The basis for the structure of the strategy was the sustainability policy statement of the University of Jena with the following fields of action: research, teaching, transfer, operation and governance. The first three fields were each dealt with by a working group. Due to the breadth of the area of operations, this was covered in three working groups (Construction & Facility Management, Infrastructure and Procurement). The contents were then combined again in one chapter for the field of operations. The Governance field deals with the structures required to implement the strategy. The content for this area resulted from discussions in the working groups and consultations with the Executive Board.
Each area of action is structured as followed:
- A preamble that explains the field-specific basic understanding of sustainability
- General goals that result from this basic understanding
- Specific goals that result from the general goals
- Measures for implementing the goals
The following is a brief summary of the content from each field:
Scientific research fulfills important functions in dealing with the major challenges facing society today. It provides the basis for technological and social innovations and generates orientational knowledge that is indispensable for shaping complex transformation processes. In addition, researchers, as socially relevant actors, are increasingly driving change processes themselves. Through the diverse - disciplinary as well as inter- and transdisciplinary - research activities of its members, the Friedrich Schiller University contributes to responding societal questions about the future and is committed to strengthening the role of scientific knowledge and facts in societal debates.
This results, on the one hand, in the goal of supporting research on future-relevant topics and strengthening its visibility. On the other hand, sustainable research practice should be promoted by supporting researchers in their everyday work to conduct research in a resource-conserving, health-conscious and socially sustainable manner.
Higher education plays a central role in addressing the current global crises. As transformative education, it imparts knowledge, encourages reflection on self and world relations, and encourages action. With its study and teaching programs, the Friedrich Schiller University supports its students in taking responsibility for sustainable development and in helping to shape processes of social change in a science-based manner.
Thus, the topics of current societal challenges such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, global inequalities or disadvantages of people along different diversity axes shall be supported in studies and teaching of all departments. Likewise, the aim is to reduce the ecological impact of teaching and to create learning spaces that enable transformative education. Through participation and reciprocal learning, sustainable teaching shall be strengthened.
The successful exchange between science and other societal actors is a central element of the transformation to sustainability. Decision-making processes in politics, business or civil society can benefit from scientific expertise, especially in complex situations with high uncertainty. Conversely, the inclusion of non-scientific perspectives can enrich research in many contexts and make results more robust. Dialogical, multidirectional forms of exchange and a culture of openness to external impulses are therefore needed to support social change.
Thus, on the one hand, access to expertise in the field of sustainability already existing at the university should be facilitated for different groups of actors and, on the other hand, external perspectives and ideas should be taken up. Through joint projects and public spaces for debate, solutions to current sustainability challenges can be developed together. In addition, the transfer processes themselves, which take place at and with the university, should be socially and ecologically sustainable.
The greatest consumption of resources and emission of CO2 is generated by the running operations of the university. The "Program for a Sustainable State Administration of Thuringia" adopted by the Thuringian state government back in 2018 envisions, among other things, complete climate neutrality by 2030. In order to meet this goal at the University of Jena, a responsible, sustainable transformation must be carried out in daily operations.
In order to achieve this, the construction, renovation and management of university properties should be carried out in accordance with the "Program for a Sustainable State Administration of Thuringia". In addition, a more careful use of resources such as energy and water or sustainable alternatives are to be promoted. In the mobility area, offers to reduce the resulting emissions should be created. In the area of procurement, sustainable standards can be established and the lifespan of products can be extended. At the same time, we see the university as a place of social interaction, where spaces for personal development and interaction need to be promoted. By promoting biodiversity on the university campus, we also want to give space to nature.
In order to effectively anchor sustainability in research, teaching, transfer and operations at the university, a university-wide culture of cooperation and innovation is required. However, organizational structures and processes must also be adapted to the new responsibilities.
The binding implementation of the present strategy is to be ensured through regular review and updating. The commitment to sustainability is to be anchored in the university's structures and supported through professionalization. In exchange with the university's partners, the framework conditions for an extension of the sustainability strategy should be further improved.