EUTOPIA Celebrates its First EUTOPIA Day


Uniting for Sustainability and Climate Action

In a movement aimed at catalysing dialogue and action, the EUTOPIA alliance launched its inaugural EUTOPIA Day, slated to debut on May 13th, 2024. Set against the backdrop of global challenges, this annual event was a platform for collaborative engagement and thematic exploration. The day was a reminder of the Alliance’s vision of social responsibility and global engagement linked to the academic goals of excellence. 

EUTOPIA Day aimed to foster thought-provoking dialogues and experiences that shed light on the complexities of sustainability and Climate Change. On May 13th, each university organised campus activities to engage its communities, while there was a central event in the afternoon with rectors, vice-rectors and experts. These events included panel discussions, workshops, talks, walks, and seminars highlighting EUTOPIA’s role in transforming the higher education landscape into a more sustainable and stable ecosystem in the face of climate change. The day also showcased some research projects undertaken by EUTOPIA’s SIF fellows, providing an opportunity for students and faculty to learn about the latest developments in their respective fields.

Following are the clips and snippets from the various events organised by the partner universities. 

1. Watch the Special Joint Session:

2. EUTOPIA Day SIF Seminar by VUB:

During the first EUTOPIA Day held on May 13th 2024, three SIF Fellows from Vrije Universiteit Brussel invited their peers and other interested participants to find out more about their work.

The Speakers:

Ashima Bajaj: She was selected for the 3rd cohort of EUTOPIA Science and Innovation Fellowships. At the VUB, she is supervised by Frank De Proft and is part of the General Chemistry Research Group.
Project Title: Boosting automated reaction mechanism discovery using quantum chemical reactivity descriptors.

Hanh Tran: She was selected for the 2nd cohort of EUTOPIA Science and Innovation Fellowships. At the VUB, she is supervised by Ann Van Eeckhout Dept. of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Drug Analysis and Drug Information, Center for Neurosciences - Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Project title: Physicochemical Characteristics and Neuroprotective Effects of Melanins and Melanin Derivatives from Calvatia Craniiformis and Xylaria

Jean-Guillaume Feignon: He was selected for the 2nd cohort of EUTOPIA Science and Innovation Fellowships. At the VUB, he is supervised by Philippe Claeys and is part of the Planetary Science & Meteorite Research Group within the Archeology, Environmental Changes and Geo-Chemistry Research Group.
Project title: The Chicxulub impact structure and its ejecta: aggregation processes



4. NOVA University Lisbon Celebrates EUTOPIA Day

the NOVA Medical School - Faculdade de Ciências Médicas promoted a round table moderated by Deputy Director and Professor Nuno Neuparth, MD, PhD, and Fellow Professor at the NOVA Medical School - Faculty of Medical Sciences, Pedro Carreiro Martins, on "Raising Awareness of Climate Change", in which not only teachers and students participated, but also representatives from the pharmaceutical industry. As Paulo Paixão, also a professor at the NMS/FCM, pointed out, the event made it possible to "address and signal problems and challenges from a medical point of view, and to present proposals to minimize the problem of climate change, not only in health but also in everyday life and the importance of each of us in our individual and collective actions for the common good". 

The National School of Public Health - ENSP NOVA promoted the debate on what contribution universities can make to mitigate and adapt to environmental threats, with contributions from Babeș-Bolyai University and the University of Warwick, partners of EUTOPIA. A very interesting conversation, which you can review here

The fact is, as Tiziana Lippielo, Rector of the University Ca' Foscari Venezia and President of EUTOPIA, congratulated in an interview on this first EUTOPIA Day, "We are already having an impact on higher education and research". 

(Photos and Article by NOVA University, Lisbon)

5. University of Ljubljana Celebrates EUTOPIA Day

The University of Ljubljana (UL) celebrated EUTOPIA Day for the first time with a series of events on climate challenges and finding solutions for a sustainable future. Experts and students experts discussed and presented how UL, researchers and researchers are tackling and finding solutions to climate challenges at the European Union House in Ljubljana. The Alliance Day was held simultaneously at all ten partner universities and celebrated the efforts to create a common higher education space that fosters the development of education, research and innovation both locally and globally. (Read More)

(Article and Photos by University of Ljubljana) 

6. UPF Takes Part in EUTOPIA Day with A Lecture on the Challenges of the Ecological Transition

On Monday 13 May, the alliance of European universities, EUTOPIA, of which UPF is a member, celebrated EUTOPIA Day, which this year focused on the planet’s main challenges, particularly sustainability and climate change. UPF hosted the lecture “The challenges of the ecological transition”, by Antonio Turiel, a CSIC researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences, who argued that the transition to renewable energies must be done from the perspective of degrowth, taking into account the planet’s biophysical limits. His presentation was followed by a round table discussion, in which three students from the EUTOPIA Ideas Club, a forum for multilingual debate aimed at raising awareness of European values among young people, took part. (Read More)

(Article by UPF)

7. EUTOPIA Day at the University of Warwick

At Warwick, the Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD) played a central role by hosting a workshop dedicated to Serious Games for Transdisciplinary Sustainable Development. Warwick's engagement in EUTOPIA Day was multifaceted, featuring several key activities.

  1. EUTOPIA Joint Session: This session was chaired by Dr. Vangelis Pitidis from IGSD, highlighting Warwick's leadership in sustainability discussions.

  2. NOVA-Led Webinar: The webinar focused on the pressing issue of environmental threats, specifically addressing how EUTOPIA universities are mitigating the impacts of pollution, biodiversity loss, and climate change on human health. This session saw collaboration with Universitatea Babeș-Bolyai (UBB).

  3. Serious Games Workshop: Dr. Feng Mao from IGSD spearheaded this innovative workshop. It brought together a diverse group of participants, including EUTOPIA Student Representatives, recent EUTOPIA Hackathon attendees from UBB in Cluj, EUTOPIA PhD Co-Tutelles, and members from Warwick’s departments of Global Sustainable Development (GSD) and History.

The workshop was a melting pot of ideas and perspectives, involving undergraduates, Master’s students, PhD candidates, Professional Services staff, and Academic Staff. This diversity enriched the discussions and collaborative efforts during the event. Participants delved into the potential of serious games as a transformative educational tool. These games are designed to bridge diverse academic disciplines, fostering collaboration towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Climate Change Game: A highlight of the workshop was a facilitated game on climate change. Participants assumed the roles of individual countries and worked collectively in regional teams to manage the risks associated with climate change. This interactive approach provided valuable insights into the complexities of global environmental issues and the necessity of cooperative strategies.

A Platform for Collaboration and Innovation: EUTOPIA Day underscored the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative educational tools in addressing global challenges. By integrating serious games into the curriculum, Warwick and its EUTOPIA partners are pioneering new ways to engage students and staff in meaningful, impactful learning experiences.

As EUTOPIA Day continues to evolve, it promises to be a cornerstone event that inspires and equips the next generation of leaders to tackle the world's most pressing issues with creativity and cooperation.

(Photos and Information by UoW)