Joint Online Conference by NTNU and the University of Glasgow on Climate Change Initiatives

On October 1, 2021, the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) and the University of Glasgow (UofG) hosted an international conference online, inviting faculty from both institutions to deeply consider environmental education for sustainability. Specifically, the two universities discussed practical actions being implemented in Taiwan and the UK, related curriculum to be established in both schools, and measures for sharing research findings between NTNU and UofG to increase academic collaboration opportunities.

NTNU President Cheng-Chih Wu stated that NTNU and the University of Glasgow have had a long history of working together already, with a deep commitment to cultivating the next generation of leaders. NTNU has made long-term investments into the issue of sustainability for many years now, establishing the Sustainable Development Center last year and making sustainability a key priority of the 2020-2025 development plan. President Wu pointed out that the pandemic has delayed numerous collaboration opportunities; however, he hopes that through a partnership between academia and industry, solutions to climate change may be found.

The University of Glasgow is among the top 100 universities in the world. It will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties at the end of October this year. UofG Principal Anton Muscatelli believes that through research collaboration between UofG and NTNU, the two universities can play important roles in promoting sustainable development as well as teaching the next generation to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Around one hundred people attended the online conference. Besides the presidents and vice presidents of both universities, NTNU’s Vice President for International Affairs, Prof. Chun-Chi Lin, and Associate Vice President for International Affairs, Prof. Nikky Lin, served as conference moderators. During the conference, they mentioned how NTNU is playing its part in academic research and social responsibility by applying information and technology to sustainable development. For example, NTNU used technology in genetic engineering to convert cooking oil waste into high-quality biodiesel, contributing to the goal of carbon neutrality. Vice President Lin also hopes that this conference expands the dialogue between the two schools and paves the way for future academic collaborations.

The conference also invited Professor Tzu-Chau Chang from NTNU’s Graduate Institute of Environmental Education and Geography Professor Shew-Jiuan Su to discuss how the issue of sustainability can be integrated into a quality-oriented curriculum as well as the efforts Taiwan has made for sustainability. UofG Principal Anton Muscatelli represented his school in discussing how to promote sustainable development, and Geography Professor Larissa Naylor shared how the UK is responding agilely to the problem of rising sea levels.

Professor Tzu-Chau Chang said that NTNU has contributed a great deal to the integration of sustainability into Taiwan’s education, ranging from first grade in elementary to the third year of high school, with the goal of comprehensive environmental literacy. Professor Shew-Jiuan Su made the point that Taiwanese society is now increasingly aware of issues related to sustainable development; implementing sustainable practices is now a prominent focal point not just for nonprofit organizations but for Taiwan’s industrial, governmental, and academic sectors as well.

Principal Anton Muscatelli shared about the objectives for integrating sustainable development issues into research; he also said that the University of Glasgow is currently examining whether each school activity is in compliance with the sustainable development model while also evaluating the positive and negative effects upon the community. Professor Larissa Naylor reported that, as the sea level rises due to climate change, research teams are trying numerous methods to protect the UK coastline. For example, the installation of several special equipment or the creation of green park spaces on designated land could reduce shoreline erosion and maintain the distance between the coast and residential areas.

The conference’s panel discussions not only allowed for more in-depth exchanges of lecture contents, but they also suggested the possibility of future collaborations; NTNU mentioned that both schools can establish related courses so as to provide students with online exchange opportunities. The University of Glasgow proposed sharing research results to more widely circulate relevant findings and assist researchers at both institutions in advancing their respective fields.

During the closing ceremony, NTNU Executive Vice President Yung-Hsiang Ying commended both schools for presenting numerous constructive insights and research outcomes; He anticipates that future collaborations will further contribute to the development of a sustainable society. University of Glasgow’s Vice Principal for External Relations, Rachel Sandison, thanked all the conference participants and organizers, and recognized the joint efforts by both universities on the related issues.