Ecocampus: sustainable higher education

Ecocampus, a programme of the Flemish government, makes a considerable effort in supporting sustainable tertiary education. Sustainable tertiary education embeds the ecological, economical and social principles and practices of sustainable development into it's core mandates. 

Sustainable development is a story of opportunities. Of creativity and innovation. Of different ways of organizing and having the courage to think out of the box. New ways of understanding and exchanging with the world and are essential. Students today need to fully experience this. They will shape our future. Educators and researchers need a stimulating environment.

Ecocampus focuses on educators, researchers and students. They need to be able to use sustainable development as a compas in their day-to-day activities. Now and in the future. What is sustainable today, might not be sustainable tomorrow. In this context of uncertainty, teachers, researchers and students have to work and learn. That's why Ecocampus believes that sustainability isn't about transmitting uncontroversial knowledge or indoctrination with perfect, sustainable actions. It is about creating space in which teachers, researchers and students can study and experiment with sustainability challenges.

This is our offer in English:

Education guide on Wicked Problem Plaza

The topic of the education guide is e-waste. Students do stakeholder roleplays and learn about multi-stakeholder dialogues and how to address wicked problems.

You can also use the education guide for inspiration and adapt the documents to fit your own group of students, theme and learning goals.

Documents of the education guide

Further information

Paper on internationalisation and sustainability

This paper on cross-border sustainability zooms in on the mutual reinforcement between the themes ‘sustainability’ and ‘internationalisation’ in Flemish higher education, as an appropriate response to societal challenges.

This paper discusses:

  1. The concept of sustainability
  2. The topics ‘sustainability’ and ‘internationalisation’ in higher education
  3. The cross-fertilisation between sustainability and internationalisation in
  4. higher education
  5. Working areas for promoting and/or anchoring this cross-fertilisation and existing examples of good practice from higher education.

The focus lies on educational practice. As this is a translation of a Flemish publication ‘cross-border sustainability’, references to websites and examples were included that refer to the Flemish educational context. Nevertheless, we hope to inspire you with this note to make the transfer to your own educational context.

Sustainability in higher education research

Have a look at the 12-minute video Sustainability in Research, an Answer to Wicked Problems: four Flemish researchers and policy directors share their views on the meaning and use of sustainability in higher education research. (English subtitles available).


It builds on previous work by Ecocampus and its partners, and was further explored in a  webinar by professor Thomas Block on 07.12.2016 at 3 PM CET which is available here:

We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on the video. Drop us an email or comment on the Youtube-page.

Video: Education in Flux

This is a video about how education can familiarise students with the changing society. The video introduces the viewers to the key competences for sustainable development. In a short 2 minutes 30 seconds, the viewer learns about systems thinking and the anticipatory, normative, strategic and interpersonal competences. The goal of the video is to challenge teachers to reflect on what these mean for their practice.


Reference Framework on sustainable higher education: 'Designing the unknown'

On request, a team of international researchers created this publication as theoretical framework for sustainable tertiary education. The publication provides a view on several concepts like sustainable development, sustainable tertiary education, barriers, and ways forward. Following a short summary in Dutch, the remainder of the publication is written in English.

Good practices

Sustainability in education 

Ecocampus collected a number of interesting good practices in Flanders on sustainability in education. The practices range from examples of integration in bachelor and master programs; to teacher training; to networks; to hands-on instruments and guidebooks; to projects. In collaboration with the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), Ecocampus translated these practices in English.

Contact us