For the fourth consecutive year, the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) was one of the venues for the Climate-KIC Journey, the largest summer school in Europe on innovation and entrepreneurship to face the challenges posed by climate change. This year, it was again organized together with the Universitat de València and was called The Spanish Journey.
During this year, the Journey was made up of several stages (Legs 1, 2, 3 and 4), with Madrid and Valencia being part of number 2. In total, around 200 students participated this year in nine Journeys organized online by universities and research centres in ten European cities (Dublin, Lisbon, Madrid, Valencia, Zurich, Tallinn, Riga, Malta, Timisoara and Limassol).
For the second consecutive year, all Journeys have been developed online, to avoid health risks, given the Covid-19 pandemic situation in Europe. All this has once again been a challenge in the organization and implementation of the same.
Between July 26 and 30, the UPM, through its R + D + i CEIGRAM centre, coordinated the celebration of the Journey in Madrid, co-organizing Leg 2 of this summer school with the Universitat de València, in charge of this Journey between August 2 and 6.
CEIGRAM, led by the scientific head of the program, Margarita Ruiz Ramos, CEIGRAM researcher and professor at ETSIAAB-UPM, and Esperanza Luque, project manager at CEIGRAM and local manager of the Journey in Madrid, with the support of Hamid Yammine (communication and logistics), designed a program with sessions and activities that made up the Journey. For this, we had expert researchers and consultants in different sectors affected by Climate Change, alumni of Journeys from previous years, virtual guided visits and other activities related to the risks generated by climate change. Discussions have been generated between the speakers and the participants, which have led to a greater awareness of this great challenge, to be inspired and put on the stage of what the problem of climate change represents for life on the planet, today and for generations to come. During the Journey, the students have been coordinated by two coaches (recruited directly by Climate-KIC): Clara Giberga (Spain) and Rowan Simonsen (Denmark), who have been with the students during the Journey, encouraging participation and work as a team in a dynamic and creative way.
This year, again, we had the opportunity to have a session with Vera Estefanía González, from the Spanish Office for Climate Change, an expert in climate policy, who offered the students a broad overview about the current political scenario and how the negotiations on this matter at European and global level, while answering concerns and questions that arose during the session.
Also during this Journey we once again have the support of GuMNet (Guadarrama Monitoring Network), a climate, meteorological and environmental observation network in the Sierra de Guadarrama. Among the presentations related to these sessions, a general presentation on what the problem of climate change represents for the planet, by Fidel González-Rouco, was the starting point; And as a novelty this year, there was the participation of Ana Moreno Caballud and Blas Valero Garcés, from the IPE-CSIC (Pyrenean Institute of Ecology), in addition to a broad description of the objectives and instrumentation of the GuMNet Project. For the visits, filming and preparation of the material for this session, we had the logistical support of Patrimonio Nacional de la Herrería, and with researchers from CEIGRAM, from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (especially that of Félix García Pereira and Cristina Vegas), CIEMAT and IPE-CSIC.
In another session and in collaboration with the itdUPM and the Madrid City Council, it was explained what the Madrid Deep Demonstration project on clean and healthy cities consists of. For this, we had the support of Luisa Guerra and Sara Romero from itdUPM, and Alicia Carvajal, from Dark Matter Labs, who were in charge of describing how the evolution and co-design of this Climate-KIC and city council of Madrid initiative has been.
We also had experts on issues related to climate impacts and challenges for two days: Noemí Merayo (UPM), Jordi Domingo (Fundación Global Nature), Enrique Sánchez (Universidad de Castilla La Mancha) and José Luis Postigo (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos), who together with Professor Margarita Ruiz Ramos promptly assisted the students in concerns related to the challenges that arise in the field of water use, agriculture, weather, security and migration. In the first of these sessions, in addition, one of the participants of the Journey (Lisa Michel) was invited to represent her companions in the panel of experts, which greatly animated the session.
Another session offered during this year was that of “Feeding the world in a warming planet”, coordinated by CEIGRAM researchers Alberto Sanz Cobeña and Ivanka Puigdueta, who have also participated as experts in previous Journeys. During this year they highlighted especially the importance of consuming local products to reduce our carbon footprint around the issue of food. This session was also attended by people linked to the Food Wave project, in which the Madrid City Council participates along with 16 other countries in the world, with young actors with the aim of raising awareness about sustainable approaches to the consumption and production of food in our cities. A short presentation was made, inviting students to participate.
After Madrid, the Journey continued until August 6 by the Universitat de València, led by Professors Lola Garzón Benítez and Marta Pla-Castells. During this second phase of Leg 2, students worked individually and in teams on topics such as creativity, change management, business modeling, storytelling and entrepreneurship, among others.
The next stage, Leg 3, was focused on collaborative learning, applying the knowledge acquired in a more local context, and at the same time interacting with the entire Journey community in a broader way.
Finally, between September 10 and 12, the Community Summit of the Journey (Leg 4) was held, also online, an event that was also open to young students from all over the world, in order to share success stories and failure around the Journey, thus enriching the path towards the design of the system that allows facing the challenges that climate change represents.
The students of the Spanish Journey, organized by groups and to fulfill one of the tasks of the course, outlined several projects related to 1) The complexity of the food system; 2) the need to implement green energy; 3) The circular economy applied to the world of gym equipment; 4) Promote environmentally sustainable changes in behavior.
On the other hand, it is worth noting that around twenty students from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid participated in Journeys organized in other cities.
The EIT Climate-KIC 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, knowing first-hand the initiatives that are being carried out at the European level to face this great challenge, awakening their concerns and promoting potential networks at a global level that in the future may be translated into successful initiatives.
This year, in addition, CEIGRAM and UPM are also participating in the Climate Innovation Leadership (CIL) pilot program, in which students from different European universities (including more than ten from UPM) receive training on tools that allow them to do facing the climatic challenges that our planet currently faces. One of the parts of this pilot program has been constituted, precisely, by the Journey. Added to this, both the UPM and the CEIGRAM will be present soon in what will be the Climathon in the city of Madrid.