DUT at the Sustainability Research and Innovation Congress 2024

DUT is hosting two interactive roundtables at the Sustainability Research + Innovation Congress 2024 in Aalto University, Helsinki. DUT is a co-organizer of the sessions in collaboration with SBEP, Water4All and Biodiversa+ and two of the Urban Doers Initiatives supported by DUT, Thriving Communities and FRAGMENT.

Horizon Europe Partnerships’ Dialogue: Nature-based Solutions for Urban, Water and Marine Ecosystems and Biodiversity

10 June
17:00 – 18:30 
Hybrid format, Helsinki


Co-funded Partnerships are key tools of the Horizon Europe Framework Programme to address Europe’s most pressing challenges while actively contributing to European and global goals by facilitating research and innovation initiatives across European and international partners. The Biodiversa+, Driving Urban Transitions (DUT), Sustainable Blue Economy (SBEP) and Water4All Partnerships are among the most prominent of those initiatives that address the differentiated but complementary components of green transitions. This session will explore the dynamic interplay between green and blue transitions, emphasizing nature-based solutions (NBS) in land based, inland water and marine ecosystems (e.g. ecosystems and habitat restoration, urban greening, blue-green infrastructure, smart port cities, resilient blue cities, circular blue economies, etc.), through the concrete strategies and activities of the Partnerships.

As we envision this dialogue, we recognize the complementary expertise and perspectives that SBEP, Water4All, Biodiversa+ and DUT will bring. The partnerships will present how they holistically approach the interaction between green and blue transitions by referring to activities guided by their Strategic Research and Innovation Agendas (SRIAs), transition pathways and/or flagships programmes. We believe that a collaborative effort across partnerships will not only enrich the content of this event, but also highlight the collective impact of our initiatives at the local, regional, national and, transnational levels. Our objective is to bring together research funding organizations, academic experts, policymakers at different levels, and stakeholders from industry and civil society with an overarching interest to explore comprehensive nature-based solutions to the green/blue transition challenges (too much/too little/too polluted water, biodiversity loss in land and marine ecosystems, access to green urban areas, sustainable blue economies, etc.) in the context of European Partnerships. The discussion will delve into the nexus between knowledge, actions, and impacts to devise effective strategies addressing the multifaceted implications on port cities, biodiversity, water resources, and socio-economic stability.



Bridging the Gap: How to bring local action and R&I closer together to reach a green transition in our cities

10 June
17:00  – 18:30 
Hybrid format, Helsinki


The Driving Urban Transitions (DUT) Partnership is an intergovernmental research and innovation programme addressing key challenges of urban transitions. Our ambition is to shape and facilitate an innovation eco–system so that all urban actors can engage and benefit. While DUT provides the environment for change, the initiatives on site are often driven by social initiatives and activists in cities — recognised as “Urban Doers” in DUT’s stakeholder communities. The challenge lies in efficiently introducing them into the broader research and innovation (R&I) landscape, connecting them with city administration, researchers, and policymakers. In order to support this, the DUT Partnership is providing specific training sessions to prepare them for exploiting R&I funding and networking opportunities.

In this interactive roundtable, we propose a dialogue between social initiatives, entrepreneurs, activists, and R&I specialists, focusing on their current interdependencies and future interactions. The session will explore how urban innovation practitioners and researchers can collaborate, learn from each other, and collectively spearhead transformative changes in our cities. Selected Urban Doers representatives from fields as diverse as non-profit organisations aiming for radical transformation and architectural studios working towards inclusive urban development will share insights into their challenges, perspectives, and experiences with R&I programmes and funding frameworks. The dialogue will be informed by insights and learnings gained by stakeholder involvement professionals in the DUT Partnership. The goal is to provide guidance on how Urban Doers could interact with other stakeholder communities and what opportunities exist for further integration. The session facilitates audience engagement, supported through interactive online tools, such as Mentimeter. The documented key results will be shared in the community, and it is planned to use the results as inputs for booklet on the Urban Doers Community.

Let’s shape urban futures collectively! But where to start? A training workshop on urban living labs and experimental approaches

11 June
15:30 – 17:30 
Workshops and Tutorials, on-site, Helsinki

With the increasing attention towards mission oriented research and innovation (R&I), experimental methods such as urban living labs gain in importance to drive urban transitions. However, talking about experimental approaches seems to be much easier than planning and implementing them in existing research and innovation as well as governance structures. This training session allows participants to playfully lay out the cornerstones for experimental approaches in R&I projects and beyond and to discuss relevant questions that might appear when planning and working in urban living labs such as: “Where to start? How to plan? What are the right methods/tools to tackle a specific urban challenge or implement global/national/regional sustainability strategies? Who should be involved? What if we fail?” etc. Urban transitions imply doing research and innovation differently to address the challenges and crises of the Anthropocene. Experimental approaches/methods allow to do so by combining different knowledge(s), experiences, perspectives, and interests and address urban challenges in open and participatory processes. However, doing things differently also implies working with uncertainty, feedback loops and collective learning in co-creative projects.