Impact World Workshop

Universities as catalysts for change and community building around the Sustainable Development Goals

October 13, 2017, Impacts World 2017, Potsdam, Germany

Host: Thomas Hertel (Purdue University, USA)

Co-hosts: Hans-Peter Winkelmann (Climate Campus, Germany), Matthew Huber (Purdue University, USA), Hermann Lotze-Campen (PIK, Germany)


Within the context of sustainability, climate change is a ‘super wicked problem’, defying easy solution. Analysis of the associated complex, linked, systems problems requires convergence of expertise across fields ranging from biology, physics, chemistry, math, computation, engineering, and the social and health sciences. An open, extensible framework can enable such transdisciplinary and convergent approaches. An open approach will also facilitate active stakeholder involvement. Universities are ideally positioned to provide a fertile environment for such open-source, interdisciplinary collaboration. However, the US National Research Council finds that current approaches suffer from inadequate communication and engagement with stakeholders. Therefore, we propose a workshop to explore opportunities for deeper university engagement with stakeholders at the local, national and global level, focused on analysis, development and implementation of policies designed to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our aim is to catalyze new approaches to understanding and predicting change in linked human and natural systems, delivering actionable knowledge, in the form of open SDGs, and identifying concrete actions which can be taken at the local level. Specific goals include: (1) development of a deeper understanding of both local and global SDG-related actions; (2) development of novel techniques model validation; (3) making data and analytical tools available to stakeholders within and beyond the university community through an open source approach.


This workshop is designed to maximize discussion about how universities can engage more effectively in the analysis and implementation of SDG policies through open source, community-building approaches at local, national and global levels.


The workshop will begin with two brief keynote presentations: one on the broader topic of university engagement with SDGs and one on the specific topic of open source analysis. This will be followed by two short contributions and an open panel discussion.


For more information, click here.