Dec 16, 2021
Addressing the climate emergency by changing the trajectory of CO2 levels is the most pressing imperative of our time and it requires urgent measures. Students are particularly aware of this urgency, and universities have a unique and critical role in meeting this need.
This is why the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), together with Siemens Gamesa, through its Social Commitment department, are tapping into the great role students can play for disruptive solutions.
Through their new alliance, Siemens Gamesa and SDSN are setting out to promote university talent in the fight against climate change (SDG 13) through a team competition to produce the best disruptive solutions to speed up action for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The winning solution will be awarded 10,000 EUR in prize money for further development and implementation.
Siemens Gamesa and SDSN want to give them a chance to be part of the solution while promoting innovation for quality education (SDG 4) in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
The selected universities will work with undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines to produce solutions for the energy transition and environmental sustainability while supporting regional development.
Solutions should have disruptive potential, be aligned with the SDGs, and be technically feasible.
The first edition of Universities for SDG13 will start in January and end in September 2022 during an award ceremony that will take place in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
Throughout the competition, students will be assisted by teaching staff and mentors from Siemens Gamesa and SDSN. Projects will require a multidisciplinary approach which is essential for the transformation, considering technological, legal, economic, and social aspects of the transition toward a carbon-free economy.
By giving students the opportunity to demonstrate their talent and skills in a collaborative and competitive way, universities will position themselves and their faculties within a dynamic and innovative environment, while providing regional stakeholders with an understanding of technical, legal, and sociological aspects of how local economies could decarbonize.
For this first edition, five universities have been chosen from SDSN’s network: Tsinghua University in China, the University of Pretoria of South Africa, the University of Göttingen of Germany, the Pontifical University of São Paulo in Brazil, and Arizona State University in the United States of America.
As leaders in their fields, Siemens Gamesa and SDSN share the belief that the current lack of interest in STEM careers among young people, especially women, could jeopardize society’s efforts to advance toward sustainability.
Through its Social Commitment department, Siemens Gamesa is devoted to advancing Agenda 2030 with initiatives aligned with five of its Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 1 (No poverty); SDG 4 (Quality Education); SDG 13 (Climate Action); SDG 14 (Life Below Water); and SDG 15 (Life on land).
“We are concerned about the lack of vocations in STEM. By showing the role of innovation and in STEM in solving today’s challenges, we want to expose students to the benefit of a technical career to build a better world," said María Cortina, global head of Social Commitment at Siemens Gamesa.
“Our goal is to maximize the visibility of students as an innovative driving force toward the achievement of the SDGs, in particular an issue that is so relevant to all of them such as climate change, " added Ms. Cortina.
María Cortés Puch, Vice President of Networks at SDSN, adds: “Universities and their students are uniquely placed to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We are excited for the creative solutions the students can come up with! We will do our best to support them bringing these to fruition”.