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How can Higher Education ‘build forward better’?


Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 15:00 - 16:30




Free online event: booking essential

Session 1 of the Higher Education Building Forward Better sustainability webinar series. - Research and Innovation.

Future Earth Ireland (FEI) in collaboration with various Irish higher education institutions are organising a series of three online webinars aimed at HEI staff, policymakers and the wider stakeholder community addressing the question, ‘How can higher education “build forward better”?’ in the post Covid-19 context.

The first webinar in the series will take place on Tuesday 23 February at 3pm and will focus on research and innovation. This session is being co-hosted, with thanks, by the UCD Earth Institute.

About the Series

The pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges across our societies and economies, upending conventional wisdom in myriad ways. But the challenge of transitioning to a sustainable future remains an urgent priority at national, European and global level. The need to “build back better” or, perhaps more appropriately, “build forward better”, has become a slogan of those seeking to integrate sustainability priorities into Covid-19 recovery plans.

Higher education has a crucial role to play in the transition to a sustainable future. Higher education campuses and staff can lead by example, pilot and showcase best practice in sustainability initiatives, support policymaking and industry with evidence-based solutions and engage generations of learners towards more sustainable ways of living.

Session 1 in the series will focus on these themes in relation to research and innovation and will hear from:

  • Professor Linda Doyle, Trinity College Dublin.
  • Dr Olga Grant, Office of Government Procurement.
  • Professor Ana Viseu, University of Lisbon.
  • Professor Brian Ó Gallachóir, University College Cork.
  • Prof. Tom Flanagan, University College Dublin.
  • Chair: Prof. Tasman Crowe, University College Dublin Earth Institute.

Questions and Issues

The session will focus on questions such as:

  • How has our understanding of sustainability research and innovation been altered by the Covid-19 pandemic? What new research agendas have been opened up?
  • How can cross-disciplinary and cross-institution collaboration be fostered, including between STEM and AHSS disciplines?
  • How can national research infrastructure be calibrated to enable impactful sustainability research?
  • How can knowledge transfer be enacted and enhanced in a post-Covid world to translate evidence bases and solutions?

We would also welcome your questions in advance of the session and will aim to put as many of them as possible to the panel. Questions can be sent to or tweeted to @futureearth_ire.

The second and third webinars in this series, focusing on Engaging with Society and Teaching and Learning, are expected to take place in late March and late April.

Please note:

Booking is free but essential. Registrants will receive further information and a zoom link for attendance in advance of the session. Queries should be directed to

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