In a shining hour for Prof. Mike Czerniak, environmental manager for Edwards Ltd., a SEMI member company, and Chemistry Prof. Simon O’ Doherty of the University of Bristol, the educators presented a case study on efforts by the semiconductor and aluminum industries to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions – part of an online Bristol Futures course that won the National Award in the Next Generation Learning and Skills category of the prestigious Green Gown Awards.
The online students hailed the semiconductor industry as an exemplar of applying abatement systems to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as well as an excellent example of an engaged industry and true dedication to sustainable development. The course – Unleash Your Potential: Sustainable Futures – encourages students to learn about the sustainability challenges of the modern world and make a positive contribution to society.
This four-week online course takes learners on a journey to explore their personal views and understanding of sustainable development, then addresses challenges faced by the city of Bristol and globally before bringing them back to the personal. The case study features academics and industrial partners discussing the challenges of greenhouse gas emissions and the benefits of cutting-edge collaborations aimed at driving long-term solutions.
Hosted on the FutureLearn platform and offered three times a year, the free online course is structured around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to provide fascinating, solution-based narratives in the era of the Anthropocene.
The University of Bristol launched Bristol Futures in 2018 and the initiative centers on three themes: Global Citizenship, Sustainable Futures and Innovation, and Enterprise. The interdisciplinary team that developed the Sustainable Futures theme consisted of myself (Ph.D. candidate, Chemistry/Geography), Chris Preist (Professor, Computer Science and Sustainability) and Aisling Tierney (Ph.D. Archeology); this interdisciplinary approach was introduced by sustainable development pioneers Chris Willmore (Professor of Law and Sustainability) and Martin Wiles (Head of Sustainability)
The case studies have one particular strength – a sweeping diversity of contributors to reflect the endless possibilities of sustainable development. The 10-minute videos engage learners with academics, researchers, industrial experts, students, government and non-government organizations and communities. The Head of Unesco for Maritime Affairs, goat herders in Croatia, authors, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), first-year university students – they all add their special flavor to sustainable development.
Established in 2004, the Green Gown Awards recognize the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges. We are extremely proud that this online course has been recognized as sector leading by the Green Gown Awards and thrilled that the Sustainable Futures online course has been taken by more than 5,700 people, including over 2,000 students at the University of Bristol.
We hope that the Sustainable Futures family will continue to grow and invite you to join us in this exploration of sustainable development, global challenges and yourself in our next run starting in February 2020!
Eleni Michalopoulou is a Ph.D. candidate, Atmospheric Chemistry Research Group, School of Chemistry, at the University of Bristol.