Rector's post

AAU and the world's necessary ambition

AAU and the world's necessary ambition

The population of the world has more than doubled during my lifetime. There are now more than 7.5 billion people on the planet. Combined with technological advances and their potential, this means that for the first time in 4.6 billion years, just one single species not only has an impact on ecological systems, the atmosphere, the sea, etc., but is also a critical factor in the changes on Earth. One of the pioneers of environmental science, atmospheric chemist and Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen has named the new epoch the Anthropocene: "The New Human Age".

Rector Per Michael Johansen.So there is some logic in the fact that countries and governments all over the world have established 17 global goals for a sustainable earth. This is one of the most ambitious and important agreements in world history. It is also one of the most necessary. If we want to ensure that future generations have a healthy world to live in, we must create sustainable growth and development.

However, the task of achieving the global goals is a huge one, and we will only solve it if the whole world — governments, organisations, businesses, and individuals — all make the effort.

Universities in particular will play a crucial role. Universities are where we develop new technology that can help solve the major challenges facing the world.

At Aalborg University (AAU), we are in a special position when it comes to helping society solve its specific problems. Working with partners outside the university is a natural thing for both AAU researchers and AAU students — and it has been since the very first years of our history. It’s part of our DNA.

I feel that special DNA and commitment in connection with the global goals for sustainable development. Today, plenty of considerations and activities are ongoing around the university in terms of AAU working towards becoming a global goals university. We must continue this work, and we must ask the students how we can become the leading global goals university in Denmark.

Per Michael Johansen
Aalborg University