Aalborg University has since its inception in 1974 conducted research and offered educational programs within the technical and natural sciences as well as the social sciences and humanities. The university expanded in 2010 with a Faculty of Medicine. Although a fairly young university by Danish standards, it is an internationally oriented research university committed to problem based learning, interdisciplinarity and innovation. Aalborg University is also a growing institution – it has a total of 19.000 students and a faculty of approximately 2100 full time academics located at one of AAU’s three campuses – Aalborg, Esbjerg and Copenhagen. Aalborg University is characterized by combining a keen engagement in local, regional, and national issues with an active commitment to international collaboration, and is therefore widely connected with industry and international research milieus across Europe and beyond. Approximately 22% of the university’s total income (in 2013) came from external funding. Aalborg University has considerable experience in managing and monitoring EU projects, supported by competent administrators within human resource management, legal and financial management.
The Section for Sustainable Transitions at the Department of Planning was established by Aalborg University in 2012 as part of the university’s commitment to sustainability in research and teaching. The Section for Sustainable Transitions, which consists of 32 full time faculty, conducts research within four overarching areas:
- Governance of sustainable transitions
- The design and staging of sustainable innovations
- The reconfiguration of social values, institutions and material structures
- Sustainable urban development
Our research is grounded in science and technology studies (STS), but also heavily informed by insights from organization studies, ecological economics and economic sociology, as the section is quite interdisciplinary. The faculty have backgrounds within engineering, economics, organization and management, and ethnology. The section offers a bachelor and master programme in sustainable design, a post graduate programme in sustainable transition as well as PhD courses cantered on developing STS approaches to sustainable transition. The section is deeply engaged in the Centre for Design, Innovation and Sustainability Transitions (DIST) which was formed in 2012 to spearhead research and outreach at the University’s new Copenhagen Campus. DIST is an interdepartmental research group that brings together researchers working on the socio-technical and economic dynamics of moving towards more sustainable societies. A particular priority for DIST is the development modes of intervention that engage a broad array of actors. Aalborg University’s institutional goals of interdisciplinarity, policy relevant research, and interaction between researchers and users are strongly linked to the goals of this project. Aalborg University brings to the consortium theoretical expertise and long-term experience in analysing sustainable transitions, sustainable practices, innovation, policy and empowerment processes.