Sustainable development is one of the most central themes in the strategies of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. As an aspect of the policy programmes of their strategies, the universities strengthen the role of sustainable development in their course selection. For the first time this spring, the universities in Turku will offer a course on sustainable development for doctoral students, ”Multidisciplinary approaches to sustainable development”.
The University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University will organise a joint course on sustainable development aimed specifically for doctoral students in April. The course is now organised for the first time, and its teachers are professors and other researchers of different disciplines from the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University.
– The researchers at both universities in Turku conduct state-of-the-art research on sustainable development. This extensive expertise offers us a good opportunity to open up the multidimensional and multidisciplinary nature of sustainable development for the doctoral students of our universities, explains the Chair of the University of Turku Graduate School (UTUGS) educational working group Professor Taina Syrjämaa from the University of Turku.
The main objective of the course is to offer the doctoral students good general knowledge on the ecological, societal, economic, and cultural dimensions of sustainable development as well as the interdependence and interrelationship between them.
– It is still typical that people think that sustainable development “only” incorporates themes related to the ecological dimension, such as climate change. However, we would like to highlight all dimensions of sustainable development and by doing this, encourage the doctoral students to think in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary way, says Dean Marko Joas from Åbo Akademi Univerity, who participated in planning the course.
The promotion of sustainable development is a good example of a theme in which the universities can combine their strengths by working in close collaboration with each other.
– The fact that we organise the course together with Åbo Akademi Univerity is also a good example of regional collaboration related to sustainable development. We are hoping that through the doctoral students who complete the course, this might also give birth to whole new type of sustainable development research collaboration between the researchers from the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, says sustainable development Project Manager Marjaana Suorsa from the University of Turku.
Sustainable Development Important as Future Professional Life Skill
The relevance of sustainable development is on the rise in all fields of society. Irrespective of whether the doctors graduating from the universities start working in the academic world or outside it, the knowledge of the thematics of sustainable development and the specific expertise related to it in different disciplines is also already – and in future, even more pronouncedly – an important skill in professional life.
– On the course, the doctoral students will also have an opportunity to practice integrating the dimension of sustainable development to their own research themes. This will be beneficial for them for example in writing funding applications and in increasing the impact of their research, explains Coordinator Nina Lehtimäki from the Research Career Services unit of the University of Turku.
The University of Turku also strengthens the role of sustainable development in postgraduate education by organising a training session on the subject for doctoral thesis supervisors.