torsdag 19 maj 2022

SICT Summer School (Aug 29 - Sept 2)


The Third Doctoral School on Sustainable ICT (SICT) will be organized in Grenoble (France) between August 29 and September 2. I will go to Grenoble by train and I will be there for the duration of the summer school (do get in touch if you would like to coordinate your train trip to Grenoble and to meet up on the way there!). 

I will give a keynote talk on Monday and on Thursday and Friday I will run a six-hour workshop where we will work with Fictional Abstracts (200-300 words long statements about fictional research that has not yet been conducted). I have plenty of help planning the workshop primarily from my colleague Elina Eriksson, but also from my phd students Minna Laurell Thorslund and Petra Jääskeläinen, my ex-colleague Tina Ringenson and from SICT 2022 organizer Jan Tobias Muehlberg. Elina and Minna will not come to the summer school, but Petra will come to help organize the workshop and Tina and Jan Tobias will be there all week.

This is the third year in a row that the SICT summer school is held, but I didn't know about it two years ago, and I primarily learned about SICT it a year ago 1) because my colleague Elina and other people I know were invited as speakers and 2) because it sort of competed (nearly collided!) with the Second International Summer School on ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S) that I helped organize. We even sent a mail to them to inquire how our two summer schools should relate to each other and got an interesting answer, which among other things said this (which contextualizes SICT and its history):

At first, we saw the SICT doctoral summer school as an opportunity to support different ways of thinking within our University [Université catholique de Louvain]. We saw it as a local response to support the need to consider sustainability challenges at the very core of our research. We have several professors and researchers motivated by socio-environmental challenges and the role of technological solutions we are working on every day.  

SICT2020 emerged from this context and COVID-19 pandemic forced us to move the date later as well as targeting only Belgian participants. SICT2020 focused mainly on extraction of materials, production and recycling impacts, almost not at all on the use phase impacts. We focused on the sustainability within ICT rather than using ICT for sustainability (similarly to the nuance between Green IT and IT for Green).

For the second edition (SICT2021), we aim at discussing more the use phase impacts but we keep a similar mindset.


even though SICT is fully run in English, we have close interactions with the French community (especially France, Belgium and Switzerland at the moment, Canada to come). For instance, we are in contact with Grenoble (university and CEA-leti) and other French universities/initiatives showing an interest on these topics. Several initiatives are also popping in there and we think that it would be valuable to increase connections for the benefits of the community. Regarding local collaborations, we are happy that KULeuven joined us for organizing SICT2021.

Elina apparently made an impression because she said something about Fictional Abstracts that made organizer Jan Tobias Muehlberg get in touch with her earlier this spring, but since she can't go we plan it together but go there in her stead. And I invite all phd students (and post-docs) to come to the summer school! I think it will be really nice and very interesting! I also personally look forward to meet other speakers although some of the confirmed speakers from North America (Jay Chen, Bill Tomlinson, Alan Borning) will surely participate remotely.

The theme is definitely provocative enough, "Rethinking the Roles of Information and Communication Technologies in the Anthropocene: Towards a Post-Growth World?", and the summer school is not limited to only engineers and computer scientists:

"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."

Each day has a different theme and the five themes are:

  • Systemic view of ICT impacts and perspectives
  • Interdisciplinarity meets sustainable ICT for rethinking mobility
  • Between post-growth and degrowing science: how to research for the future?
  • Building bridges for practicing transdisciplinarity
  • Visions for the road ahead of ICT

I was blown away by the organizers' travel policy in the invitation as I have never seen anything like it before. What if all scientific conferences wrote this in the invitation:

*Logistics:* We plan for SICT 2022 to be an in-person event for the attending PhD students. Additionally, we invite all speakers that are willing and able to reach Grenoble, France, by train or public transportation to join us on-site. [...] If arriving by train or public transportation is not an option for you, we invite you to participate remotely via a digital conferencing solution for presentation and discussion that we will agree on with you ahead of time. Please note that we strongly discourage air travel for the sake of this event.

The program is now in place, but it is also evolving as new information is put into place. The cost of registering is 250 Euros until July 15 (travel and accommodation not included). Here's the official info to disseminate (slightly shortened by me):

Dear colleagues, dear researchers,

- Do you often wonder if our increasing numbers of electronic devices, gigantic data centers, and ubiquitous global networks support or endanger a future that is a sustainable and just world for everyone to live in?

- Are you interested in rethinking how we research, design, deploy, use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for a world within planetary boundaries?

- Are you curious to look beyond the established ways to do things and excited about a place to learn, discuss, and reimagine ICT research with fellow curious minds from different academic fields?

If these questions made you curious, we are inviting you to register for the 3rd Doctoral Summer School on Sustainable ICT (SICT) that is discussing the question: Rethinking the Roles of Information and Communication Technologies in the Anthropocene: Towards a Post-Growth World?

SICT 2022 will take place in-person from August 29 to September 02, 2022, at the Université Grenoble Alpes in Grenoble, France. All details are available on our website.

During SICT 2022, we aim to rethink the roles we grant Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to play for a future within planetary boundaries. Among all our technologies across the individual, collective, and industrial level, ICT are particularly striking in their duality of societal enablers (e.g., connectivity, access to data, and automation) and planetary damages from their lifecycles as well as political inaction due to green growth and decoupling illusions. We are far away from bringing the impacts of ICT (and technologies in general) into balance with our planetary boundaries, yet time is running out on us. Against this backdrop and with a post-growth mindset, we are setting out to question the road ahead for ICT and their roles in humanity’s necessary transition to sustainable societies in the 2022 edition of our doctoral summer school on sustainable ICT.

We engage you as PhD students from diverse fields in an inter- and transdisciplinary setting with talks, debates, and collective works to take on this challenge and rethink how we will research and use ICT in the future. For further information on the theme of SICT 2022, please take a look at our abstract.

Registrations are now open!

The registration fee covers SICT 2022 organizational costs, lunches, a social event, caffeinated breaks, and snacks in the morning. Please mind that transportation and accommodation are not covered by this registration fee, and you will need to make your own arrangements for this. We list accommodation options on our website. SICT 2022 will be an in-person event at Université Grenoble Alpes in Grenoble, France.

If you have any other question, feel free to contact us by email at

We hope to see many of you there!

Kind regards, SICT 2022 Organizing Team


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