In September 2015, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be adopted, designed to improve people’s lives and protect the planet for future generations. As a research funder, the Volkswagen Foundation is convinced that science and scholarship play an essential role in meeting these ambitious goals. Therefore, we want to examine this role somewhat closer: To what extent have research and innovation supported to tackle the earlier Millennium Development Goals (or where did they fail to do so)? But even more important: What is the coming role of research in realizing the SDGs? And what kind of research is needed?
These questions will be asked against the backdrop of an area which is coming more and more into focus: coastal regions. Home to the majority of people already today, coastal regions are to face major challenges: urbanization, population growth, resource conflicts, pollution, sea level rise, increase of water temperature as well as extreme storm and flood events, to mention a few. Coastal regions are showcase systems to understand how human development and well-being are inextricably linked with environmental stewardship. Therefore, they constitute ideal frameworks to study all kinds of interfaces, both regarding ‘natural’ and ‘anthropogenic’ factors and processes, but also — on the more conceptional level — regarding the interlinkages between research, policy-making and society.
The symposium provides a platform for exchange about future challenges for research on these topics, together with a reflection of the role of scientists and scholars — and the driving value systems.
Travel Grants for Young Researchers
The Volkswagen Foundation offers up to 30 Travel Grants for young researchers who wish to attend the symposium. The travel grantees will present their research to other participants in a short presentation on the first day of the event. PhD students or early Postdocs (max. 5 years since PhD) working on independent projects in research areas that are covered by the Sustainable Development Goals and focus on coastal regions are invited to apply. Applications close 15th August 15 2015.