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The role of higher education and research in climate action

Photo by Markus Spiske, retrieved from

On 3 November 2022, leading higher education and research networks— CESAER, the European University Association (EUA), the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), Science Europe, the Network of Universities from the Capitals of Europe (UNICA) and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow—organised the online symposium, Interdisciplinarity for the Net-Zero transition’ to discuss the role of universities in climate action. Organised as a lead up event to the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27), the symposium aimed to engage and mobilise actors and stakeholders across the higher education sector to achieve net zero transition.

This year’s symposium once again called for a stronger cooperation between research communities, industry, and society at large to overcome global challenges more systematically and collectively. Participants advocated for a holistic and comprehensive approach to climate change, with universities and research communities serving as catalysts for change and taking concrete steps toward net zero transition. Throughout the symposium, special emphasis was put on the importance of transdisciplinary research, and participants shared good practices and know-how from their relevant projects where interdisciplinarity provided effective results.

Parallel with the aforementioned event, earlier this month, ACA member DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) published its first ever business operations climate report, as a first step towards achieving climate neutrality in its operational activities by 2030. The report outlines potential saving opportunities and identifies targets and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Measures to reduce emissions address areas, such as mobility, the DAAD premises, procurement and contracting, public relations as well as events and funding programmes.

You can read DAAD’s press release here and the Climate report (only available in German) here.