Norwegian Life Sciences University Opens Transdisciplinary Sustainability Hub

Last week I was part of the long awaited launch of NMBU´s Sustainability Hub. The Hub is a bold attempt by the university to connect all 7 faculties around wicked sustainability challenges in ways that are relevant to the local community and include the voices of the students and of societal stakeholders.

After an introduction of the Dean of Sustainability (NMBU is one of the few Universities in the world who has such a Dean), Professor Astrid Sinnes, and a short talk by myself delivered as a Visiting Professor at NMBU in which I started the journey to this moment in time with the 1972 Stockholm Conference and the report of the Club of Rome, more than 50(!) years ago, Professor Siri Ellen Hallstrom Eriksen sketched the intitial ideas and plans for the hub as an unfolding and emergent property that needs to be cocreated.

Still, the NMBU Sustainability Hub has the following initial objectives:

The Hub initiates, connects and supports innovative research, education and societal engagement in sustainability challenges using a Whole Institution Approach (WIA)

The Hub develops, critiques and supports evolving practices of sustainability in research, education, operations, societal engagement and professional development of staff

The Hub facilitates critical debate and reflection at the interface of science and society on sustainability in higher education

The Hub provides resources and support for capacity building of students and staff seeking to develop their sustainability competences

The Hub contributes to knowledge creation by participating in (inter)national research and professional development networks and initiatives of working on sustainability in higher education

It seeks to realize them by:

Providing a window/portal sharing evolving institutional practices of its partners/members and the resources, tools, modules, etc. they use;

Creating spaces both virtual and real where people working on sustainability in HEIs can meet, dialogue, co-create, innovate, reflect and connect;

Identifying and linking key staff members in all partner institutions working on the various components;

And, by eventually becoming a key innovation node in Norway for the advancement of sustainability in higher education by participating in and organizing networks, living labs, innovation hubs/arenas.

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