Title: "European Cooperation for Social Responsibility"

Call: Erasmus+ KA2 (Cooperation)

Duration: 28 months

Coordinator: Ambios Ltd (UK)

Total EU contribution: €  323.994,00

TESAF Budget: €  53.614,00

Responsible Scientific Officer/Investigator: Davide Matteo Pettenella

Research Team: 

Brief description: In 2010, the Europe 2020 Strategy was launched to aid the EU’s recovery from an economic/financial crisis.  The Strategy had ‘sustainable development’ at its core with five headline targets including one for education.  The Erasmus+ programme supports this education objective and the focus on sustainable development through its employment and social responsibility priorities.

Through its ongoing commitment to global sustainable development, the EU was instrumental in shaping the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda (launched 2015) which set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The SDGs provide a focus for 193 countries to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure its peoples enjoy peace & prosperity.

Central to our project are the calls made in a 2017 report to the European Parliament on EU action for sustainability (A8-0239/2017) which identified:

"…that education and training are key to setting society on the path to sustainability … and that “Member States [should] step up their efforts to implement sustainability education at all levels and in all forms of education and training”.

The report “Recommends that … Member States should … raise awareness of sustainable development and … ensure that learning enables people to make responsible decisions and builds capacity for future-oriented thinking.”  Moreover, “education … policies should not only be adjusted to labour market demands but should also promote personal and societal development in a holistic manner.”  The report “Calls for sustainability and ecological citizenship education to be mainstreamed across disciplines, in particular entrepreneurship education, including social entrepreneurship, and digital literacy and skills.” Our project has identified much activity within EU Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that relate to the SDGs, but that this is mostly implicit (implied or understood but not plainly or directly expressed) in its linkage. Opportunities are being missed to explicitly (fully and clearly expressed, leaving nothing implied) link activities to the SDGs.

HEIs provide students with the knowledge & understanding which future NGO staff require and NGOs have the vocational training expertise needed to support SDGs 14 & 15 (life below water & on land).  It is this work-based expertise, when combined with HEI provision & set in a European context (a variety of cultures & geographic locations), that adds significant value to this project.  Such an approach to promoting social responsibility through the SDGs is currently not available in Europe.

The aim of European Cooperation for Social Responsibility - SHOUTOUT4SDGs, is to mainstream the SDGs as a framework for action, recognised through personal learning using enriched video content and e-badging. We will provide our target audience - teaching staff and students in HEIs & NGOs - with a greater awareness of, and ability to explicitly link to, activities that relate to selected SDGs.

The project will share the knowledge & understanding of the connection between social responsibility and the SDGs in our HEI-NGO partnership to identify and articulate European strengths, needs, differences and good practice.  Objectives:

  1. Deliver physical (and virtual) mobilities within blended-learning training programmes to test innovative learning materials that explicitly signpost the UN SDGs
  2. Research, produce, test, evaluate and re-test an Open Educational Resource (OER), containing innovative enriched video learning content and e-badging for a new SDG awareness and linkage toolkit
  3. Use ECVET principles aligned with innovative e-badging of achievement to recognise the learning outcomes achieved by staff & students during mobilities
  4. Train staff & students from project Partners in the use of the new SDG awareness and linkage toolkit
  5. Initiate & facilitate a 100,000+ discussion network of educators, students, NGOs, business, government, media, the public & others on issues related to the SDGs

The final meeting of our recent Erasmus+ Careers in (Nature) Conservation KA2 Strategic Partnership project reported how all the participating students had clearly identified that they wanted to learn how best to action their social responsibility in relation to sustainable development. They had also identified a key barrier to raising awareness of the SDGs – the absence of a system to recognise the achievements of HEI & NGO staff and students in delivering SDGs - this being in stark contrast to how HEIs normally operate through their recognition systems. This clearly identified need can be addressed through the innovative use of e-badging for SDG activities and by building on our previous project website. A European platform is an ideal place to explore, share and promote the SDGs in the context of different cultures - a transnational approach is ultimately the only way to ensure sustainability of life on planet earth.