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Transfer for Sustainable Development at Higher Education Institutions—Untapped Potential for Education for Sustainable Development and for Societal Transformation

Faculty of Landscape Management and Nature Conservation, Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, Schicklerstr. 5, 16225 Eberswalde, Germany
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Current address: netzwerk n e.V., Berlin, Germany.
Current address: Coordinator for development policy of the district office of Spandau, Berlin, Germany.
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The views expressed in this paper are this author’s personal views.
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2925; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072925
Received: 17 February 2020 / Revised: 1 April 2020 / Accepted: 2 April 2020 / Published: 7 April 2020
Higher education institutions (HEIs) are increasingly confronted with societal needs beyond research and teaching. These include sustainable development and technology transfer as well as the practical application of knowledge and ideas. Several HEIs already put sustainable development and transfer into practice. These practitioner–university partnerships comprise a broad range of actors, disciplines, topics, and formats. However, transfer activities that contribute to sustainable development in society still make up only a very small part of HEIs’ activities. In response to calls from society as a whole, HEIs could combine transfer and sustainable development more systematically. In this article, we suggest a concept of transfer for sustainable development. The focus is on sustainability transfer in teaching. We used mixed methods for this conceptual work: exploratory workshops, expert interviews, and a case study of transfer in teaching. One of the results presented in this article is a working definition of sustainability transfer at HEIs. In addition, six characteristics for describing sustainability transfer in its various forms are formulated. This conceptualization makes it possible to analyze the diversity of HEIs’ sustainability transfer activities, it helps to identify and encourage potential transfer actors at HEIs as well as practitioners, and, thus, tap the full potential of sustainability transfer. View Full-Text
Keywords: sustainable development; higher education institutions; university; transfer; practitioner–university partnership; societal impact; education for sustainable development sustainable development; higher education institutions; university; transfer; practitioner–university partnership; societal impact; education for sustainable development
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Nölting, B.; Molitor, H.; Reimann, J.; Skroblin, J.-H.; Dembski, N. Transfer for Sustainable Development at Higher Education Institutions—Untapped Potential for Education for Sustainable Development and for Societal Transformation. Sustainability 2020, 12, 2925.

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