Environmental Justice Research
University Alliance for Sustainability program promotes Environmental Justice Research collaboration
By Götz Kaufmann, 2015-09-11
On February 2, 2015 the Free University of Berlin (FUB) received a major funding by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to establish an University Alliance for Sustainability. Together with the FUB's four strategic partners - The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ, Israel), The University of British Columbia (UBC, Canada), the Saint Petersburg State University (Russia), and the Peking University (China) - the programme will focus on sustainability as a comprehensive topic for collaborating in research, teaching, and campus management. The new alliance will be under the patronage of Prof. Dr. Dr. Klaus Töpfer, a former politician in the conservative Christ Democratic Union (CDU), the former executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) from 1998 to 2006, and currently the Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam.

Environmental Justice Institute at Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU) received three grants for 2015

Members of the EJI and SUSTAIN IT! initiative applied successfully for postdoc and student research stays at UBC and HUJ (granted in June and August 2015). Research stays are carried out in 2015 focussing on sustainability questions in the frame of climatological environmental justice. With help of the funding, Mari Gallaway will be staying at UBC to realize her master thesis project on climate change vulnerability in Nanaimo / Cananda.
On the postdoc level, the CC-VISAGES project will be presented both at UBC in Canada and at the HUJ as part of the Annual Conference of the Israeli Geographical Association.

Whereas environmental justice, in particular in Germany, is still struggling for acceptance in the established, academic fields, the decision must not be underestimated. Even though the connection between sustainable development and environmental justice is mentioned regularly, its recognition still awaits.
With help of the existing funding, the EJI hopes for sustainable connections at our partners around the world through education. Even now, before any research stay has taken place, the feedback regarding teaching collaboration from abroad is already encouraging.

These research stays are closely connected to our collaboration with the SUSTAIN IT! student initiative, which will reach out for more student collaborations in the field of sustainability as crucial part of the university alliance.

Funding for 2015

As the official FUB site informs, the University Alliance for Sustainability offered exchange schemes for study and research stays from student to postdoc level at the four partner universites under the thematic framework of "Education for Sustainable Development".

Intention of the funding

The Free University of Berlin and its strategic partners see it as their responsibility to actively shape the discourse on sustainability and to meet global challenges with activities in all parts of the university. Forming this network under the topic of sustainability is a great chance to further develop structures to work with our most important partners worldwide.

From 2015 on, the University Alliance for Sustainability will be funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and use the partners' complementary strengths to develop joint research and teaching projects, offer exchange options for faculty, staff, and students, and foster inter-institutional learning with regard to management issues. To this end, the partners will develop joint undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Student initiatives will be able to network with their counterparts at other universities. Funding will also be available for research stays for researchers, summer schools for PhD students, conferences on the topic of "Green Campus" for management personnel, and several study and internship abroad options.

The program is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. More information can be found here.
Image: © Regormark