Research stay at Tsinghua University, China

PhD candidate Alice Frantz Schneider from DIGENT has been awarded the Kristine Bonnevie scholarship to conduct a research stay in Beijing, China. Alice was accepted as a visiting PhD candidate at the School of Environment of Tsinghua University and was based in the team of Urban Mining and Circular Economy from July to September 2019.

Alice at Tsinghua University

Alice’s PhD research focuses on e-waste management systems, and China is one of the countries of study. The stay at Tsinghua University allowed her to collect relevant data, in addition to providing invaluable experience of networking with researchers in the e-waste management field.

Tsinghua University’s Campus

The Kristine Bonnevie scholarship is provided by the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences for a research period abroad from one to six months. PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, and researchers can apply for the grant. More information about the scholarship, and on how to apply, is available here.

Call for papers: 2020 EGOS colloquium on Sustainability Transitions

Birthe Soppe from DIGENT, Taran Thune, and Jochen Markard are convening a track on “Sustainability Transitions: Bridging Systems and Organizational Perspectives to Tackle Grand Challenges” on the forthcoming EGOS colloquium in Hamburg in July 2020.



Introduction to the theme

We live in a world facing a variety of grand challenges connected to environmental and societal sustainability, including food, water, and energy security, climate change, natural disasters, poverty, and inequality. How societies and organizations deal with such challenges and commit to developing more sustainable futures, while discontinuing unsustainable businesses and practices is a key concern and research topic (Ferraro et al., 2015; Geels et al., 2017; George et al., 2016; Markard et al., 2012).

This sub-theme will bring together scholars who study grand sustainability challenges and transformations from different perspectives, including systems and organizations. We are particularly interested in contributions that explore new approaches, perspectives, and methods.



Deadline for submission of short papers: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 (23:59 Central European Time – CET)

We are looking forward to receiving your contributions!

Participation at the PLATE 2019 Conference

Associate professor Maja van der Velden and PhD candidate Ines Junge, both from DIGENT, presented research at the 3rd Product Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE) Conference held in September in Berlin, Germany.

PLATE is organized every two years and brings actors from different sectors to discuss the product lifetimes from a sustainability context. This year’s conference included several workshops and poster sessions, and more than 100 oral presentations.

Maja presented the paper “Sustainable product lifecycles: a systemic approach to the regulation of e-waste” in the session Legal Framework for Product Longevity. The paper was written together with Postdoc Mark Taylor from the Department of Private Law, and Associate professor Martin Oteng-Ababio from the University of Ghana. The authors proposed a polycentric perspective to regulation by bringing the case of cable burning in the scrap metal yard of Agbogbloshie, Ghana.Presentation_PLATE_20092019

Ines presented the paper entitled “Modularity as one principle in sustainable technology design – a design case study on ICT” in the session Design for Sustainable Products. The author explored desirable characteristics and nowadays insufficiencies within modular ICT. Through the design case review spanning over the recent decade’s marketed and conceptualized technology, she argued how modularity can contribute to Sustainable Technology and Interaction Design (StaID), a combination of fields, supposedly treated as a matter of critical design practice in future research.

Both papers were based on research in the “Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade” – SMART project, a Horizon2020-financed project coordinated by the UiO.

Participation on the PhD day 2019

PhD candidate Ines Junge from DIGENT participated in the poster session during PhD day 2019 last week. The event is organized for PhD candidates by the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and the Science Library every year.

In the poster “Borrowed(4)Use Mobile”, Ines combines Sustainable Technology and Interaction Design to discuss paths of transition to a circular economy. She uses the case of the single-use camera to link design/invention with the end-of-life phase and to propose a circular mobile phone design. The poster abstract is available here.

Ines and her poster during the PhD day


Launch of short animation on the mobile phone life cycle

The Sustainable Market Actors for Responsible Trade (SMART) project launched today a short animation on the mobile phone life cycle, to be distributed widely. The animation points out some of the challenges throughout the mobile phones’ life cycle, and brings awareness to the importance of caring and repairing the phones we already own.

Some of the social and environmental footprints from mobile phones (Images from the animation)

The SMART project is funded by the European Union through the Horizon 2020 program and is coordinated by the Law Faculty of the University of Oslo. With a strong interdisciplinary nature, this project involves more than 50 researchers from different fields and countries, all with the same goal in mind: sustainability.

In order to achieve a greater policy coherence for development, this wide project works with different topics, divided into work packages. Associate professor Maja van der Velden from DIGENT is the project leader of the work package on the lifecycle of mobile phones, and DIGENT PhD candidates Alice Frantz Schneider and Ines Junge are among the participants.

Repair=Care (by SMART)

The animation is accompanied by a social media campaign that can be accessed here.


Publication in the Journal Open Education Studies

Alessandra Molinari from University of Urbino (Uniurb), and Andrea Alessandro Gasparini from DIGENT wrote a paper entitled “When Students Design University: a Case Study of Creative Interdisciplinarity between Design Thinking and Humanities”, which was recently published at the Journal Open Education Studies.

Copia di IMG_0460
Participants on the workshop (photo by the authors of the paper)

The paper brings the results of an experimental design thinking (DT) workshop held at the Uniurb in Spring 2018 to investigate ways of promoting student-centered learning (SCL) and student participation in university governance. The workshop was designed to answer the main question on “can DT foster SCL and student participation in university governance, and if this is the case, how?”.


This paper addresses the issue of how to enhance student participation in university governance. This issue is approached by taking into account the growing pressures of the European Commission’s modernization agenda on the educational policies of the European Higher Education Area, and by focusing on the way these pressures affect students’ conceptions of themselves and of the mission of higher education. The thesis presented in this paper is that design thinking and the humanities share a common epistemological core that enables them, if applied in educational settings, to play a major role in fostering students’ trust in their governance skills and in their ability to influence educational policies through a creative mindset and a deeper comprehension of the stakes in present-day higher education. An experimental workshop combining design thinking with the humanities and with the constructivist approach of student-centered learning was held within a course in a humanities bachelor program on the basis of a heuristic framework developed through an interdisciplinary research process. This process was conducted according to the principles of design and hermeneutics. The outcomes of the workshop in terms of the participants’ enhanced self-confidence and decisional skills validate the thesis of this study.

The paper is open access and is available here.

Participation in the Workshop on Organizational Stigma

In September, Associate professor Birthe Soppe from DIGENT participated in the Paper Development Workshop on Organizational Stigma at the IESEG Business School in Paris. She presented the paper “A horse of a different color: How entrepreneurs use design and location to overcome stigma by association“, developed with her co-authors Raissa Pershina, PhD student at DIGENT/UIO and Santi Furnari, Professor at Cass Business School London.

The paper is a qualitative case study about Atari, an entrepreneurial firm founded in the 1970s and the inventor of the first modern video game product called coin-op video games, which kickstarted the coin-op video games industry. At that time, Atari’s products were highly associated with the stigmatized pinball-amusement industry. The paper investigates how Atari and its founder Nolan Bushnell engaged in efforts to overcome this stigmatization throughout the early years of Atari’s emergence.