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Interdisciplinary collaboration Increasing collaboration around sustainability issues can lead to a greater feeling of ownership and responsibility among both employees and students, and can help to create a wider culture of sustainability at the university. Students get an opportunity to apply the knowledge acquired during their studies, and gain practical experience and skills that will help them in their future careers. In their teaching and research, academics can benefit by having the opportunity to bring their research ideas to life and test them on their own campus. Some academics have incorporated projects into their curricula, which means that students are able to experience creative and dynamic learning. Such interdisciplinary projects allows for direct collaboration with industry, which not only ensures applicability of the knowledge gained but can even generate extra revenue for the university.

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Funding and research Resource constraints on both finances and human capital can limit the extent to which a university can lead in sustainability, both within and beyond the institution. A strong commitment from management is needed to bypass political and financial constraints. Academic research on the campus itself may not produce usable results for the university. Students who undertake living lab projects can lack project-management experience, particularly in terms of the costs for a project but also applicable legal restrictions. Making sure there are strong connections between the programme and facilities management will benefit the research. Before research begins, it is important to have agreed outlines of research proposals and to have completed risk assessment.

UNIVERSITIES AS CATALYSTS FOR A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY


IARU - Green Guide for Universities – pathways towards sustainability