Aalto Sustainability Day: Call for submissions

Following the establishment of Aalto Sustainability Hub to address the challenges of sustainable development, the first Aalto Sustainability Day will be organised on May 18, 2018. The focus of the Aalto Sustainability Day will be on complex and interrelated ecological and socio-economic challenges, and the co-creation of disruptive systemic sustainability innovations to address these challenges. The day will give an overview of the latest research findings and showcase the best practices. It calls researchers and practitioners from different fields as well as students to participate in ideating and co-creating new knowledge for advancing sustainable futures.

As a part of the event, thematic research sessions will dig deeper into three different aspects of the Day’s topic Tackling complex sustainability challenges by co-creating disruptive innovations. These sessions explore co-creation of sustainability oriented innovation, sustainable materials innovation and regenerative sustainability.

Our intent is to bring together scholars working across various disciplines to catalyse collaboration. We welcome competitive proposals from experienced academics, emerging scholars and doctoral students to present and discuss their research projects. The themes and submission instructions can be found below.

Theme 1

Sustainability-Oriented Innovation: Co-creating Novel Products, Services and Business Models

Convenor: Professor Jouni Juntunen

Sustainability-oriented innovation has received considerable interest from academics, managers and policy-makers. Benefitting from technological chance is less a question of technology, but rather of strategic change to be part of changing the way how production and consumption is organised. For this theme we invite works that provide new empirical insights, and draw from salient bodies of theoretical and applied knowledge. The theme has a special interest in understanding how novel solutions, products, services and new types of business models can solve grand sustainability challenges. We invite contributions that examine sustainability-oriented innovations from management, organisations or policy perspective in order to better understand underlying actor roles, inter and intra-organisational practices, processes and impacts in socio-technical change.

Theme 2

Sustainability in materials choices and design

Convenor: Professor Monika Österberg

Material choices have an immense impact on our environment and wellbeing. In order to fight depletion of natural resources, pollution and global warming, we need to focus on development of radically sustainable materials and their application. Materials researchers have strived to enhance sustainability by developing more resource-efficient and safer design of molecules, materials, and processes, exchanging fossil materials with renewable alternatives, and generating cleaner energy. Recently, life cycle assessment and the importance of transdisciplinary efforts to tackle sustainability issues has gained more focus. We invite contributions related to sustainability in materials choices and design. Topics are focused but not restricted to green chemistry, novel renewable materials, green textiles and sustainable design and materials recycling. Interdisciplinary contributions are very welcome.

Theme 3

Regenerative sustainability

Convenor: Researcher, Doctoral candidate Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen

An overarching problem within all built environments is how to fit the increasing urbanization within the ecological limits of the planet. The approach of regenerative sustainability is gaining increasing interest both in research and in practice. We invite works that discuss the central questions of regenerative sustainability, such as: How could human activity improve environmental sustainability, instead of continuously degrading it further? What kind of urban design solutions can create thriving socioecological synergies? What kinds of design, architectural and urban design practices enable learning, change processes, and realization of solutions of regenerative sustainability? And how could regenerative sustainability be linked to smart cities and circular economy? The aim of this session is to probe the development of the growing field of regenerative sustainability by bringing together the insights of the interested actors from different disciplines. We welcome both theoretical discussions and empirical insights, as well as examples from practice.

Theme 4

Digitalisation, sharing and sustainability

Convenors: Professor Pekka Nikander and Senior Research Fellow Maria Joutsenvirta

The standard economic models have serious limits to what they can do to contribute to a sustainability agenda. Digitalisation provides opportunities for citizens to connect and create value in new ways to support sustainable local and sharing-based economies, often together with local authorities. For this theme we invite both theoretical and practice-based explorations of ICT-enabled and user-centered concepts of sharing and cooperation. The theme has a special interest in understanding how ICT changes systems of exchange and how marginalized citizens can potentially improve their socio-economic positions through these concepts. We aim at transdisciplinary understanding and invite contributions from different fields to advance research on the ICT-based solutions to support a transition to a sustainable society. We welcome both theoretical and empirical insights, as well as examples from practice.

Submission instructions

To present your work at the event, please submit a short abstract (maximum of 500 words) on your research project related to sustainability-oriented innovation. Proposals should include the key research question, theoretical underpinnings, empirical foundations and expected contributions, Applications must be submitted via email to sustainabilityday2018 [at] aalto [dot] fi.

Submission Deadline: February, 11th, 2018.

Submissions will undergo a review process. Notification of acceptance will be sent by February 28th, 2018.

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