We will focus on sustainability
The latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms the importance of sustainability, which is a major focus point at the University of Oslo. UiO has already hired a vice-rector for climate, environment and cross-disciplinarity. This is a very clear signal from our Rectorate, and we, the Deans of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, will contribute and ensure that the Faculty becomes an important contributor. In our election platform, we emphasized sustainability as the basis for everything we do. A sustainability initiative will be a central part of our work.
From left: Dean Solveig Kristensen, Faculty Director Jo Døhl, Vice Dean of Research Bjørn Jamtveit and Vice Dean for Studies and Education Knut Mørken.
Researchers from our Faculty have been involved in writing the IPCC report. In addition, some of our researchers have been involved in large international collaborations that provided research that the IPCC report refers to. We are a large and broad faculty with many research areas placed at the core of the sustainability goals, in addition to academic disciplines facilitating a relevant research foundation.
Research areas within the social sciences, health sciences and law are important, but mathematics, natural sciences and technology are central to sustainability. Our Faculty will play a crucial role in providing an important knowledge base about environment, energy and climate, health, food supply and clean water.
Our researchers are well positioned in research about sustainability. We have for example established Center for Biogeochemistry in the Anthropocene (environment), Center for Materials Science and Nanotechnology (energy), dScience – Centre for Computational and Data Science, and we have skilled and well-established researchers working on climate and health research.
Some of these researchers met the department heads and deans last week, in what will be the start of the sustainability initiative at MN. The newly appointed Vice-Rector for Climate, Environment and Cross-Disciplinarity, Mette Halskov Hansen was also present, in addition to the Director of UiO: Energy, Vebjørn Bakken, Vice Dean for Internationalization and Innovation at the Faculty of Medicine, Hilde Nebb, and Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology, Thomas Hylland Eriksen.
At the meeting, we discussed how we should join forces at UiO and at our Faculty to become even better and more specific in our research on areas of great importance for sustainability.We especially highlighted research on climate, energy, environment and health, and with data- and computational science as key factors for success.
With a sustainability initiative, it becomes important to create cross-disciplinary meeting places across academic environments, departments and faculties. The big questions that need to be asked require participation from many disciplines. We must cultivate excellent research, and we must ensure that we have the young researchers on board. They provide new and innovative ideas that can push our research forward. This autumn, we will look at how we can use the Faculty's joint PhD positions (KD positions) as a strategic resource in research aimed at sustainability, and in dialogue with the Rectorate set the framework for a specific and long-term sustainability initiative. This includes presenting our study programs with a clear sustainability profile.
Sustainability is also about ourselves, and the choices and priorities each of us makes on a daily basis. The pandemic year has made us more competent in finding good, digital solutions. Our travel activity is an area we want to have a special focus on. We will not go back to old habits, but facilitate conscious – and sustainable – choices. For example, we believe that hybrid digital disputations are becoming a permanent solution, which also makes it much easier to get top international opponents.
We look forward to continuation of the sustainability initiative at MN. We will work to ensure that the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, together with colleagues at the University of Oslo, take the lead in the commitment to sustainability.