The University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) is a teaching and research institution officially founded in 1985, employing over 7,000 people throughout 31 faculties and schools geographically distributed in three campuses with over 50,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. It is the only public university in the Basque Country, thus holding the responsibility to provide tertiary education both in Spanish and Basque to its society.
The University of the Basque Country has recently adopted a new strategic plan (2012) which places sustainability as a key organising principle.
The University of the Basque Country has a record of participating in the Alfa, Tempus, UE/Canada, Leonardo and other European projects, as well as projects from the sixth and seventh Framework Programme. It is managing around 7,254,442€ in European projects, more than 1,000,000E in mobility grants for different mobility programmes including undergraduate exchanges both with European and third countries, graduate and staff exchanges. The university has long lasting experience in the erasmus programme, and has been partner in several erasmus academic networks. At present, it is partner in the EUI Net Network and the EC2E2N Chemistry Network.
For the last four years, the University has had a Vice-Chancellorship for Students, Employment and Social Responsibility, entrusted with mainstreaming education for sustainability in the university teaching research, and in the managing of university life.
University research must respond to social challenges by integrating sustainability criteria and the scientific activity at the UPV/EHU in sustainable and human development has increased.
As regards including Education for Sustainability in the university curriculum, different workshops with university academic staff have been held.
In 2013, a book entitled “La sostenibilidad desde la universidad: una reflexion interdisciplinar” (Sustainability and the University: an Interdisciplinary Reflection) has been published. It seeks to transmit the importance that the sustainability concept has in the understanding of such different areas as Law, Architecture, Linguistics, Sociology or Chemistry, among 11 academic disciplines. The aim has been to conduct a transversal reflection on sustainability, which will be further developed in the near future, in order to bring scientific knowledge to society.
Our university has the UNESCO Chair for Sustainable Development and Environmental Education, whose Director, Professor Miren Onaindia, is the staff member of this project.
The aim of the Chair is to encourage applied research, teaching, and specialist surveys on topics relating to Sustainable Development and Environmental Education, from an inter-disciplinary viewpoint examining natural sciences, and also social sciences and technology.
Research and other activities promoted by the Chair are focused on understanding and resolution of problems related to sustainable development in the Basque Country, specially in Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, a region pretended to be reference site for experience essays and demonstrations.
Transmission of knowledge and research results on these topics to general society, to competent administration and to implicated stakeholders is aspect in which the Chair would like to influence.
The Chair also intends to promote scientific cooperation and transference of results and experiences on sustainable development through Chair and Biosphere Reserve networks, both belonging to UNESCO, and through other network to which University and its researchers belong.
The UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Development and Environmental Education offers the postgraduate degree Expert in Environment and Sustainability (the fifth edition for the academy year 2012-2013). This postgraduate degree has been acknowledged with 30 credits and it is imparted at the Faculty of Science and Technology, University of the Basque Country.
The Chair edits the annual Journal Forum of Sustainability (ISSN: 1887-9810). Under the common topic of Sustainable Development, this journal publishes several types of articles. "Analysis" section compiles theoretical or opinion articles, on a topic proposed for each volume. Each volume will announce the subject for the next one. "Articles" section compiles works that describe and analyse results of concrete research studies. Finally, "Opinion" section will compile scientific-technical opinions on sustainable development.
Role of UPV in the project:
- Contribute to the mapping exercise in Spain.
- Assist in the development of an online platform of resources as well as get familiarised and review the online tool.
- Contribute to the bi-annual newsletters.
- Provide feedback to the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework.
- Contribute to the dissemination and exploitation of the project outputs, outcomes and future network activities.
- Participate and actively contribute to the discussions generated in regional and annual meetings, seminars and conference.
Operational and financial management:
- The project team will coordinate the above administrative and academic project activities.
- Financial administration will be handled by project team who will liaise internally with the institution’s finance department.