Madrid, July 30, 2019.
Between July 1 and 26, one of the 9 Climate-KIC Journey of the year 2019, the largest summer school in Europe in innovation and entrepreneurship to meet the challenges of climate change, took place. For the second consecutive year, it had the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) as one of its venues. In addition to Madrid, students subsequently traveled to the cities of Valencia and Hamburg to complete program training. In turn, another 3 Journeys were held in other European Universities and countries and another 5 more will take place during the month of August.
40 students from all over the world from various academic disciplines and professional profiles were selected to begin in Madrid what would be the Quixote Journey, a trip to expand their knowledge and vision on the challenges that must be faced in terms of climate change, of the hand of researchers and experts from academia, business, politics and entrepreneurship, among others.
Throughout the Journey, the students were coordinated by two coaches recruited directly by the Climate-KIC: Deborah Rimmoiso and Paul Tuinenburg, who were at all times with the students encouraging participation and teamwork in a dynamic and creative way. On the other hand, CEIGRAM, with the collaboration of itdUPM, structured an extensive program of inspiring talks with experts, dynamic and participatory workshops, guided tours and other activities related to climate change, which allowed students to become more aware of this great challenge, be inspired and put on the stage of what this problem represents today for the planet’s ecosystem.
An example of these activities was the excursion to the Escorial to learn about the GuMNet project (Guadarrama Monitoring Network), a climate, meteorological and environmental observation network in the Sierra de Guadarrama, just 50 km northwest of the city of Madrid. During the visit, GuMNet researchers and technicians presented the studies that are being carried out using the atmosphere, soil and subsoil data of this station, such as turbulent processes, soil respiration, evapotranspiration of the vegetation cover and its influence on CO2 fixation, comparing between different types of pastures and mountain breezes, in order to show the impact that climate change is producing. The process of creating ideas and entrepreneurship that were generated around the GuMNet project was also explained.
They also attended spaces such as MARES-Alimentación or Matadero, where guided tours and sessions with experts took place. MARES is an urban transformation project through the social and solidarity economy that seeks to promote productive initiatives and to change the city of Madrid. The Food area was visited, where work is being carried out to develop social and solidarity economy initiatives that work with local, organic and fair trade food. On the other hand in Matadero, a cultural and innovation space that houses proposals of various kinds, the participants of the Journey came to a reflection on adaptation to climate change, energy challenges, nature-based solutions and the power of transformation of art and culture, also having the opportunity to visit ECO VISIONARIOS, an exhibition that seeks to highlight the environmental urgency that planet Earth is currently experiencing.
Also, during the daily sessions held at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica (ETSIAAB) of the UPM, there were numerous experts, researchers, university professors and entrepreneurs related in one way or another with adaptation or mitigation to climate change. Professors from various UPM schools participated here, including the Escuelas Técnicas Superiores de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos; Ingenieros de Telecomunicación, Ingeniería Agronómica y de Ingenieros Industriales, among others. In addition, there were experts such as Tomas Gloria, director of sustainability programs at the Division of Continuing Education (DCE) of Harvard University, and Vera Estefanía González, of the Spanish Climate Change Office.
After Madrid, the students moved to the city of Valencia, where they continued with the training program on topics such as creativity, Design Thinking, Business modeling, entrepreneurship, among others. In Valencia, students also started working in several teams to later present in Hamburg what their innovation proposals would be in the framework of the Community Summit of the Climate-KIC community, where they also met with students from three other journeys held in other European cities. Participants had the opportunity to attend to inspiring talks by key people in systemic change to combat climate change, such as Kirsten Dunlop, CEO of the EIT Climate-KIC or Sandrine Dixson, President of the Club of Rome and EIT Climate-KIC adviser. Success stories were also presented from participants of journeys from previous years, as well as continuation programs of the Journey, such as Climathon.
On the other hand, students of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid have participated in journeys of other cities, and will continue to do so in the journeys that will take place during the month of August.
The Climate Journey undoubtedly represents an opportunity for the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid to position itself at the forefront of the fight against climate change both academically and professionally, allowing its students to interact with students and experts from other countries and learn about the initiatives that are being carried out at European level to address this problem, raising their concerns and promoting potential global networks that in the future can translate into successful initiatives. In this sense, Climate-KIC makes available to the Climate Journey participants a Student Association through which the participants of the journey will be able to contact participants of other journeys, whether this year, previous or even future students. This is done with the objective of strengthening networks and possible synergies regarding entrepreneurship within the global climate change scenario.