Environment and sustainable development in doctoral education
Sustainable development is an important aspect of Karolinska Institutet’s core values.
The activities of Karolinska Institutet (KI) fall within an area where fundamental values are of a particular importance. According to KI’s core values, our activities are to be characterised by a strong social commitment and contribution to sustainable development within and outside Sweden’s borders through our education and research.
All research conducted at KI contributes to improving human health, which is a prerequisite for the sustainable development of the society. The doctoral education at KI is to be caracterised by high quality so that all doctoral students can make a significant contribution to the sustainable development of the society as well as develop as scientists.
Supervisors and doctoral students at KI are recommended to reflect over how the doctoral student’s education, including the intended learning outcomes for doctoral education according to the Higher Education Ordinance, contributes to KI’s mission and vision according to KI’s core values.
Research that highlights the links between health, socioeconomic factors and human environmental impact is of particular importance for sustainable development. There are a range of thematic doctoral programmes at KI that arrange learning activities, e.g. courses, workshops and seminars, about environment and sustainable development. Doctoral students register for one or several doctoral programmes in their individual study plans, and thereafter obtain information about courses and activities that are arranged by the doctoral programme. At any time, doctoral students can register to additional doctoral programmes by sending an e-mail to the doctoral programme’s administrator or coordinator.
Some of the doctoral programmes that works with environment and sustainable development at KI are:
The doctoral programme provides education in toxicology, occupational and environmental medicine, as well as health risk and safety assessments for different types of environmental factors. The overall aim of the programme is to contribute to national and international goals of a sustainable development through research training. The programme has a special focus on prevention in relation to chemicals exposure via products in our everyday lives and in our food. At the same time, the programme is a platform for collaboration with other universities and organisations that provide education in toxicology, occupational and environmental medicine, as well as health risk and safety assessments both nationally and internationally.
Global health: The doctoral programme provides education within areas such as diseases of the poor, public health, epidemiology, antibiotic resistance, and methodology, in the context of poverty. The program contributes to a better environment by offering most of its courses on-line in the “blending learning” format. In this way, students do not need to travel to Stockholm to participate. Currently, the programme’s students participate from the US, Africa, Asia and other sites in Sweden.
Infection biology: The doctoral programme provides education in how infectious diseases arise and spread, how infectious agents interact with humans, and how infectious diseases can be prevented and treated. Considering infectious diseases potential effect on the individual and the society, the programme contributes to maintaining a good environment and to strengthen social and economic sustainability. Eco-labelling and environmental certifications are considered for the programme’s procurements. Teachers are encouraged to use electronic educational materials instead of printouts.
The Doctoral Programme in Epidemiology constitute a coherent and systematic structure, including basic and advanced courses in theory and methods, as well as courses focused on specific areas of epidemiological applications. In some of the educational activities, e-learning modules or blended learning approaches are used.
Doctoral courses in environment and sustainable development
As of the autumn 2013, all newly admitted doctoral students whose studies are carried out either fully or partially in a laboratory are to attend a compulsory course in Laboratory Safety (1,8 higher education credits) which provides instruction on the safe handling of substances hazardous to the environment during laboratory work.
To map out elements of environment and sustainable development within doctoral education at Karolinska Institutet, a survey was sent out to course directors and other concerned staff during 2014. Results, conclusions and suggested steps to take have been summarised in the report (in Swedish):
Networks for doctoral students
To participate in activities organised by the doctoral programmes is a way for the doctoral student to create a network within his/her field of research, beyond one’s own research group and department.
Doctoral supervisor training
Doctoral supervisors at KI are educated in sustainable development via for example elements in the compulsory introductory course for doctoral supervisors and the course Leadership for research group leaders.