Looking back & moving forward

Celebrating the second phase of Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity

Up until August 30, 2022, there had been two significant dates for the Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity. On November 29-30, 2018, we celebrated the official launch of our initiative with a two-day conference which presented an excellent forum for presenting the academic work and discussing the research agenda.

Two years later, March 9, 2020, marked the next big milestone for the initiative. Not only was the morning dedicated to welcoming the Research Associates from different schools and departments EUR to the initiative, we also officially launched the Rotterdam Center for the Economics of Mutuality, of which the Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity is one of the founding members. At that time, we already knew something was coming, but no one was prepared for the impact COVID-19 would have on our daily lifes in the end. March 9, 2020, turned out to be the last big event we could have in person, and soon afterwards all meetings and events were moved into the digital space.

Which is why now, more than 2 years later, we are excited to be able to finally meet in person again, and why this event on August 30, 2022, the DoIP 2.0 kickoff event, is so dear to our hearts. Even though we have been banished into our home offices, or in some cases to our kitchen tables or living room corners, we have continued to work, to be productive, and to work towards our common goal: enabling as many people as possible to benefit from increasing prosperity, whilst minimising the negative consequences. And it was about time to share our efforts with our community.

We have to be honest, the long stretches of uncertainties and lockdowns also left their marks on us. Not being able to see each other meant less intellectual exchange, less collaboration and a feeling of fatigue settling in, but nonetheless we managed to push forward. Our enthusiasm was also bolstered by the midterm report, which was produced in 2020 and which we passed with flying colours. Still, the reviewers had some comments which we wanted to address in the second round of the initiative:

  • To improve our focus on societal impact
  • To no longer limit ourselves to working with three schools, but also to be open to working with the other EUR schools
  • To hire more postdoctoral researchers
  • To develop more partnerships with external stakeholders
  • And to work on our narratives

Now, almost two years later, it is finally time to officially kick-start this second round of our team, and to tell you of the things we have already done and achieved hidden behind our computer screens. During our event on August 30, we shared with you some of the steps we have already undertaken to live up to the feedback from the midterm review, as well as some of the progress that has been made in some of our new and old projects. We have invited postdoctoral researchers, project leads, and external partners to present their work to you.

At the same time, we also wanted to make sure that our PhD candidates also had time to shine and organized a poster presentation for them. In preparation for the day, we had organized a workshop for them already in June during which they learned how to create an attractive banner, and the effort was well worth the outcome. We are proud to have them and their projects as part of our team and are looking forward to seeing the impact they will leave in our lives, in the academic world, as well as in society.

So, what have we done these past two years? We have of course hired several postdoctoral researchers of which three presented their work today. One of them, Filippos Zisopoulos, joined the initiative as part of a larger research project in which we in collaboration with several other Dutch and Chinese universities take a closer look at urban waste management. To explain the details of this project would go far beyond the scope of this blogpost, but we invite you to have a look at the project website for more information. Another urban project presented by one of our postdoctoral researchers, Negar Noori, was the collaboration between the Dutch city of Helmond and herself, and how she will implement her theories into action by supporting Helmond on its way to become an inclusive smart city. And finally, Abby Muricho Onencan presented her ongoing work on PFAS. Besides collecting the lived experience of people directly impacted by the production of PFAS she is currently also looking at the discourse on this topic taking place in social media, such as Twitter.

The second half of the afternoon was dedicated to projects related to business. Marta Szymanowska presented Values in Finance, a project at the intersection between Philosophy and Finance. And finally we harkened back to the event on March 9, 2020, with a presentation by Arleen Westerhof, the Director of the Rotterdam Center for the Economics of Mutuality, and an update on the progress that has been made since we officially launched the Center. This included hiring a postdoctoral researcher, Kees Krul, who will spend the upcoming year in South Korea to look at ways to implement the Economics of Mutuality in Asia.  

It was a long day with interesting presentations, and more importantly a lot of personal interaction. We do not know yet what the coming fall and winter will bring, and if there will be more restrictions and lockdowns for us in store, but meeting in person and sharing our thoughts was a valuable experience which brought us closer again. And while we are struggling with both the effects of the pandemic on us as researchers and persons, as well as with the realities of climate change, the rise of fascism, and conflict and war in many areas on this planet, we still believe it is well worth the fight.

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