Publish Date: 16.06.2020

Category: News from the University

The University of Ljubljana and its Faculty of Social Work have successfully applied for a grant provided under the Marie Skłodowska Curie Innovative Training Networks Action as part of the Horizon 2020 programme. The grant has been awarded to the project Applying Sustainability Transition Research in Social Work Tackling Major Societal Challenge of Social Inclusion (ASTRA). The project is headed by the University of Jyväskylä in Finland.

The partners received EUR 3.96 million for the project. In the project application, the University of Ljubljana was represented by Vesna Leskošek from the Faculty of Social Work, who will head an important doctoral student training work package worth just under EUR 0.5 million.

The project is based on an innovative approach to social work research that includes the sustainable development paradigm, which is important for more effective handling of major societal challenges, as defined in the United Nations millennium development goals. The project’s basic premise is that vulnerable groups cannot be effectively included in society without taking into account the interconnection of social, economic and sustainable perspectives. The project will develop new tools and methods for inclusive and sustainable social work, including the ideas of a circular, social and solidarity economy, sustainable housing and food production, as well as the role of contributive justice in social participation and a decent life for all.

Working on the project will be fifteen junior researchers enrolled in doctoral programmes across seven countries; the University of Ljubljana will hire two. In addition to training in the form of summer schools, webinars and short live seminars, they will have the opportunity to conduct comparative research in cooperation with some important EU sustainability organisations, and will also cooperate with national nature conservation and sustainability NGOs. Thus the project will enable interdisciplinary research, which produces new knowledge through the cooperation of various scholarly disciplines and, what is key, also includes non-academic actors, who are essential for the transition to a sustainable society. ASTRA is in this way creating a new field of research, which will provide professional opportunities in multidisciplinary sustainable development at the local, national and international levels to junior researchers, and allow social work to more appropriately address the key social inclusion challenges we face today.