Internationales Zentrum für Ethik in den Wissenschaften (IZEW)



Second UNESCO award for the Compentence Center for Sustainable Development

One of 100 educational institutions with best practice ESD

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German UNESCO Commission jointly awarded 100 exemplary educational initiatives from all over Germany on 20 November in Berlin. 55 learning venues, 36 networks and nine municipalities are examples of how sustainability can be systematically anchored in the German education landscape. The Competence Centre for Sustainable Development at the University of Tübingen is one of the prize-winning learning locations, and is the second award for the Competence Centre after 2016.

Since 2016, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German UNESCO Commission (DUK) have been awarding education initiatives once a year as part of the national implementation of the UNESCO World Action Programme for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The selection is made by a jury consisting of members of the National Platform for ESD, the BMBF, Freie Universität Berlin, and the DUK. In addition to learning content, methods, and learning processes, the award-winning actors* focus their activities on ESD. In this way, they contribute to structurally anchoring ESD in the German education landscape.

Under the motto "Excellent", State Secretary Christian Luft of the BMBF and DUK President Prof. Dr. Maria Böhmer awarded prizes to 55 learning locations, 36 networks, and 9 communities for their outstanding commitment to ESD on November 20, 2019 in Berlin.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Potthast, Kerstin Schopp and Matthias Bornemann were presented with the award in Berlin for the Competence Centre for Sustainable Development (KNE) - an important recognition of many years of efforts to fundamentally anchor ESD at the University of Tübingen.

As early as 2016, the KNE had successfully applied as a place of learning. A confirmation of this award in 2019 is to be understood as proof that good progress has been made in the further implementation of ESD at the University of Tübingen. The jury commented: "In its mission statement, the University of Tübingen has committed itself to the maxim of sustainable development. Students in particular play a major role in anchoring education for sustainable development: among other things, they play an active role in shaping the university's orientation towards the mission statement and initiate ESD-related projects. The Advisory Council for Sustainable Development also reviews implementation measures and develops long-term visions. The jury emphasises the exemplary participation of all university groups, which ensures that different perspectives are included in the evaluation and orientation".

The KNE advocates the approach of putting ESD into practice throughout the university, from teaching and research to operation, governance and transfer. This approach of the whole institution approach was particularly highlighted by the jury.

In the field of teaching, for example, there is the interdisciplinary certificate course "Studium Oecologicum", which was initiated 10 years ago by students and serves as a model nationwide, as well as various basic events for student teachers. In the field of research, there are both small and large projects dealing with specific topics of NE (e.g. energy, biological diversity, bioeconomy, ESD). These can be found across faculties from ecology to political science, law or education. This year, the KNE has carried out its own small research project on understandings of NE at the University of Tübingen from a cross-university perspective.

In the field of operations, the waste management officer, the energy manager and the environmental coordinator, who is also responsible for EMAS reporting, are an integral part of the efforts for a sustainable university. The Advisory Council for Sustainable Development, which is made up of representatives of all groups represented at the university, is an advisory body of the Rectorate.

Finally, the area of transfer is not only covered by researchers and teachers of the university, who pass on their results to students and society, but also by the students themselves, who work on relevant aspects of NE in variously committed groups and return them to the university; the same applies to many administrative employees working as internal auditors for EMAS.  

As part of the new excellence strategy, the KNE will now be permanently established at the University of Tübingen.

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