Speakers at the WUN ECR Networking Workshop on SDG 4: Quality Education, highlighted the need to reorient education systems around inclusion, relevance and sustainability. Ms. Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) made a powerful appeal to scholars to bring a ‘humanistic, values-based approach to education and development issues … and understanding and intellectual leadership to policy debates’. She reflected on how the decade of action calls for tighter connections between research and policies, ‘interdisciplinary approaches and scaled-up knowledge sharing – this is what universities are about’.

Professor Dawn Freshwater, Vice-Chancellor at The University of Auckland and Chair of the WUN Partnership Board, situated the unique challenges the pandemic has presented to early career researchers in a broader context of structural barriers to multi-disciplinary research, that need to be addressed in order to research the big global challenges. ‘It is particularly important for university leaders and networks to ensure that early career researchers have the opportunities to build disciplinary knowledge which they can share across international networks, allowing for the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines’.

Replay: WUN ECR Networking Workshop: SDG 4

WUN supports the development of innovative solutions to Sustainable Development Goals challenges by enabling interdisciplinary, comparative analysis grounded in different geographical, cultural, and legal contexts. As part of this commitment, Peter Lennie, WUN Executive Director and Susan Gourvenec, WUN Chair of the Responding to Climate Change Global Challenge Group, invited early career researchers to take advantage of WUN as a vehicle to support their budding careers, especially at this time when traditional models of building international collaboration are no longer possible.

The series of online workshops extends WUN’s support of international research collaboration and mobility. Although the series was triggered by the constraints imposed by the COVID19 pandemic, Lennie noted that it is not intended merely as a stop-gap measure. “It can be a vehicle for enlarging opportunity generally, especially for researchers whose freedom to collaborate internationally has historically been limited by financial or other restrictions on travel.”

If you’d like to subscribe to program announcements for the WUN Early Career Researcher International Network Development Program, please sign up at this link. Opportunities for upcoming networking events will also be announced on Twitter: follow us at @WUNetwork and join the conversation using the hashtag #WUNECR