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COPERNICUS Alliance European Network on Higher Education for Sustainable Development. Mario Diethart, Clemens Mader, Maik Adomssent University of Graz, Leuphana University. Vision.

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Copernicus alliance european network on higher education for sustainable development

COPERNICUS AllianceEuropean Network on Higher Education for Sustainable Development

Mario Diethart, Clemens Mader, Maik Adomssent

University of Graz, Leuphana University


The vision of the COPERNICUS Alliance is to promote the role of sustainable development in European higher education to improve education and research for sustainable development in partnership with society.

The responsibility of higher education institutions
The ResponsibilityofHigher Education Institutions

  • As the location of academic education,

    bearing responsibility for the students and their professional and moral quality as future leaders in society and economy.

  • As major contributors to research,

    tackling questions arising with the transition of societies around the world towards more sustainable development.

  • As significant societal actors,

    shaping their local, regional and national environment and important partner of other stakeholders, and society at large, for a sustainable future.

    Graz Declaration (2005)

Therefore the COPERNICUS Alliance aims to be an innovation network consisting of universities, NGOs, public institutions, higher education entities and individual members.


  • Network: to exchange and enhance knowledge on Education for Sustainable Development between European higher education and student organizations that work for sustainable development

  • Policy: to promote Higher Education for Sustainable Development in European policy

  • Service: to disseminate tools for sustainabilityintegration in higher education

  • Outreach: to promote sustainable developmentin European higher education

  • Representation: to represent European Higher Education for Sustainable Development in international committees on Education for Sustainable Development

Background development
Background & Development

  • strongly connected to COPERNICUS Charta that was developed by the European Rectors‘ Conferencein 1993 and signed by 326 universities until 2005

  • Thessaloniki Declaration of VCSE partners 2008

  • COPERNICUS Alliance founded/relaunched in 2009

  • kick-off meeting July 2010 in Graz

Management structure
Management & Structure

President Board

  • Elected President 2009/10: Prof. Dr. Friedrich M. Zimmermann, University of Graz, Austria

  • Elected Vice-President 2009/10: Prof. Dr. GerdMichelsen, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany

12 members as of november 2010
12 Members (asof November 2010)

  • University of Graz; Austria

  • University of Music andPerformingArts Graz; Austria

  • University of Technology Graz; Austria

  • Medical University Graz; Austria

  • Modul University Vienna; Austria

  • WU Vienna University of Economics and Business; Austria

  • University Innsbruck; Austria

  • Leuphana University Lüneburg; Germany

  • University of Bremen; Germany

  • Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava;Slovakia

  • London South Bank University; UK

  • University ofGloucestershire; UK

Working groups
Working Groups

  • Innovative Teaching & Learning

  • Implementation of Sustainability in Universities

  • Student Involvement

  • CA Management

  • Policy Lobbying

  • Outreach

  • COPERNICUS European Interdisciplinary Research on Sustainability (CEIDROS)

Working groups example
Working Groups – Example

“COPERNICUS European Interdisciplinary Research on Sustainability”

In a plan milestones and actions are defined according to a rationale:

“[…] provision of research partnership for sustainability research across Europe”

“Kick off meeting at Bristol supported by interdisciplinary global eco-justice project. Review remit – discuss themes and make decisions about futureroles and tasks; Develop first funding bids – outlines and teams”

“Initial survey of research networks for sustainability in the EU and plan of how to link with them/inform them of the COPERNICUS network and agenda”

“Formation of wider group with advisors/participants from EU funding councils etc.”

Next steps
Next Steps

New members are welcome anytime

Annual meeting in 2011

Workshop in Brussels in 2011

Meetings at conferences and spreading information (e.g. at the “5th International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education”; World Sustainable Development Teach-In Day 2010)

Updated COPERNICUS Charta

3-LENSUS database

Ongoing work within working groups (collaboration via “elgg” platform)

Thank you for your attention

[email protected]