors can co-operate.

It will focus on concrete actions taken by different actors in the research system (universities, research performing and funding organisations, policy makers) towards the Net-Zero Transition.


On 8 November 2021, at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), CESAER, the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), Science Europe and the University of Strathclyde organised a ‘Science for Net-Zero transition’ Symposium and launched a joint call for collective global action to tackle climate change by reducing and transitioning to Net-Zero emissions.

Six key areas were identified:

  • Responding to the complexity of the Net-Zero challenges by addressing them in an interdisciplinary way.
  • Developing the next generation of students and researchers for the Net-Zero Transition.
  • Reducing our own organisational carbon footprint.
  • Supporting the Net-Zero transition in policymaking at all levels.
  • Improving the shared understanding of what needs to be done.
  • Facing the challenges together.

A full report on this challenge was published in March 2022, elaborating this vision.

The four partners have committed to reconvene at every COP to take stock of the progress made towards the Call to Action, as well as seek more partners to join their cause. This is why they are now organising a COP27 Symposium ‘Interdisciplinarity for the Net-Zero Transition’, alongside new partners: the European University Association (EUA) and the Network of Universities for the Capitals of Europe (UNICA).

About the Event

This open, online event has the following objectives:

  • Present the engagement of the promoting organisations for the Net-Zero Transition to their membership/constituencies.
  • Take stock of the progress towards the Call to Action and the partners’ commitment to its cause.
  • Engage other actors of the (European) research and higher education systems for the Net-Zero Transition.
  • Advocate to stakeholders the importance of acting together.

The proposed format for the event is as follows:

  1. A first panel discussion with experts from universities and research funding organisations, presenting practical examples of interdisciplinary projects necessary for the Net-Zero Transition from a researcher's perspective.
  2. A second panel discussion with policy experts discussing how the results of interdisciplinary projects are shared with policy makers and society to lead the Net-Zero Transition at the national, regional, and global level.
  3. A final panel discussion with the Presidents of each partner organisation. In this session, a keynote speaker will present the Sci4Net0 Call to Action and the new partners involved. The moderators of the first two sessions will then report key messages from the first two panels. The Presidents will take stock of the progress made towards the Call to Action and present concrete actions and how they (can) act together to enhance the Net-Zero Transition.

The objective is to show the importance of acting together, presenting concrete interdisciplinary actions for the Net-Zero Transition.

Draft programme

14.00–14.05 Opening and welcome, by Lidia Borrell-Damián (Science Europe)

14.05–14.50 Panel I: the vision of research funders and universities

Panellists will discuss practical examples of interdisciplinary projects necessary for the Net-Zero Transition from a researcher's perspective.

  • Moderated by Douglas HALLIDAY, Durham University & EUA Green Deal task-and-finish group
  • Matthew LAWSON, University of Edinburgh and coordinator of the UNICA Green & SDGs working group.
  • Alberto GARRIDO, Vice-Rector for Quality and Efficiency at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and Secretary of CESAER Task Force Sustainability.
  • Malin MOBJÖRK, Senior Research Officer at Formas and Chair of the Science Europe’s working group on the Green and Digital Transition.
  • Elelwani RAMUGONDO, Acting Vice-Chancellor of Cape Town University (to be confirmed) .

14.50–15.35 Panel II: policy and international perspective

Panellists will be reflecting and discussing how the results of those interdisciplinary projects are communicated to policy makers and society in order to lead the Net-Zero Transition at the national, regional and global level.

  • Moderated by Nigel TOPPING, UN Climate Change High-Level Champions for COP26 (to be confirmed)
  • Pablo DEL RÍO, Researcher at CSIC (Spain) and member of Science Europe’s working group for the Green and Digital Transition.
  • Veronika Hunt SAFRANKOVA, Head of Brussels Office United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • Speaker from Tec de Monterrey (to be confirmed)
  • Matt DOLF, University of British Columbia), Chair of the Health Promoting Campuses (to be confirmed)

15.35–15.50 break

15.50–17.15 Panel III: acting together for the Net-Zero Transition

(1) Moderators from Panel I and II reports the lessons learnt and propositions for improved collaboration between academic and non-academic players in society when contributing to the net-zero transition in an interdisciplinary way.

(2) Keynote presentation of the Sci4Net0 Call to Action and new partners.

(3) This session will be the opportunity for each organisation to reflect on the legacy of COP26 and look forward to COP27. The partners of the Call to Action will also be asked to present concrete evidence to take stock of the progress each organisation has made towards the Call to Action.

  • Moderated by Sir Jim McDonald (Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde) (to be confirmed)
  • Luciano SASO, President of UNICA 
  • Michael MURPHY, President of EUA 
  • Gisou VAN DER GOOT, President of International Sustainable Campus Network
  • Rik VAN DER WALLE, President of CESAER 
  • Angelika KALT, Vice-President of Science Europe (to be confirmed)

17.15–17.30 Concluding remarks and next steps

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