Network of Catholic universities organizes event on sustainable development


SACRU, a network of Catholic universities, is hosting an online seminar for doctoral students to share research on environmental sustainability and development.

By an employee of Vatican News

In the focus of global attention on COP26 in Glasgow, 26 PhD students from 8 Catholic universities around the world will present their research on sustainability in an online seminar from November 8th to 11th.

The event is the first to be hosted by SACRU, the Strategic Alliance of Catholic Research Universities, made up of institutions in Australia, Chile, Japan, the United States and Europe.

The initiative is entitled “A Sustainable Future: Research with Impact on the 21st Century”.

University without walls

Pier Sandro Cocconceli, Professor of Microbiology at the University of the Sacred Heart in Rome and Secretary General of SACRU, spoke to Alessandro Di Bussolo of Vatican News about the network and the webinar.

He said the goal of SACRU is to create a “university without walls” that currently has over 200,000 students and nearly 12,000 professors and research staff.

“All in all, these universities share their Catholic identity and the ability to get involved in research,” he said. “The first goal is to shape future generations with the idea that cosmopolitanism and the ability to work with other nations are an integral part of a university’s curriculum; in other words, to shape people to deal with the complexity of the global system. “

With such a large network, students at the 8 universities will be well placed to conduct multidisciplinary research and turn that knowledge into applications for daily life for the good of the planet.

Official SACRU logo

Global Compact for Education

Prof. Cocconceli combined the founding of SACRU with the Global Compact on Education, which was called for by Pope Francis.

The 5 subject areas and 7 commitments of the pact for the DNA of the 8 SACRU universities, the professor said.

“The common goal of all Catholic universities,” he said, “is to put people first, to listen to younger generations, to promote women, to make families more responsible, to open people up to others and then to work on economics and politics . “And build our common house.”

Research for the future of our planet

SACRU was founded in 2019, and after just one face-to-face meeting, all other initiatives due to the pandemic were carried out online.

Prof. Cocconceli said this situation has led organizers and students to expand research activities to other continents, beyond the limits and costs imposed by face-to-face meetings.

This week’s online seminar is aimed at PhD students whose research is concerned with sustainable development in an interdisciplinary context, including the life, economics and social sciences.

“Twenty-eight research projects have been selected and, as is customary at scientific conferences, the students will present their work and hold discussions,” said the professor. “Our role as teachers will essentially be to help students share information on sustainable development.”

Series of SACRU events

The webinar is just the first in a series of SACRU initiatives.

Another conference will take place on November 12th to discuss the effects of the pandemic and

Lock down family life.

Then, on November 18th, SACRU will organize a presentation at the Dubai Expo during the Week of Tolerance.

Three representatives will be on site to demonstrate how the alliance can be a model for other universities and an opportunity to expand SACRU through collaborations with other research networks.

Video presentation of the SACRU network

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