“SITE4Society” was initiated by Prof. Shyama V. Ramani to create dialogue and cooperation between students, researchers and other community stakeholders on pathways to attain the Sustainable Development Goals. Its activities have been developed in collaboration with different groups of academics and students across the globe, with the core team being in UNU-MERIT. Its mission is to mobilize academics and students to contribute to making the world a better place via research, action-research, workshops, training programmes and publication briefs. The focus is on the SITE variables i.e. science, innovation, infrastructure, technology and engagement (via entrepreneurship and/or governance) that can serve the National Missions of countries and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The ‘SITE4Society Event Series’ was how it began with Dr. Serdar Turkeli at UNU-MERIT, Maastricht in November 2017. To date, five events featuring firms, entrepreneurs, firm managers, academics and students have been organised. Our events are tailored dialogues between ‘those who are making change happen and those studying how change happens!’ to serve as live learning experiences for students. By this, we mean that speakers are requested to answer questions that are the objects of current research from the perspective of their experience, and also make suggestions on what ought to be researched further.
Then, the “SITE4Society SDG Brief” series was conceived and developed by Prof. Ramani, Dr. Nanditha Mathew and Mr. Anurag Kanaujia and the first brief was published in February 2018. They are summaries of prior published work (articles, books, chapters, conference presentations) designed to be diffused among a larger community. Each ‘SITE4Society SDG Brief’ presents the essential details of a publication: the motivation for the research, the research design, main findings and policy.
Finally, ‘SITE4Society Student Internships’ (non-paid) were started in September 2018 to train students and build their employability skills. Bachelor and Masters level students are engaged in social marketing for briefs, events organisation and providing feedback on our activities to move forward. They are mentored by doctoral students and Prof. Ramani. Only 3-4 students are taken per trimester and each is expected to spend 4 to 5 hours per week on internship work.