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University education as a driver for sustainability transitions

Project description

New insights into the role of education in achieving a sustainable society

Sustainability transitions (STs) go hand in hand with learning. There is, however, a lack of guidance on how teaching and learning practices can be improved. Addressing this, the EU-funded UNI4ST project aims to produce empirically grounded knowledge on how university education can be designed and delivered in such a way that it becomes a fruitful driver for STs. It will draw upon pragmatist educational scholarship and the multi-level perspective on STs to develop a tailored analytical toolbox for empirical investigations that will be applied to three case studies. Moreover, it will assess the effectiveness of paedagogical efforts and focus on the educational process and its relationship to societal transformation.


UNI4ST aims to create empirically grounded knowledge on how university education can be designed and performed in such a way that it becomes a fruitful driver for Sustainability Transitions (STs). Learning is considered a vital means of realising STs, but an empirical knowledge base that offers adequate guidance for the improvement of teaching and learning practices is lacking in the available literature. We address this research gap by developing a tailored analytical toolbox (methods, research instruments) for empirical investigations, inspired by pragmatist didactic research. Next, we apply the analytical tools to 3 pilot case studies of university education practices where academics, students and societal stakeholders jointly address sustainability challenges in the local community. This results in knowledge of how the design and performance of teaching and learning practices produce outcomes that promote STs. Furthermore, it allows to develop a much-needed, systematic research agenda by formulating hypotheses for future investigations.
Through open access journal articles, academic conferences, a handbook, lectures, seminars, an opinion piece, workshops, a self-assessment manual for university teachers and a web-database with quality-assured practices, the results of UNI4ST are communicated and disseminated to varied audiences. Applications for follow-up research projects and a business plan facilitate the exploitation of the results.
Through creating state-of-the-art knowledge and the reinforcement of methodological, management, communication and entrepreneurial skills, the experienced researcher will strengthen her international profile, visibility and network in the fields of sustainability transition studies and sustainability education research and become an internationally recognised expert on this topic. This will substantially advance het scientific maturity and strengthen her capacity to obtain a position as an indepentend researcher.



Net EU contribution
€ 203 852,16
Von kraemers alle 4
751 05 Uppsala

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Östra Sverige Östra Mellansverige Uppsala län
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00