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Workshop: Exploring the impact of third mission policies and activities for research, universities, and the wider society

International perspectives on universities and their societal impact from Europe, China, and beyond

Oplysninger om arrangementet

Tidspunkt

Torsdag 29. august 2024,  kl. 09:00 - 16:00

Sted

AU Conference Center, Frederik Nielsens Vej 2-4, 8000 Aarhus C. Building 1427, Room 149 (M1)

Pris

Free DKK

Third mission activities, where universities engage actively with society, have grown significantly in importance within today’s academic landscape. These activities encompass communication, outreach, entrepreneurship, collaboration, and innovation, enabling universities to fulfill their societal responsibilities effectively. However, their implementation also raises complex and consequential issues that warrant critical examination. This workshop aims to delve into the impact of third mission policies and activities on research, research institutions, and broader society.

By examining approaches from Europe, China, and other regions, we seek to uncover insights into how mobilizing researchers and institutions contributes to societal change amidst global challenges like geopolitical tensions, human rights issues, and environmental changes affecting international academic relations.

Key objectives

  • Investigate the current landscape of third mission policies and activities worldwide, focusing on strategies, programs, and impacts in Europe and China, particularly in communication, outreach, entrepreneurship, collaboration, and innovation.
  • Analyze how these policies and activities influence research and research institutions globally, emphasizing strategies, metrics, codes of conduct, and collaborative standards.
  • Identify best practices and lessons to shape future third mission policies, balancing academic freedom with societal engagement.
  • Explore the intricate interactions between third mission activities and universities' broader responsibilities, critically examining their impact on research performance, science-society relations, and international cooperation.

This workshop aims to foster dialogue among academics, policymakers, and practitioners, promoting a deeper understanding of how universities can effectively navigate the challenges and opportunities posed by their third mission initiatives to contribute meaningfully to societal development. Graduate students and early-career scholars seeking to expand their knowledge and network in the field of science communication, public engagement, entrepreneurship, and innovation are also welcome participants.

Date and venue

  • The one-day workshop will take place on August 29, 2024, at Aarhus University’s Conference Center
  • Location: Fredrik Nielsens Vej 2-4, 8000 Aarhus C. Building 1427, Room 149 (M1)

Program and speakers

  • 9:00-9:15 Arrival and coffee/tea
  • 9:15-10:45 The impact of third mission policies and activities in China, Europe, and beyond (three talks of 20 minutes each followed by Q&A)
    • Xiaomin Zhu, Associate Professor, Peking University (visiting researcher at Aarhus University from June-September 2024): China's Experience of Science Communication in the Perspective of Third Mission
    • Alan Irwin, Professor, The Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy, Aarhus University, and Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School
    • Stine Haakonsson, Associate Professor, Centre for Business and Development Studies, Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School, and Principal Coordinator for Social Sciences at the Sino-Danish Center
  • 10:45-11:00 Coffee break
  • 11:00-12:30 The third mission and open science (three talks of 20 minutes each followed by Q&A)
    • Kaare Aagaard, Open Science Coordinator, Aarhus University: Open Science and third mission activities: Overlapping objectives and overlapping barriers 
    • Gitte Kragh, Postdoc and Member of Board of Directors of European Citizen Science Association, Center for Science Studies, Aarhus University
    • Bertil Dorch, Library Director, University Library of Southern Denmark
  • 12:30-13:15 Lunch (sandwiches)
  • 13:15-14:45 Consequences of the third mission on communication, governance, and integrity (three talks of 20 minutes each followed by Q&A)
    • Lise Degn, Associate Professor, The Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy, Aarhus University
    • Antoinette Fage-Butler, Associate Professor, School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University
    • Tine Ravn, Associate Professor, The Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy, Aarhus University
  • 14:45-15:00 Coffee break
  • 15:00-15:30 Keynote by Ingrid d’Hooghe, Senior Research Fellow, Clingendael China Centre (online presentation)
  • 15:30-16:00 Final wrap-up

Participation

The workshop will be open to anyone interested. We anticipate attracting a diverse academic audience from all faculties, with accommodation available for up to 50 people. Additionally, there will be an option to participate via Zoom. Please contact the organizers to get the link.

Abstracts

"Open Science and third mission activities: Overlapping objectives and overlapping barriers" by Kaare Aagaard, Aarhus University 

There are substantial overlaps between the main objectives of the Open Science movement on the one side and ambitions to further the third mission activities of universities on the other. In this respect, the adoption of many of the most central Open Science practices also has the potential to facilitate increased societal engagement of universities as institutions and academics as individuals. However, there are also common barriers for both the adoption of Open Science practices and the prioritization of increased societal engagement. The barriers to both are to a large extent linked to the current reward system of science. From this outset, the presentation first outlines the characteristics of a number of interwoven crises currently plaguing the traditional academic model and shows how the Open Science movement can be seen as a response to these. Secondly, it is argued that a reform of the research assessment system and the academic reward system is needed to remedy these crises and that promising steps in this direction already are being taken at the European level and at selected universities. 
Inspirational examples are then given from the COARA initiative (Coalition for Advancing Research Assessment), which a number of Danish universities and funding organisations already have committed to, and from Utrecht University, where a number of concrete initiatives have been launched since 2021. With both sets of examples it is shown how the ambitions to further Open Science and societal engagement in practice can go hand in hand and what potential solutions might look like. Finally, barriers to change are discussed and suggestions of ways forward are presented.

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Organizers

  • Xiaomin Zhu, Associate Professor, Peking University (visiting researcher at Aarhus University from July-September 2024
  • Kristian H. Nielsen, Associate Professor and Head of Centre, Centre for Science Studies, Aarhus University, khn@css.au.dk