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Researchers discussed learnings from the corona crisis to build back better

News: Jun 26, 2020

The ongoing corona crisis implies both opportunities and threats for a sustainable transition. In a recent digital roundtable, researchers from the Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development research network discussed what we can learn from the current pandemic and previous crises in order to build back better. A main question was how the research community can collaborate and contribute with knowledge for a transformation towards a more resilient economic system and society.

The socio-economic impacts of the corona epidemic are deepening worldwide and poses a severe threat to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of the global economy and weaknesses in global political coordination and national welfare systems. At the same time, the measures that will be taken to restart the global economy can offer a unique opportunity for a more radical transformation towards a sustainable future, that many climate scientists and others have called for.

The aim of the roundtable discussion, initiated by Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development (GMV), was to facilitate exchange between researchers at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology.

The meeting started with short introductory talks from five researchers that already have engaged in the public debate concerning sustainable transitions post-corona in different ways. In the following discussions several points were made about the importance of bringing researchers from different disciplines together. Among other things the crisis has pointed out that health, environment and climate are areas that need to be combined in research. Furthermore it has become clear that researchers also can serve an important role as translators of research to the public.

Participants addressed that researchers need to move beyond research networks, to engage and co create with NGOs, business, policy makers and civil society, and that GMV is an actor who should continue to facilitate this kind of processes. It was also expressed that we need not to forget about the importance of involving the students to engage in outreach activities.

Concrete input to coming discussions and follow up events was for example to have a focus on action and invite members from the “transition movement” and companies, and to include social innovations from civil society.

The roundtable discussion took place on June 11. Introductory talks were given by Gunilla Almered Olsson, Human Ecology at the University of Gothenburg, Martin Hultman, Science-, technology- and environmental studies at Chalmers, Johan Mellqvist, Space Earth and the Environment at Chalmers, Thomas Sterner, Environmental economics at the University of Gothenburg and Gabriella Wulff, Centre for consumption research at Gothenburg Research Institute at the University of Gothenburg.

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