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Sustainable and responsible research

Theses 1-3

Research activities are aimed at solving great sustainability challenges

Universities use funding and other incentive mechanisms to direct their research and the recruitment of researchers to solving the great challenges faced by humanity. On the other hand, the question of these great challenges is in itself a subject of research and critical examinations – we do not know what challenges we will face in the future. Curiosity, the autonomy of science and the freedom of research are therefore central values also in sustainability research. Sustainability is seen as a cross-cutting theme that supports the basic task of universities, not as one that will replace it.

The following concrete measures must be taken:

  • Universities conduct recruitments that promote the themes in sustainability and responsibility (e.g. professorships in sustainability research).
  • Universities will enhance the coordination of sustainability research and raise awareness of sustainability research.
  • Universities make more concrete investments in sustainability research, for example, through the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Attention is paid to sustainability and responsiblity in the assessment and funding of research projects

Knowledge and science have not only intrinsic value but also significant societal impacts. Universities analyse the impacts of research openly and critically from the point of view of sustainable development and responsibility. Paying attention to sustainable development is an important skill and operating model for a researcher. 

The following concrete measures must be taken:

  • Universities require that the person drawing up the research plan append an assessment of the project’s sustainability and responsibility impacts to the plan. These impacts will be taken into account when the research project is assessed.
  • Universities recognise sustainability, openness and societal interaction as merits that advance the researcher’s career.
  • Universities commit themselves to observing the recommendation Good practice in researcher evaluation published by the Committee for Public Information and the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies and to the international DORA declaration. 

Universities support an interdisciplinary approach, the principles of open science and a multifaceted global perspective in finding solutions to sustainability challenges

Universities encourage interdisciplinary cooperation in responding to the sustainability challenges. This requires critical examination of the existing structures of the fields of science, the administrative structures and incentives and an understanding of the strengths of the different fields both within and between universities. To improve the public debate and to create new multidisciplinary projects, it is important to clarify the profiles and the support and to emphasise their importance.

The policies outlined in open science for their part advance sustainable development and responsibility. Universities support the principles of open science in solving the sustainability challenges.

 The university community also knows its global responsibility and promotes sustainability and fairness in the world.

The following concrete measures must be taken:

  • Universities create incentives and structures for an interdisciplinary approach and for crossing the boundaries between faculties and fields of science in both research and teaching.
  • Universities commit themselves to the Declaration for Open Science and Research 2020–2025 and promote openness as a fundamental value in all activities of the research community. 
  • At universities, the principles of openness do not apply only to research but also to the open operating culture, which includes the openness of the principles of evaluation and career development.
  • Universities integrate responsibility, especially global responsibility and global knowledge, better into the education for sustainable development, research and their own operation. Universities develop global partnerships, perspectives and expertise by supporting the mobility of students and researchers 

Theses 4-5