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The Edinburgh – Copenhagen Urban Challenge

Posted: 27th September 2017

Urban challengeThe Edinburgh-Copenhagen Urban Challenge is a joint programme led by the University of Edinburgh Business School together with its strategic European partner: Copenhagen Business School, and is offered to postgraduate students from both universities.

Both institutions won EU (Erasmus+) funding to run the programme, which has enabled greater access for student participation. Erasmus+ funding is available for knowledge exchange programmes such as this that involve cities and local business within them. The City of Edinburgh Council are involved as a key partner.

The course focuses on theoretical transdisciplinary teaching with practice-oriented project work led by academic staff from the University of Edinburgh Business School, and Copenhagen Business School. The project is also supported by policy makers and business leaders from both cities.

The programme involves bringing together a cohort of students from both business schools to work together for two weeks in total, with one week in each city.

The vision behind the Edinburgh-Copenhagen Urban Challenge is to create a trans-disciplinary, cross-institutional, and cross-cultural higher education programme to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, investigate past, current and future experiences and accelerate innovation for urban sustainability. The specific focus of the programme is climate change mitigation, involving carbon accounting, finance and management. The programme brings together students, teachers, municipalities, and businesses to work together on real-world challenges in the two cities.

The Edinburgh-Copenhagen Urban Challenge programme, now in its second year, intends to achieve the following:
• Build a lasting and unique collaboration between faculty and students at the University of Edinburgh Business School and Copenhagen Business School, furthering the internationalisation strategy of both schools
• Offer students a truly unique and meaningful international experience
• Develop innovative trans-disciplinary, cross-institutional, and cross-country approaches to research, teaching and learning related to urban sustainability.
• Stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship skills of higher education researchers, teachers, graduate students, municipalities and practitioners within urban sustainability
• Progress integrated systems thinking with regard to solving city scale sustainability challenges.
• Establish a dialogue and close collaboration with key business stakeholders and thereby strengthen the relationship between universities, cities and businesses.

The Edinburgh-Copenhagen Urban Challenge is centred upon carbon policies and CO2 emission reduction, and focuses on real-world challenges related to carbon accounting, finance, strategy, and knowledge transfer, in both Edinburgh and Copenhagen. Students are introduced to a number of methods, standards, and tools for addressing the challenge they are presented with, including different forms of carbon accounting, stakeholder mapping, and a city-scale resource flow platform that supports and facilitates financial investment decisions within sustainable urbanisation.

The structure of the programme facilitates the sharing of lessons between the partner cities, universities, and the participating student cohorts. The case study partner in Edinburgh is the City of Edinburgh Council.

The Copenhagen case partner is the Greater Copenhagen Region. The Danish capital is moving rapidly toward a zero-carbon future, as it erects wind farms, transforms its citywide heating systems, promotes energy efficiency, and lures more people out of their cars and onto public transportation and bikes.

All in, this programme has further strengthened our international alliances with similarly world-leading business schools in key global capital cities, and this programme is a robust and exciting example of what innovative activities can take place within a deep strategic partnership.

Llinos Wyn Jones
International Manager, University of Edinburgh Business School

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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