The corporate graduate school Future-Proof Cities has a focus on sustainable urban development, and builds on a community dialogue about challenges for Swedish medium-sized towns – a community dialogue in which academia, in collaboration with the private sector and community planning, plays a central part in implementing solutions for sustainable development.
Project manager at MDU
MDU, together with Dalarna University and Gävle University, have been granted 25.9 million SEK by the Knowledge Foundation to start the ”Future-Proof Cities” graduate school, with a focus on sustainable urban development. The project’s total budget, including the universities’ and the participating companies’ involvement, is 54 million SEK.
By 2050 almost 70 percent of the world’s population is expected to be living in towns, and Sweden is also a country with a growing population and strong urbanisation. This places new demands on building towns in an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable way.
In the ”Future-Proof Cities” graduate school three HEIs, in a unique venture, are combining their professional knowledge of urban development. Their purpose is to develop Sweden’s medium-sized towns into climate smart, living, healthy and safe places. In the graduate school the focus will be on prioritising urban development in towns such as Eskilstuna, Västerås, Gävle and Borlänge. A lot of the research previously conducted has focused on the big cities.
Collaboration with the private sector
What is unique with a graduate school is that it builds on a dialogue in which academia, in collaboration with the private sector and the community, directly implement solutions for sustainable development. With 12 doctoral student projects the municipalities’ planning towards sustainable urban development will be strengthened in these regions. The plan is for the doctoral students to be employed within the private sector, while the research supervisors will be at their respective HEIs.
– The graduate school will give us the opportunity to develop, together with our collaboration partners, the interdisciplinary knowledge needed to highlight and develop understanding of several aspects of our community challenges, says Eva Thorin, Head of Research for the Future Energy specialisation at MDU.