© FH Münster/Frederik Tebbe

Together towards sustainable universities

One of today's challenges is the change towards sustainability - also for universities. FH Münster, the University of Münster and the Münster department of the Catholic University of North Rhine-Westphalia (katho NRW) are therefore joining forces in the research project "Sustainable University Landscape Münster". To this end, they are establishing the SUNRISE LAB, a so-called "living lab" to explore the potentials of cooperation between science, business and civil society for the overall institutional transformation towards a sustainable higher education landscape.

"Living labs are particularly well suited to tackle complex problems," says Dr. Iulia Stroila, SUNRISE LAB project manager. The project is led by the Science-to-Business Marketing Research Centre (S2BMRC) at FH Münster. "Through their transfer of knowledge and innovation to society and the inclusion of socially relevant topics in their research, universities play an important role in shaping new ways of sustainable development. With the SUNRISE LAB, we want to strengthen the sustainability of the three partner universities in Muenster." In total, the three universities will involve more than 2,000 students, more than 120 scientists and administrative staff, and more than 50 representatives from companies, non-profit organizations and politics. At least five living labs will be organized. The project thus promotes the establishment of a Münster community for sustainability both at and with the three universities.

"As a university for social professions, we believe: All parts of society must find answers to increasingly acute global problems such as the climate crisis and species extinction," says Prof. Dr. Swantje Notzon from katho NRW. One contribution of the social professions could be to expand education and prevention work in the area of healthy lifestyles to include sustainability aspects. After all, many healthy behaviors such as cycling or a predominantly plant-based diet are also sustainable at the same time. "In the living lab, we want to explore what this kind of thinking together about health and sustainability can look like in concrete terms," Notzon continues. "Living labs represent an exciting set of tools for universities to shape sustainable transformation paths," adds Prof. Dr. Iris Dzudzek from the University of Münster. "That's why we will establish corresponding labs with a thematic focus on biodiversity and material cycles, for example, and investigate their significance for climate change and sustainable urban development."

The project will run until October 2025 and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). University members, Muenster's urban population as well as experts from politics and society are invited to participate in the labs and help shape possible transformation paths on the way to a sustainable university landscape. The project's kick-off event is planned for October as part of the FH Münster's sustainability network.

Transparency note: This content was made available to us by FH Münster in German, we translated it ourselves for the English version of the ZIN-Homepage.