Universities commit to the Sustainable Development Goals

Imagine a large hall full of people talking enthusiastically about how universities should and will commit to the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s happening right now at the University of Bergen.

We are here to explore how research, education and innovation will be a fundamental contribution towards reaching our goals, at the University of Bergen SDG Conference 2018, «Knowledge for our common future».

It’s inspiring. And it’s going to be quite a transition. We will move the research frontiers, provide education enabling today’s student generation to face the global challenges and work with a broad understanding of innovation as not only new technical solutions, but new ways of doing things, not least governing things, for the better of planet, people and prosperity.

It will take an interdisciplinary approach, to organisation, research, education and funding mechanisms. This is not instead of disciplinary depth and understanding, but a systems approach and an open, curious way of thinking about scientific efforts connecting expertise in exciting ways.

NMBU is ready to act and take responsibility in reaching the SDGs. We are committed and tailor-made through our scientific diversity and tradition and ability to work interdisciplinary and across sectors with complex and wicked problems such as the SDG’s. We are already organised in interdisciplinary departments.

We will work thoroughly with our curriculum to secure not only scientific depth, but a range of future skills, such as interdisciplinary ability, systems approach, working with and driving change, creativity and entrepreneurship.

And this needs to be done in a lifelong learning perspective. Change in today’s society is so fast, and yet, will never be as slow as it is today again. Everyone will have to learn and relearn throughout their lives. So to quote Jonas Wettre Thorsen, student leader at NMBU in today’s debate: «We have to educate not only students, but all people about all the dimensions of the SDGs.»

This is not a small transition, but it has to be done. We only have one planet.

Jonas Wettre Thorsen speaking at the SDG Bergen conference

Student leader at NMBU, Jonas Wettre Thorsen, addresses the audience at the UiB SDG Conference 2018.

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