pITCom Summer Symposium on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS)

The Summer Symposium on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), took place on 7th of June. The Summer Symposium was organized by pITCom and meant to become an annual event.

This year’s symposium aimed to discuss the SDGs and their role in shaping ITC research. The symposium brought together PhD’s, staff and students from different departments of the University. 

Networking event

This time the networking event for PhD’s was organized prior to the symposium. A thoughtful schedule was made to bring together PhD’s, from various departments, with similar interest or expertise in sustainable development goals. They were asked to find similarities in their work, which resulted in a fun and informal setting where common interest between departments was discovered.


The experts got the stage after the lunch. Four speakers from the University of Twente presented their work regarding the sustainable development goals. Prof. Victor Jetten opened the session by giving an introduction to SDG’s and presented his views on relevance of SDG’s to ITC research. The question raised in the title of his presentation -  “Will the sustainable development goals lead to a more sustainable planet?” became one of the central points of discussion later that day. As follow-up, prof. Karin Pfeffer gave an interesting insight in an inner workings of the United Nations Statistical Commission, and the process of SDG negotiations. As third speaker Dr. Marcela Brugnach was invited to deliver a thought regarding the differences in viewpoint of stakeholders on SDG’s. She shared her experience in using knowledge co-production in water management projects to manage conflicting interests of various stakeholders. The final speaker was, prof Menno-Jan Kraak, as a current president of International Cartography Association he talked about lessons learned from his experience in mapping SDG’s and presenting it to UN. He argued that ITC can play a role in collecting data calculating SDGs indicators.

Panel discussion

The discussion was continued when a panel consisting of dr. ing. Tom Rientjes, dr. Michael Marshall, and prof. Menno-Jan Kraak were invited on stage. Panelists started by shortly presenting their views on SDG’s and their role in shaping the future of the planet. After the opening statements, the audience had the opportunity to give their opinion and ask critical questions on various topics such as, the role of ITC for addressing the SDG’s, who profit the most with the SDG’s, and how should solving these SDG’s be approached. Although the panelists had to leave, the discussion between an active group of people continued during a social evening in the city center.

Provoking a discussion

The pITCom Summer Symposium achieved its goal of provoking a discussion on the relevance of SDGs for ITC researchers, and hopefully stimulate the participants to think about the bigger context of their research. The discussions did not end that day but will be continued during the coffee breaks as well as part of formal meetings.