The PhD SDC hosted its first multi-disciplinary (MD) event this week on June 20-22, where our 100+ students from all 6 curricula and faculty gathered at the historic IUSS campus in Pavia for three days of thought-provoking discussions, IPCC team presentations on the latest developments in the field of climate change mitigation, and two Oxford-style debates from our faculty. This MD event allow our young researchers to form connections and embody the interdisciplinary goals of our program.
20-22 June – Pavia
The PhD-SDC Multi-Disciplinary (MD) event will give us the opportunity to work on issues related to sustainability and climate change within teams of people with different backgrounds and expertise. By combining their knowledge, and finding the most effective way to communicate across disciplines, the team members will be facing what often happens in real-life situations where groups of decision makers, leaders or politicians are asked to decide how to address key challenges related to sustainability and climate change.
The main topics of the event are (i) the latest report on ‘Mitigation of Climate change’, issued in April 2022 by Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), (ii) sustainability policies identified by the European Union and (iii) actions that can lead to a societal transformation towards a more just and sustainable world. The latest IPCC report has been chosen as the main source of information because it provides the most updated, discussed and agreed upon assessment of the state of the climate and its change, related impacts and future risks, and options for mitigation and adaptations.
Alongside the information provided by the report, the policies of the European Green Deal will be discussed in order to concretely identify ways of implementing the mitigation strategies suggested by the report. The EU Green Deal is the main development policy framework in Europe, with the ambition to transform the EU economy for a sustainable future and assert the EU as a global sustainability leader. It also includes the European Climate Pact, which aims to set the operational targets and the means to increase the EU climate ambition for 2030 and 2050. The EU Green Deal foresees innovative ways of financing the transition and, last but not least, adopts the ‘leave no-one behind’ paradigm, also called ‘just transition’.
Finally, to move from the IPCC report data and the Green Deal policies to concrete discussions on real issues, participants will be involved in an Oxford-style debate on two current and relevant issues. Participants will gain direct experience of the difficulty of communicating complex issues and the difficulty of making collective decisions. Two specific issues related to economy and climate projections will be addressed and participants will be asked to take sides in favor or against a specific motion.
The MD event is organized in three key ‘moments’:
- a first ‘introductory afternoon’ on Monday, when Denis Sarigiannis will introduce the EU Green Deal, and during which the different teams will have the opportunity to work together ‘in presence’ to finalize their report to be presented in the plenary;
- a ‘plenary session’ on Tuesday, during which all teams will present their findings, which will be discussed by everyone;
- an ‘Oxford-style debate’ on Wednesday morning, during which two motions will be presented, discussed, revised, and finally accepted or rejected.
For those who cannot be physically present, they can connect online to this zoom link.
The event has the following key objectives:
- CONTENT - The participants will acquire knowledge on the key points of the IPCC Report on “Mitigation of Climate change” and the policy framework of the European Green Deal;
- SKILLS - Participants will develop the ability to synthesize information to build constructive and positive relations with people on complex issues. Both before and during the event, the team members will learn how to identify the different, relevant facets of key problems, and how the same problem is viewed by people with different backgrounds. They will build experience on how to identify the key data and tools that can be applied to the understanding of complex issues and finding solutions. They will have to learn how to best summarize and distill their key findings, in few salient, short but informative messages and they will have to find the best way to communicate with people with a different background. Finally, they will see how knowledge on mitigation and green deal can be applied to make decisions on real and specific issues during the Oxford-style debate.
- TEAM WORK - We hope that the event will provide a good opportunity for all of us to get to know each other, and build good working relationships. In fact, let us not forget that being able to build inter-personal relationships is key to be able to navigate the complexity of the world, and that having good relationships can help succeeding both in building and applying knowledge.
MD-work valuation approach
Working in teams of people who don’t know each other will certainly present challenges, and will expose everyone to the complexity of team dynamics, and inter-personal relationships. The PhD candidates will have to find the best way to organize their work, discuss, agree and disagree, and provide constructive criticism so that the team can manage to produce a good quality work.
The work done before and during the event will be subject to a collegial evaluation. In particular, the presentations will be judged both in terms of their content and delivery. It is important that the contribution of each team member is indicated at the end of the presentation (please explain in a slide, with a sentence, how each member has contributed to the team work). It is also recommended that the presentation is organized in such a way that more than one person speaks. Also be mindful that presentations cannot exceed the allotted time.
After the MD event, each team will receive an evaluation sheet, with comments on the content of their work, their presentation, their ability to keep time and the team work.