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J. Segalàs, G. Tejedor

UPC - Barcelona Tech (SPAIN)
The International Seminar on Sustainable Technology Innovation is a course offered in the framework of the master of Sustainability of the Barcelona Tech University.

The main goal of the course are: to connect experts, future researchers and policy-makers on real topics where long-term technological systems renewal is needed in order to fulfill sustainability requirements; to increase the understanding of a sustainable development in the long term and the role of technology therein embedded in systems; to increase the capability to apply foresighting, forecasting and backcasting; to contribute to the development of scientific work competences of students; to increase the capability of teachers to teach the approach of future imaging, foresighting, forecasting and backcasting and to become an experts’ meeting point and create networking activities among different groups and institutions.

It introduces Backcasting scenarios methodology in real sustainability problems. The learning environment is international, transdisciplinar, intergenerational and intercultural. It includes stakeholders’ dialogues and discussions.

The course is organized around current sustainability relevant topics that are analyzed in study cases based in different contexts: going from developed to developing countries and from local to global cases. Students apply scenario methodologies to the study cases in order to set up the most contextualized sustainable strategies. In year 2012 UPC Barcelona Tech is running the fifth time the course and this year it is organised under the Erasmus Intensive Program framework financed by EU. There are students and lecturers from 6 European universities and with different backgrounds participating in the course.

The course is structured in 3 phases:
1- Local situation analysis. From March to May students analyze the topic on their own countries/regions.
2- Study case analysis. In May students are grouped in international multidisciplinary teams and define the state of the art of the case studies.
3- Seminar at UPC. In June students, lecturers and stakeholders meet in Barcelona where the course is run for two weeks in a presential framework.
4- Evaluation of the course. Students analyse their learning experience in terms of competences acquisition.

So far more than 130 students, 30 lecturers and 50 stakeholders have participated in the course.

The topics analyzed in the course vary each year and are related to relevant sustainability challenges: urban solid waste management; food & drinks packaging waste; overfishing and marine ecosystem degradation; sustainable mobility and agro-ecology.

This paper explains the learning environment and the challenges and lessons learnt when organising such a course, and the learning results obtained by students.