“Technology and Innovation for the SDGs” Seminars programme is a periodical space for interaction among researchers and other stakeholders which focuses on cross-cutting issues linked to sustainability transformation.
The SDGs Seminars was established in 2018 at UPM as part of a long-term strategy to respond to coming changes in European R&D policies and increase UPM’s sustainability impact. The programme has five main goals: to stimulate interaction among UPM research units; to generate interdisciplinary research initiatives around cross-cutting sustainability challenges; to strengthen the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in research units; to increase UPM impact in terms of the 2030 Agenda; to strengthen links with external actors. It is also expected to empower and motivate students at different levels to become active actors in the configuration of a more sustainable future and university.
The process went beyond the classical concept of seminar, conceived and assessed as a relational and developmental process more than a simple logistical challenge. For that purpose, social innovation methodologies were used, through which interdisciplinary dialogue, horizontality and search of collaborative solutions, were built into the seminars.
The seminars were addressed to the faculty, research community, students and decision-makers of the UPM. In addition, external agents (companies, administrations and civil society) participated in the seminars.
The program began with an official kick-off, followed by 21 seminars and workshops organized in thematic series that continue to this day. The aim of the first series, “”Introduction to the SDGs””, was to raise awareness of the SDGs among researchers and to create a common understanding of the UPM’s potential role in transforming sustainability. The remaining three series focused on cross-cutting sustainability issues identified during the first series, “”Energy Transition and Climate Change””, “”Circular Economy and New Materials”” and “”Sustainable Management of Natural Resources””. The program is successfully continuing with a fourth series dedicated to “”Clean and Healthy Cities””.
The next steps of the program will seek to connect research with the ongoing process of city transformation, specifically with the European mission that will drive from 2021 the climate neutrality of one hundred cities by 2030, Roadmap towards climate neutrality in Madrid and the institutional commitment to achieve climate neutrality of UPM campuses in 2040.