Guild vice presidents had a stimulating meeting at the European Commission, discussing how universities can engage with the Commission’s environmental agenda with Kurt Vandenberghe, advisor for the European Green Deal at von der Leyen’s cabinet.
As the signature initiative of Ms. von der Leyen’s Commission, the European Green Deal aims at making Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050. To meet its ambitious goals, the European Commission has presented a strategy that has direct objectives for research, innovation and education. These include directing 35% of Horizon Europe’s budget to find new solutions for the implementation of the European Green Deal, an emphasis on digital transition and the pursuit of four research Missions aligned with the Green Deal’s objectives.
Under this framework, Guild vice presidents welcomed the Commission’s initiative and discussed with Mr Vandenberghe the importance of taking a holistic approach to sustainability. This would embrace not only technological development but also economic, political and cultural transformations – all core to achieving UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Having led the development of Horizon Europe Programme in his capacity as Director for Policy Development and Coordination at DG Research and Innovation between 2016 and 2019, Kurt Vandenberghe stressed the crucial role of Universities to the European Green Deal in finding solutions for the challenges we face. Vice presidents discussed the role of research and education, but also how universities can set examples as actors, considering their own environmental impact as organisations.
This communication was first published 15 January 2020 by The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities.