On December 9, 2020, the DECODE Sustainability project hosted its formal kick-off meeting. Funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ Program KA2, the DECODE project aims at fostering the institutionalisation of Sustainable Development (SD) in university departments to spearhead their contributions to sustainability, which are key in addressing challenges in European societies, industries and economies.
The DECODE Sustainability project will develop a tool-based process to ensure an innovative, relevant and dynamic upskilling and collaborative approach that stimulates entrepreneurial and engaged thinking and acting in deans, aiming at strengthening their commitment and decisions towards increasing sustainability impacts. The main aim of the DECODE Sustainability project is creating departmental governance changes that are effective and efficient in the creation of sustainability impact. For this purpose, the project will facilitate the identification and understanding of key challenges and opportunities in integrating SD into HEI departments; create a vibrant "sustainability community" of deans and their representatives; dissect the complex task of departmental SD integration into smaller pieces (process steps, tools); foster deans’ abilities to integrate SD as a corner stone of their academic unit; and create a clear path and decisions to increase departmental contributions to SD.
Following a short pre-kickoff meeting held some weeks earlier, the meeting was hosted online* and it was used to discuss the project’s current activities, major challenges and strategic directions on a more detailed level. In engaging discussions, the project partners made major steps forward, especially with respect to the development of the project’s branding, as well as the first Intellectual Output that will be created, namely the development of a Baseline Report on sustainability in higher education, with a focus placed on university faculties, departments and schools.
The kick-off meeting was the beginning of a three-year cooperation between the five consortium members. The DECODE project, which will last from 2020 to 2023, is led by the University Naples Federico II and ACEEU and the project consortium is composted by the University of Twente, the Riga Technical University and GUNi/ACUP (Global University Network for innovation).
Follow @GUNi_net on Twitter account and get updates and more information about the project. The website and other means of communication will be launched in the coming months.
*The virtually-held meeting replaced a physical meeting that was planned to be held at the University of Naples in Italy. The physical meeting had to be cancelled due to the current restrictions due to current restrictions against Covid-19.