Leuphana University of Lüneburg (ULG), Germany, is represented by the Institute for Environmental and Sustainability Communication (Institut für Umweltkommunikation, INFU) and its affiliated UNESCO Chair in Higher Education for Sustainable Development.
INFU is active for more than 15 years in research and teaching in contributing to theory building and professionalization of sustainability communication. Inter- and transdisciplinary processes have a central role in these endeavours. The work of the institute aims at advancing individual, institutional and collective competencies for shaping the future in the context of the challenges of global environmental change and sustainable development. The four research fields of the institute are communication and sustainable development; governance, participation and sustainable development; new media and sustainable development; and politics and sustainable development. The research of the institute is characterised by inter- and transdisciplinarity. The projects are located within the broad field of sustainability communication and examine the various areas of education such as kindergarten/pre-school, schools or higher education, business or international networks. In addition, projects also take up questions of policy making, participation and cooperation, as well as the new media.
The field of work ‚Communication & Sustainable Development’ focuses on the development of individual and institutional competencies for shaping the future. The research contributes to scientific theory building in sustainability communication. Effects of various communication strategies are analysed and new approaches are developed. In this, research questions which pertain to individuals as well as institutions are addressed. In essence, research is conducted in these areas: sustainability communication; education for sustainable development; university development in the context of sustainable development, affiliated with the UNESCO Chair ‚Higher Education for Sustainable Development’; sustainable consumption, corporate communication, and nature conservation communication.
Since its inauguration in 2005, the UNESCO Chair in Higher Education for Sustainable Development is active to stimulate international debate about the meaning of sustainability as a paradigm for higher education institutions. Four international conferences (2005 and 2011 in Germany, 2007 in Mexico, 2009 in Malaysia) discussed various aspects, among them regional interpretations of sustainability needs. The 4th international conference »Higher Education for Sustainable Development: Moving the Agenda Forward« took place from 14-16 September 2011 in Lüneburg. On the European level, the UNESCO Chair was one of the drivers that helped to re-establish the COPERNICUS Alliance as a NGO under German law in 2009. On the national level, the UNESCO Chair has been influencing higher education policy for sustainable development. As a member of the German working group on higher education of the UN Decade Education for Sustainable Development, the Chair continues to work on the inclusion of sustainability as a paradigm for higher education in Germany. On the institutional level, the activities of the Chair have helped to realise aspects of sustainability within the university itself. In teaching and learning, the focus is to foster inter- and transdisciplinary education and research. For example, by implementing the module ‘Science and Responsibility’, an obligatory sustainability module for all first-semester students, or by offering a Minor Course in Sustainability Sciences in the Leuphana Bachelor programme.
During the last years the institute has been engaged in topics of (higher) education for sustainable development in a wide range of projects, such as:
Analysing sustainability competencies of students
Greenpeace sustainability barometer: What moves the youth?
Implementation of Sustainability into Research and Teaching of Higher Education Institutions in Eastern Europe
Academic partnership for the conservation of biodiversity
Promoting Knowledge in Times of Global Change - A Platform on Transdisciplinary Sustainability Sciences
ISPoS - Interdisciplinary Study Program on Sustainability
Indicators for Education for Sustainable Development
Educational Institutions and Sustainable Consumption
Teaching Sustainability in Higher Education
Education for Sustainable Development in Non-Formal Education Institutions
Virtual Campus for a Sustainable Europe
International DAAD-Alumni Seminar „Education for Sustainable Development and Biodiversity“
Virtual Copernicus Campus – e-Learning for Sustainability in the European Higher Education Area
Alfa – Project “Programa de Maestría Internacional en Desarrollo y Gestión Sustentable“ (International Master “Sustainable Development and Management”) of the network ELaN (European-Latinamerican Network for Sustainable Development)
Role of ULG in the project:
- SG member and coordinator of the western region: provide input to all WPs; make strategic decisions during the life of the project; host a SG meeting; coordinate the network’s activities in the western region; ensure that partners in the western region deliver the tasks in good quality and within the timescales and budget identified; organise the western regional meeting in month 5; develop the mapping report in the western region; identify leading practice in the region.
- Leader of work package (WP) 2 – Mapping the field: organise the template meeting in Germany; provide input on how to map the field; coordinate the mapping exercise in Germany and complete the template for data collection; develop the mapping report in the western region and state of the art report.
- Leader of WP8 – Explotation: coordinate the exploitation of project outputs, outcomes and future network activities; seat of policy platforms and forums to present the network developments; develop a sustainability plan for the network.
- Contribute to leading practice publication and online platform of resources.
- Contribute to framing and trialing the academy for ESD in HE.
- Assist in the dissemination of all network developments, products and materials at the international, European and national level.
Operational and financial management:
- The project team will coordinate the above administrative and academic project activities.
- Financial administration at ULG will be handled by the project management team who will liaise internally with the department’s allocated accountant from Leuphana’s finance department.