Published 2019-05-21

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Sustainability and equality in focus at Mistra workshop

How optimistic are you about the potential of uniting digitisation and the environment in a future society that is sustainable and offers equal opportunities?
This was an opening question when Mistra held a workshop to investigate the prospects of a research programme focusing on social structures, and governance and planning of society in a digital era.

Since the intended programme is complex and concerns the whole of society, some 30 people were invited to an initial workshop. Mistra’s long-term perspective and form of programme mean that the year 2030 will be approaching when we reach the conclusion of what is now planned to be a call for proposals in 2020.

Attendees came from a wide range of sectors, ranging from global companies to church organisations. During the day, they were divided into four groups, which were tasked with discussing challenges and opportunities relating to the environment, digitisation, equal opportunities, welfare, and spatial and urban planning in a future society.

For a few hours that afternoon, words flowed freely, and thoughts that might not have been formulated before were suddenly aired.

‘It was exciting to be involved in influencing an upcoming research programme at such an early stage. Normally, we just have to keep up with the research initiatives that exist,’ said Sara Pettersson, who works at the City Executive Office of the City of Gothenburg.

Before the workshop, Torbjörn Lundahl, Programme Director at Ericsson Research, was somewhat hesitant about his participation. Afterwards, he was more than satisfied.

‘On the way here, I was wondering what I was doing there, but it was an exciting day where many surprising thoughts appeared.’

Linda Bell, Mistra

Linda Bell, who organised the workshop jointly with Åsa Moberg, was also pleased when all the discussions that ran over time finally came to an end

‘It feels like exciting things happened in the discussions among people with various backgrounds and we now have lots of material to keep us busy. That will be a good foundation for our continued work.’

The results of the workshop will now be compiled as a starting point for the international working group that is to be created to produce a report. This working group’s report will then become the basis of a call for proposals, provisionally expected early next year.