The issues surrounding sustainability are key challenges faced by modern society. Aston University has made it a priority both from the perspective of its internal policy and actions, and also as a contribution to research, dissemination and general academic debate. It is as a contribution to the latter facet of the sustainability activities of the university that the Aston Sustainability Colloquia have been created as a major activity within the Centre for Sustainability and Innovation.
These Colloquia are the outcome of two initial Research Seminars held in July and September, 2008.
The Colloquia will be a series of workshops (usually one day events) with a combination of major and minor invited speakers, academics from the university itself and other relevant participants. The format is not fixed but will range from a strict academic workshop to a more open event intended for the wider public, or for business people. Each workshop will have a specific theme and depending on the theme and intended audience it will be correspondingly structured.
Our ambition is both to convey the importance of issues surrounding sustainability and how they affect a whole range of activities and aspects of life on this planet. We want to engage with several stakeholders and their responses to these challenges, ranging from the knowledge of scientists and academic experts to the passions of people for the world of tomorrow. We want to bring together the interest and enthusiasm of young people (our students) with the academic, intellectual and business leaders who are seriously addressing these issues. We also want to include civil society activists and public officials who confront these issues at a local and regional level.
These workshops will both contribute to building the reputation of our institution as a centre for research, teaching and consultancy in this area, as well as benefiting all sectors of the university community. One of the important aspects of the issues surrounding sustainability is that it involves the whole range of academic disciplines from engineering to business, from biology to the humanities. This means that it provides an immense opportunity for research, for training a new generation of engaged minds, and for contributing to society at large.
Above all it should give us an opportunity to show how deeply interconnected the different aspects of human activity and the environment are.
The first workshop on Sustainability and Transport will take place in the Autumn of 2009. Further details will be posted on this web page in due course.