Event report ESD Science Lab for BUP Teachers

The ESD Science Lab was mainly aimed for teachers that had participated in the BUP Teachers’ Courses from 2017-2020. The teacher course encourages the participants to apply their results of the learning outcome with the so-called Change Project (i.e. recreate an already existing course to better corresponds to the Sustainable Development Goals). This Science Lab had the aim to start from where the former course ended, by assisting and coaching the teachers interested in publishing their most recent work in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

This conference is part of the initiative to host a BUP event where the focus was for the BUP to financially support colleagues at BUP participating universities to host and organise a BUP academic event/activity that is of interest and relevance to sustainability and a Baltic Sea Region perspective, and that encourage interdisciplinary co-operations. The organisation and practical arrangements for this event were a cooperation between Riga Technical University, SWEDESD at Uppsala University and the BUP National Centre and Associated Secretariat in Finland at Åbo Akademi University.

The event or project took place as a platform for joint research focused on ESD methods and as capacity building needed to make the research work of high quality. The objective was to strengthen the skills and knowledge of BUP researchers in publishing scientific research findings in peer-reviewed journals.

A group of teachers sitting around a table.
Photo: Cecilia Lundberg

Structure of the ESD Science Lab

The goal was that before the end of the year 2022, at least five research concept notes (manuscripts) created by the 25 selected participants would be prepared and submitted.

The project consisted of the following events:

  • Kick-off meetings online, 20-21 June, 2 hours per day
  • Summer school in Riga, 25-26 August

The participation fee, food and accommodation were covered by the project.

The kick-off meetings consisted of short pitches of all participants (the organisation team included), an introduction to the concept of the ESD Science Lab and a preliminary division of the participants into four working groups according to themes of interest.

The smaller groups then had time to continue the first preparations and discussions for either individual manuscripts or joint publication plans during the summer.

The workshop in Riga consisted of a mixture of keynotes, work in smaller groups, world café discussions, peer-reviewing of each other’s work and evaluation. The keynotes concentrated on academic writing, ethics in research and the theory behind peer-reviewing. The groups worked with the concept, methods, and data mapping. The peer-reviewing and a final short group presentation helped the participants to learn from each other. There were 25 teachers from seven countries selected for the project, 21 participated in the workshop.

After the Riga workshop, the participants worked independently in the established groups. The majority of the participants took part in the International Scientific Conference on Economics and Entrepreneurship (SCEE'2022) – "Communication and Collaboration in Research: Challenges, Approaches and Tools", on October 13 at Riga Technical University (hybrid conference). The conference was organised within the framework of the 63rd International scientific conference of RTU. The BUP ESD Science Lab had an own subsection, and eight joint group reports were presented on topics that were developed during the summer school. All author's abstracts are published in the Book of Abstracts (ISSN: 2256-0866). Later, two scientific articles were submitted to the International Scientific Journal "Economics and Business" (eISSN: 2256-0394) and published.

Evaluation of the workshop

The participant feedback from the workshop in Riga was gathered by the so-called Motorla method, i.e. answers to the following questions: What worked well? What did not work so well? What did you learn? What should be done differently next time? Here are some quotes:

  • "Great communications, fruitful work, good organization, new opportunities, team building, food, location, excursion!"
  • "The plan and intensity were very good: we had both opportunities to work and to learn, socialization expectations are fully met, the host is perfect"
  • "Two days is not enough for this kind of a meeting"
  • "Maybe more meetings before the workshop"
  • "Co-creative work techniques"
  • "To share my ideas and knowledge, to listen and understand others’ ideas"
  • "Re-workshop preparation (one more meeting), maybe a bit longer workshop"
  • "I liked the idea with a Science Lab, and it would be great to do it next year with other topics"
A teacher presenting for participants seated in a ring.
Participants in the workshop during the ESD Science Lab for BUP Teachers. Photo: Cecilia Lundberg

Olha Shvaher - participant from Sumy State University

Photo of Olha Shvaher

This was not my first BUP event. Therefore, of course, from the BUP ESD Science Lab I expected to meet like-minded people, to find interesting topics for discussion and scientific cooperation.
In my opinion, the best part was the development of joint scientific areas. We found common points of intersection in our multidisciplinary research with colleagues, achieved certain results and were able to present them during the conference at Riga Technical University. I would also like to note the high level of the kick-off meeting organisation, the friendly atmosphere and the presence of constructive dialogue between the participants.

I will take with me the opportunities this event contributed to: new interesting topics for further research, new contacts and experience exchange with other event participants.

Tõnis Teppand - participant from Estonian University of Life Sciences

Before attending the BUP ESD Science Lab I expected to receive immediate feedback from my colleagues on the discussion started earlier regarding the sustainability of forestry and better ways to use wood. I also wanted to hear about the state of sustainable development in different countries. 

The best part of the event was finding solutions to various sustainability problems and tasks through teamwork.

From the BUP ESD Science Lab I will bring with me a good feeling about communicating with colleagues who are concerned about our future on planet Earth and looking for solutions to the arisen problems.

Photo of Tõnis Teppand
Last modified: 2023-03-22