Young researchers from Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies visit Nagoya University for an international and interdisciplinary workshop on tackling global sustainability crises

Last week, Nagoya University's National Innovation Complex (NIC) hosted a joint workshop with our friends at the University of Freiburg in Germany.

The interdisciplinary workshop brought together 19 young post-docs from the Young Academy for Sustainability Research (YAS) based at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), as well as the Tokai Pathways to Global Excellence (T-GEx) program, a major initiative spearheaded by Nagoya University's Institute for Advanced Research (IAR).


Dr. Rita Souza-Silva (YAS) introduces her research topic on urban forestation


Plans for the workshop, beginning in March 2023 with support from Nagoya University European Center and Nagoya University Global Multicampus, quickly centered on the topic of "Overlapping crises and pathways to solutions", as described by YAS program coordinator Dr. Michael Vollstädt:


'It is important to work together interdisciplinarily and internationally to find different kinds of perspectives and pathways to solutions. My expectation for this exchange between Nagoya University and the University of Freiburg is to find a common ground to tackle global problems.'


The participants formed focus groups for the World Café discussion


Over the course of two afternoons, the YAS and T-GEx members presented their research projects spanning three themed sessions: "Understanding our environment", "Sustainable urban development", and "Human health and well-being". As a hybrid workshop, half of the presenters (9) joined remotely from their home universities.

YAS members also toured several institutes and laboratories within Nagoya University, covering various timely topics including Dr. Matthew Su's (T-GEx) research on the Yellow Fever vector Aedes aegypti at ITBM, as well as the Japanese forest management crisis and construction methods for earthquake-resistant buildings at the Disaster Mitigation Research Center.


YAS and T-GEx members are guided through the earthquake-resistant features of the Disaster Mitigation Research Center


Nagoya University President Naoshi Sugiyama then joined the participants for a lively "World Café" general discussion before formally closing the event.


The participants of the final session pose for a group picture with President Sugiyama


Nagoya University and the University of Freiburg share a long history of partnership, beginning in 1972, and recently renewed with the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed in November 2023. IAR and FRIAS have been a particular focus of this intercontinental partnership, hosting four co-funded joint project groups between 2016 and 2019. This YAS/T-GEx workshop is one example of the post-COVID relaunch of collaborations in support of young researchers.


Watch a short summary video of the workshop here


By Roland Berkemeier, Nagoya University Global Multi-Campus