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Lectures & Panels

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Lectures & Panels

Doughnut science: seven ways to think like a 21st-century academic


Anne Urai, University of Leiden


Addressing the climate crisis requires urgent and radical action at all levels of society. Universities have enormous potential to influence and effect change. Universities are home to academics from all manner of backgrounds and disciplines. Their research expands our knowledge on the root causes of, consequences of, and solutions to the climate and biodiversity crisis - knowledge that has the power to influence policy. As educational institutions, universities have the power to inform, engage, motivate, and activate young minds. These can push society towards the social tipping points required for mass mobilization, action, and systems change.

While many academics are acutely aware of the climate and ecological crisis, they feel unable to do much about it. Many believe their research is unrelated and that they lack the requisite expertise to engage beyond their personal lifestyle choices. An even greater barrier, we suggest, is the fact that the demands placed on modern academics - for research productivity, teaching, and service - combined with the increasingly stressful, corporatized, and target-driven nature of the university far exceeds reasonable boundaries. This leaves academics with no headspace or energy for thinking about, engaging with, and acting on the greatest challenge of our time.

To remove these barriers to act on our planetary crisis, we  need to re-think academia.


Anne Urai is a cognitive neuroscientist whose work investigates how the brain transforms sensory information into useful decisions, and how such decisions change with experience and internal states. She is also a passionate advocates for team science, open science and reproducibility, diversity and equality in academia (and beyond), and sustainable academic practices in face of the climate crisis

Day & Time: Day 1, Thursday 13th, 9:15-10:30

Unsustainable Academia: How Precarious Working Conditions Affect the Quality of Research


Amrei Bahr, University of Stuttgart (#ichbinhanna)


Precarious working conditions in academia do not only affect the researchers that are subject to them but are also detrimental to the quality of research as a whole. Short-term contracts, job insecurity and the constant need to acquire grant money seriously compromise the endeavor to reasonably choose topics and pursue them appropriately. The talk will give an overview of several obstacles and disincentives that precarious working conditions provoke for research


Amrei Bahr is a junior professor for philosophy of technology and information at the University of Stuttgart. Together with Kristin Eichhorn and Sebastian Kubon, she is initiator of the #IchBinHanna campaign on Twitter by which they called attention to the precarious working conditions in German academia and sparked an intensive public debate on the topic.

Day & Time: Day 1, Thursday 13th, 13:15-14:30

Panel: How can ecological research be also economical research?

Panel Discussion

Moderator: Dr. Ulf Tölch, Berlin Institute of Health at Charité


Prof. Dr. Amrei Bahr, Junior Professor for Philosophy of Technology and Information at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. Amrei is also one of the initiators of the #ichbinhanna campaign on Twitter by which she called attention to the precarious working conditions in German academia.

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Knödlseder, CNRS Research Director at the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP) in Toulouse, France. Jürgen is also heading the Office for Environmental Footprint Reduction of the Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory.

Dr. Sebastian Jäckle, Researcher at the Department of Political Science, University of Freiburg, Germany. Sebastian also tries to raise awareness regarding the greenhouse gas emissions of nowadays conference business and academic mobility in genera.

Dr. Nina Marsh, Head of Sustainability Management at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, Germany. Nina is responsible for implementing the Foundation's sustainability agenda. In doing so, her work focuses on promoting, practising, and reinforcing sustainability at the Foundation.

Day & Time: Day 1, Thursday 13th, 16:20-17:20

Including the Researcher in the Research: Enhancing physical and mental sustainability in academia among ECRs


Nicholas Outa, WritingHub Africa

Key points: 

  1. The mental and physical wellness issues in academia 
  2. Specific areas of these issues relating to Early Career Researchers (ECRs)
  3. Problems associated with mental health issues in academia and research
  4. My personal ‘story’ to encourage ECRs 
  5. The need for incorporating these issues in research project formulation and implementation 
  6. The consequences of mental and physical wellness related issues on ECRs
  7. What is the way forward and how can we enhance mental and physical sustainability in research and academia?


Nicholas Outa is a researcher and PhD student at Kenya's Maseno University. He is the founder of WritingHub Africa (, an organization that trains, mentors, and supports early career researchers (ECRs) in Scientific Research and Communication, as well as Open Science. He is also a mental health advocate in academia, using his experience and passion to inspire and encourage ECRs on mental health issues in research and academia. 


Day & Time:  Day 2, Friday 14th, 9:15-10:30