How can international collaboration be made more sustainable in future?

A JYUOpen workshop explored how international projects can be designed in a climate-neutral way. The workshop, which was part of the Erasmus+ funded ONE Meeting project, engendered a fruitful discussion among project professionals from various education institutions.

This week, JYUOpen hosted a workshop on how digital tools and resources can best be put to use for diminishing the environmental footprint of international projects.

A typical international project involves numerous face-to-face meetings around Europe. Air travel causes major carbon dioxide emissions each year, and with EU's stated goal of being climate-neutral by 2050, a lot needs to change in how international collaboration is conceived sustainably.

The workshop in the Ruusupuisto building showcased the ONE Meeting project model – created in the Erasmus+ funded project of the same name. The model comprises a digital toolbox and various best practices. At the University of Jyväskylä, the new project model contributes to an increasingly resource-wise future.

”The workshop is a chance to see how the project model can be implemented. We are also happy to give the participating project professionals and proposal writers a platform to discuss how to take environmental considerations into account when drafting future projects," tells Päivi Kananen, International Coordinator at JYUOpen, of the workshop.

"Sharing best practices like this is so fruitful for the development of project work. EU's funding instruments will increasingly favour proposals that minimise environmental impacts within the project, so benchmarking on these topics is key," says Virpi Uotinen, University Teacher, who has represented JYUOpen in the ONE Meeting project.

The project specialists in attendance at the workshop – e.g. from Jyväskylä Educational Consortium Gradia and Jamk University of Applied Sciences – highlighted some notable features of modern project work, relaying the key upskilling needs that, in their view, characterise international project development professionals. A lot of the discussion naturally centred around climate and environmental viewpoints in international collaboration.

The workshop participants represented key education institutions in the region. Image: Petteri Kivimäki

International Coordinator Päivi Kananen gives an overview of the ONE Meeting project. Image: Petteri Kivimäki

University Teacher Virpi Uotinen facilitated the workshop. Image: Petteri Kivimäki

What is the ONE Meeting project model?

One transnational partner meeting is enough

The goal of the ONE Meeting has been to enable future multi-national projects to be successfully carried out with just one transnational partner meeting. This has been pursued through an increase of environmental knowledge, digital communication, and collaboration competences of higher education leaders and staff.

The Open University of the University of Jyväskylä is one of the partners in this international development project, in addition to FernUniversität in Hagen, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, the University of Milano-Bicocca, Eucen, Canice Consulting, and Momentum.

The ONE Meeting project has resulted in a new operating model, whereby international projects only required one face-to-face meeting within the project's lifespan. Typically, an international project would entail several meetings around Europe.

The new model and its emphasis on the efficient use of digital tools serves to ease the burden imposed on the environment by transnational travel and promotes sustainability in international projects.