ICA President's New Year Greeting 2023
The war in Ukraine, and the resulting economic and social crises did and does not leave the academic community indifferent. It changed the behavior, values, and outlook of all of us. The ICA community sent a strong message of support to the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine and to Dmytro Motornyi Tavria State Agrotechnological University, both members of ICA, and to all universities in Ukraine. In doing so we have called upon all life science universities worldwide to cease institutional cooperation with Russian organisations and universities. Each ICA member institution in its own way is supporting Ukraine, morally, politically, and materially and I believe all these initiatives are the core strength of our network.
As every year, the ICA Forum was the place for continuing dialogue and discussion among all members and our societal partners and policy makers. The 12th ICA Rectors and Deans Forum 2022 was held at the Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania. The Forum focused on two topics “Bending the Curve for Biodiversity: challenges and opportunities for life science universities”& “Life science universities addressing Knowledge Security”. At the Forum the 2022 “ICA Excellence Award” was given to Professor Dr. hab. Marek Stefan Szyndel from Warsaw University of Life Sciences, for his life time achievement in science.
The ICA General Assembly preceding the Forum agreed to send an ICA Communiqué to the Leaders at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Montreal, Canada, addressing the urgent need to bend the curve of biodiversity loss. ICA members pledge to political leaders, societal influencers, businesses, and the public placing biodiversity conservation, restoration, and enhancement together with climate neutrality and sustainable food production at the center of our learning and research, in collaboration with societal partners, and university campus operations.
The first step in operationalizing the communiqué is a joint initiative and close cooperation between the ICA Secretariate and Wageningen University & Research: the "ICA Biodiversity Challenge 2023". The idea is to organise in spring 2023 simultaneous monitoring of biodiversity at all ICA member campuses, carried out by staff and students at each university/faculty.
The ICA Board Committees held three Colloquia in 2022, focusing on innovation in higher education in the life sciences at Ghent University, Belgium from 18 to 20 May 2022. The Summary Reports of the Colloquia are available on the ICA website and social media also has been broadly disseminated to the ICA internal network and beyond.
The ICA Board Committees continue with their initiatives and will hold Workshops from 26 to 28 April 2023 at Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW) under the general title "Enhancing student and industry engagement". ICA-Edu Network on "Enhancing student engagement", ICA-CoP Bio-Edu Network on "Engaging with industry to ensure that graduates and professionals are well prepared for employment in the Bioeconomy", and ICA-Edu Special Interest Group focusing on sustainable entrepreneurship education.
With a stronger secretariat, new ICA board members, and active ICA Board and Standing committees we will continue our mission to strengthen and promote European life science universities by supporting and enhancing their education, research, and innovation on sustainable bioeconomy and society, continuously providing them with platforms, events, and series of seminars for better cooperation, joint learning, and sharing experiences and understanding. Together with the ICA Board I look forward to working with you the coming year, as we realize that our work is essential in building a more sustainable and harmonized future, in the European Continent and beyond.
President of ICA and Rector Magnificus, Wageningen University & Research