SICT2021

A doctoral school on sustainable ICT

Illustration of sustainable, ethic and human-centered ICT
Sustainable, ethic, and human-centered ICT
SICT2021 aims to bridge the gap between research in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the overarching and inter-related social, environmental, and economic questions of our time. This second edition of this doctoral summer school will critically look at the current state of ICT, challenge its mainstream research agenda and underlying assumptions, and discuss the role(s) ICT researchers can play to build a sustainable and desirable future in a finite world.

Far from limited to researchers with an engineering background, the event wishes to promote trans-disciplinary interactions on ICT topics by bringing together individuals with a broad range of expertise.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Our opinion paper "Could Unsustainable Electronics Support Sustainability?", written after SICT2020, has just been published in MDPI Sustainability.

Program

The complex dynamics between the positive and negative impacts of ICT

This first day aims at leveraging SICT2020 to provide an overview of the current debate on global trends regarding ICT, the industry’s footprint, and to broadly introduce sustainability in the ICT sector.

Getting inspired by technological developments with constraints

The day takes a multi-disciplinary approach to understand how IT can be used with purpose in social, economical and environmental contexts. Speakers such as economists, computer scientists, and artists will explore its impact on both the environment and individuals.

In between academia and industry: how can we re-imagine the road ahead?

The day brings together experts from industry to investigate the strategies they adopted to address environmental and social issues in their operations. The goal is to connect research concerns to practical issues, using once again multi-disciplinary approach.

Hackaton day: turning ideas into actions

The hackaton day is about sharing ideas to define individual research topics around sustainable ICT, building on the insights acquired throughout the week. By collaborating with like-minded researchers and joining expertise from multiple disciplines and approaches, the goal is to produce opinions and concrete tracks for sustainable solution to ICT-related challenges.

Thinking and researching differently

The last day allows participants to share their work and reflections, while receiving feedback from other attendees and experts. The speakers have been selected to spark questions about the societal relevance of the innovations we are driving as researchers, to shed some light on low techs initiatives and how we could orientate our research towards more holistic considerations and more consciousness for sustainability challenges.

About

SICT2021 aims to bridge the gap between research in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the overarching and inter-related social, environmental, and economic questions of our time. This second edition of this doctoral summer school will critically look at the current state of ICT, challenge its mainstream research agenda and underlying assumptions, and discuss the role(s) ICT researchers can play to build a sustainable and desirable future in a finite world. Far from limited to researchers with an engineering background, the event wishes to promote trans-disciplinary interactions on ICT topics by bringing together individuals with a broad range of expertise.

The program of the doctoral summer school has been built to offer a multi-disciplinary and holistic system-view approach to sustainable ICT. While the first edition put the focus on the impact of production steps such as raw materials extraction, SICT2021 aims to build on these insights to delve into another key aspect in the system life cycle: the use phase. This choice naturally orients the discussion towards software-related aspects, which will stand as the central theme addressed throughout the week. From data centers' power consumption to the development of lightweight websites, from mitigating user footprint through Human-Computer Interaction to exploring limits-aware computing for post growth contexts, SICT2021 aims to provide attendees with a broad yet coherent view of the sustainable ICT perspectives through talks, workshops, collective reflections sessions, hands-on sessions, expert panels, and more!

Building upon our experience from the first edition, SICT2021 aims to combine the concept of doctoral school while taking inspiration from sprint events, where participants from various backgrounds join forces to produce concrete deliverables. To that end, lectures, talks and expert panels will be intertwined with workshop sessions, leading up to a hackaton day. Groups of attendees will have the opportunity to work on their own sustainable-ICT-related research projects, benefiting from the expertise and feedback of the SICT speakers, and possibly leading to follow-up research or future publications.

Importantly, this summer school does not aim to introduce specific and highly technical content. Instead, SICT2021 wants participants to take a step back from narrow and very specific research objectives, and rather question the purpose, fate, and impact of the technology we contribute at creating as researchers. While enabling tremendous possibilities once on the market, ICT innovations are rarely questioned in term of societal necessity / pertinence with respect to their footprint, especially previous to their development. Universities exist for the long term: they have a critical role to play on long-term thinking and are responsible for growing the seeds of tomorrow. It is of decisive importance that values governing Universities differ from those dominating the for-profit world.

It is in this context that the SICT doctoral summer school has been created. Some researchers and professors from the UCLouvain/ICTEAM (Science & Technology) were concerned about the socio-environmental impacts of technology as much as global trend pushing towards more performance at the expense of weakened resilience. By wondering how people with different backgrounds could be gathered to question ICT impacts from several perspectives, they came up with SICT2020, the first edition of the project. Indeed, UCLouvain as many other Universities brings many research fields together in one place. Improving interactions between these different fields seemed an interesting way to stimulate research on technology for needs and not for desires allowing also to better sort between what we could do and what we want to do. In order to encourage people with different skills to share with each others, interactive social workshops and collective intelligence modules are in place with ICT as common theme.

Other initiatives of interest

COMPASS'22

ACM SIGCAS Computing and Sustainable Societies (COMPASS'22)
Seattle, Washington, June 22-24, 2022. (Co-located with ICTD 2022)

Inspired by the broad agenda of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ACM COMPASS is an international forum for the presentation and publication of original research that supports the growth of sustainable societies worldwide, from a broad array of disciplines including computer and information sciences, social sciences, environmental sciences, and engineering.

More information: https://compass.acm.org/.

ICT4S 2022

ICT for Sustainability
Plovdiv, Bulgaria and virtually, June 14-16, 2022.

The international ICT4S conferences bring together leading researchers in ICT for Sustainability with government and industry representatives, including decision-makers with an interest in using ICT for sustainability, researchers focusing on ICT effects on sustainability and developers of sustainable ICT systems or applications.