First steps towards NWA research into the Sustainable Development Goals

Report of the NWA-SDG information and network meeting

29 June 2018

On 6 June NWO-WOTRO organised an information and network meeting on the 'SDGs for inclusive sustainable development' route, one of the routes of the Dutch National Research Agenda (NWA). The first open call of the National Research Agenda was published on 24 May and this morning was aimed at informing scientists and potential partners about the call and bringing them into contact with each other to explore collaboration opportuniies.

Almost eighty participants were welcomed by Nick van de Giesen (TUD), figurehead of the NWA-SDG route. After this, a short introduction was given about the development of this route by Martijn Wienia, senior programme manager at NWO-WOTRO and the NWO contact person for the route. The recently published open call was presented by Annemarie Bos from NWO.

For the second part of the morning, the participants are randomly divided over four break-out sessions to discuss in a smaller circle the possibilities to form consortia and to develop proposals for this call. The sessions focussed on the way in which:

  • a scientific system approach can be elaborated in the research proposals;

  • a global perspective can be linked to the context of low and middle-income countries, and;

  • consortium formation can best be achieved.

Findings from the break-out sessions

Some of the findings that emerged from the plenary feedback - of the chairs of the break-out sessions - were that the problem to be addressed should be the main focus. While doing that, different disciplines have to be involved. A careful delineation of the system and a  shared view on its limits is important in this respect. Interdisciplinarity is not a goal in itself, but a complex interdisciplinary approach may be required when adressing complex problems. It is important to look at the way in which research questions with a specific focus fit into the broader issue of sustainable, inclusive global development. For example, the sessions emphasised that Dutch science can learn from what is happening in the global South. It fits within this route to apply these lessons on a global scale.

Focus op consortium formation

Rearding consortia formation, it was concluded that it is good to aim for connections with other routes, preferably by gaining insight into the proposals that are already developing. In addition, consortia must be based on equal partnerships and provide space for young researchers working in this field. This fosters innovations. For the consortia formation within this route some coordination is necessary, the participants concluded, for example through a platform that allows people to find each other on the basis of (requested) expertise. NWO-WOTRO examines whether it can play a facilitating role here, a first step is to share information that the participants already gave as input for the meeting.

To support consortium formation, NWO-WOTRO will inventarise and share proposals in development. If you wish to share your SDG-research idea to find missing expertise (fellow researchers and potential partners), you can fill out the form on the WOTRO-NWA page.

Presentations (in Dutch)

Source: NWO