On May 25 the Universities South Sweden Brussels office organised The Green and Digital Transition: A research perspective in the Nordic House, Brussels. With welcoming remarks from Ann-Charlotte Larsson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor responsible for internationalisation and innovation, and societal driving force at Linnaeus University in her capacity as chair of the Universities in South Sweden Brussels network the session was opened. A session which came to focus not only on the research of the two speakers but the importance of engaging with society in order to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Emphasis was placed on widening the perspective from the Europe-centricness to a global perspective in order to truly tackle the challenges.
Following the introductory remarks Kevin Bishop, Professor at the Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment; Division of Geochemistry and Hydrology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) gave his presentation on Big open ecosystem science for the Green Deal – one careful field study at a time. Followed by the presentation from Carl Magnus Olsson, Associate Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Media Technology at Malmö University on Calling for trustworthy and intelligent systems to drive the evidence-based digital transition.
Both presentations provided research perspectives on the policy matters currently highlighted in the European policy context. Nevertheless, for researchers to be able to prioritise bringing evidence informing policymaking, Universities must both merit the work and review how the Universities themselves work to become more digital whilst working to decrease the climate impact. Ann-Charlotte Larsson, therefore, brought these two aspects to light in her presentation on the role of universities in the transition.
Following the presentations, the session transitioned into a panel discussion with the core topic of evidence-informed policymaking. Kevin highlighted the importance of evidence-informed policymaking, and that citizen science is crucial to achieve the green transition and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Carl Magnus emphasised that SMEs:s need more support to challenge the big companies to become greener and fairer. Ann-Charlotte underlined the importance of universities’ support of curiosity-driven research and creative, critical thinking driven by intersectional research collaborations. Common for all speakers, triggered by Stijn Verleyen, session co-moderator working at the Joint Research Center, was the need to both engage better in the policy dialogue and the need for the policymakers to better request and value scientific evidence.
The session conclusions were that there is a need for excellent research to make the transition to both green and digital a reality, however, it will not reach its full potential if there is not an ongoing dialogue with the policymakers and society not only in Europe but globally.
The session was moderated by Stijn Verleyen Coordinator for interinstitutional relations at the European Commission DG Joint Research Centre (JRC) and Caroline Sundberg EU Policy Officer for the Universities in South Sweden Brussels office.
The presentations from the speakers can be read by following the link