The Institute of the Future

I consider myself to be very lucky.

I work for the University of Edinburgh. In doing so I am exposed to some of the fascinating, game changing research and teaching that this world renowned, ancient seat of learning produces. There aren’t many other roles where my insatiable appetite for learning and knowledge can almost be sated. Today was one of those days…

Today was the University’s General Council meeting, an old tradition of governance which came alive for me today with the event shaped around the fascinating and groundbreaking work of our four Global Academies of Health, Justice, Development and Environment & Society.

A Global Academy at Edinburgh University could be likened to the Scottish rugby team, but instead of men of all shapes and sizes valiantly pursuing excellence in the face of what seems to be insurmountable odds (or at least I think they are!) we have academics and students from all different schools, colleges, disciplines and backgrounds coming together to pull as one and address some of the worlds BIG (scary, seemingly impossible, unsolvable) problems.

Action, not apathy was the vibe of the day. My fellow Alumni and I rallied around the idea of an Institute of the Future. Where we, our students, our researchers and academics can curate the conversation around some of these big challenges facing our societies. Challenges such as mass migration across the planet, climate change, conflict, gender equality, urban justice, marine conservation, to name just a few that occupied our thoughts.

Although the challenges are daunting these academies are not daunted! They are a place for differences to be set aside and collaboration and innovation to flourish. As an alumnus as well as a member of staff I felt proud to be a part of the conversation today about what we want our university to be, what role we want it to play in the future, as these big challenges will not solve themselves!

Our academies, in their research, teaching, and dialogue with the world around us, provide a heartening dose of hope and direction around which we can rally and participate. So come on Alumni #rally, its #all4one and #one4all time!

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