Sustainability Science Days (SSD) is an English-language science event focusing on sustainability science for societal transformation, with roots going back more than ten years to HENVI Science Day. In 2017 the event was organised by the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science HELSUS, and since 2019 Aalto University has also been involved.
Since last year, the event has grown from two to four days. One reason for this is that more than twice as many proposals were received for presentations, panels, and workshops.
"We realised that we had a huge number of good topics and that only tradition would limit the duration of the event. So, we decided on a four-day event," says Sophia Hagolani-Albov, coordinator at both the University of Helsinki and Aalto University.
Dozens of presentations or workshops in total
SSD2023 will kick off on Tuesday, 23 May with a series of events focusing on science communication and sustainability education. Over the next two days, the conference programme itself will feature around forty parallel presentations from different areas of sustainability science. The last day will be spent in panel discussions and workshops at Helsinki City Hall and University of Helsinki’s Think Corner.
"This year we are excited to be working for the first time directly with the City of Helsinki and the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research on the Sustainable Cities discussion forum."
In case it is hard for participants to choose from the dozens of presentations, the organisers are working on a ready-made thematic schedule. This will make it easier for those interested in a particular topic to pick the presentations and workshops that are most interesting for them.
Aiming for inspiring close encounters
In the previous two years, the Sustainability Science Days were organised in a fully hybrid format. Now the aim is to bring people back to campus and together again to meet each other and exchange ideas face-to-face.
"Every day of the conference we have sessions that can also be attended online, but the full programme is only available to those attending in person," says Hagolani-Albov.
Interesting and thought-provoking presentations will be given by keynote speakers such as Professor Ioan Fazey from York University in the UK, CEO Tuuli Kaskinen from the Climate Leadership Coalition, Professor Lassi Linnanen from Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT, Associate Professor Tuuli Mattelmäki from Aalto University and Professor Andy Stirling from the University of Sussex, among others.
Alumni and influencers will also be targeted in the future
Sustainability Science Days and its predecessors have traditionally been events mainly aimed at the scientific community. However, in the next years the event will involve more contacts from within and outside university organisations.
"This is an important step for Sustainability Science Days as sustainable solutions must developed in collaboration. For example, we look forward to more directly involving our University alumni, which will open a whole new world of opportunities for us. In the future, we will be able to take the messages from research-based sustainability science to an even wider audience," says Sophia Hagolani-Albov.