EU Ideas Lab: Green Ideas for Europe

Three young people with a model of a wind turbine
© Gettyimages / FatCamera

On the occasion of the German EU Council Presidency, in 2020 the DAAD called for its alumni associations, regional offices, and European information centres to organise interdisciplinary Ideas Labs dealing with seven key topics – such as ‘migration’, ‘’, and ‘digitisation and transformation of the economy’. ‘The aim was and remains to ensure that our alumni are motivated to introduce their ideas for Europe and also to network more closely in the process’, says DAAD Senior Desk Officer Christina Schaar. Despite the fact that several pre-planned workshops had to be cancelled due to the corona pandemic, between May 2020 and October 2021 there were a total of eight that did take place. Half of these were dedicated to the European Green Deal. Christina Schaar believes that ‘This shows the extent to which the DAAD’s key topic of sustainability is also an issue that is significant to our alumni.’ 

The EU Member states used the European Green Deal to commit themselves to reducing their net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, thereby enabling Europe to become the first climate neutral continent. This commitment covers ecological, economic, and social aspects. It requires that CO2 emissions in the EU should drop 55 per cent by 2030 compared to the level in 1990. Far-reaching changes in the areas of financial market regulation, energy supply, transport, trade, industry, agriculture, and forest management are envisaged to ensure that this target is achieved.

#DAADalumni4EU – Ideas for Europe

#DAADalumni4EU – Ideas for Europe
#DAADalumni4EU – Ideas for Europe ©

The four Labs dealing with the European Green Deal in Hungary, Serbia (including alumni from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro), Poland, and Romania produced a wide range of creative ideas, says Schaar: ‘This indicates the great success of collaboration among very committed and highly qualified alumni from quite different domains who are using their personal and professional expertise to pursue a common goal.’ The alumni from Budapest and Zlatibor were working on approaches in education policy and academic communication (see Alumni Portraits), but the winning idea developed by the virtual lab in Romania led by Mihaela Andreea Voniea aimed to use psychological insights to achieve individual changes in consumer behaviour.

The participants in the Polish virtual lab adopted the motto ‘’ in developing their suggestions relating to social media challenges, which demonstrate how each and every one of us can make our own environment more sustainable in everyday life. A prize was awarded to the campaign (English: #cyclinghero) run by Wiktoria Zaton, Daniel Gebler and Mateusz Osiecki, which has already been implemented in the meantime. Social media channels were used to invite people to cycle an everyday journey for which they would normally use their car or public transport, and then to post a photo of it with the hashtag for the challenge.

Selected ideas from the eight workshops will be presented at the major hybrid closing event from 17 to 19 March, which will also be attended by Members of the German Bundestag and the EU Parliament. Alumni will also have the opportunity of introducing further suggestions at this event. The participating alumni will join topical workshops to collaborate in finding solutions to Europe's most pressing issues. The ideas and recommendations that are developed will be recorded in policy briefs. The plan is then to submit these policy briefs to political decision-makers.

Continue reading on the Alumniportal Deutschland

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