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08 June 2023


BRU Research Unit

BRU Research Unit

Name of the research center:

Iscte Business School does not have a research center exclusively focused on the SDGs; however, our research center - BRU Research Unit - has as its strategy the evaluation, organization and monitoring of multidisciplinary research through the integration of the SDGs by means of an IT platform called Ciência-IUL portal. This portal enables its users to manage their scientific production by adding and/or importing information on their publications, talks and other scientific and academic achievements.

All authors have their own public profiles in which they can manage their public information like contacts, external links, curriculum, academic qualifications, teaching activities, supervisions and scientific outputs, including knowledge transfer. The portal also gives access to statistics on the scientific output of the entire university institute and its internal units, including the research units, schools and departments. Each author can also access citations and journal information from other authors for their publications.

BRU is also part of a nationally accredited associated laboratory called SocioDigital Lab for Public Policy, that promotes an interdisciplinary approach to address and respond to the challenges of the 21st century promoting a close association between social sciences and digital technologies to study and impact public policy, with concern for societal impact and business value.

The on-going resilient interdisciplinary work finds expression in national and international projects, involving multidisciplinary teams and interdisciplinary perspectives in an integrative manner. This laboratory brings together six research centers at Iscte – one of them is BRU. This collaboration based on new approaches seeks to ensure that technologies work with and for society to tackle pressing challenges.

The SocioDigital Lab for Public Policy is organized around five interdisciplinary thematic lines: 

• Regenerative territories for carbon neutrality 

• Social inclusion, equality and citizenship 

• Societal health 

• Global governance 

• Digital transformation and public policies

In other words, this laboratory works in a multidisciplinary organization to find common thematic lines SDG oriented. Therefore, in the portal mentioned earlier one can choose a specific SDG and analyze all the investigation related to that SDG, not only inside BRU, but in correspondence to different research centers at Iscte.

Link Ciência-IUL website: https://ciencia.iscte-iul.pt/

Link Ciência-IUL SDG website page: https://ciencia.iscte-iul.pt/sustainable-development-goals?unit_type=&unit_id=0

Link SocioDigital Lab for Public Policy website: https://sociodigitallab.iscte-iul.pt/

Research Center contact:

bru-unide@iscte-iul.pt and (+351) 210464019

Implementation of SDG-focused research centers

Iscte Business School is renowned for its innovative and entrepreneurial focus, international and multicultural environment, and its excellence in both learning and research. Furthermore, a solid connection to the business world is reflected on the exceptional work placement rates of its graduates (close to 100%).

Putting it in numbers, the School is formed by approximately 180 faculty members (tenured, tenure-track and invited), which are distributed throughout six departments: Accounting, Economics, Finance, Marketing, Operations and Management, Quantitative Methods for Management and Economics, and Human Resources and Organizational Behavior.

PRME principles and SDG integration are extremely important because Iscte Business School wants its students to receive all the necessary tools and information to be a 360º citizen. As a higher education institution feeding the next generation of leadership of the most diverse types of organizations, the School has a critical role. Everyone has the responsibility to leave a great impact in this world, and Iscte Business school believes that PRME principles and SDG integration are fundamental guiding lights for accomplishing this mission.

The School is continuously interested in providing students with a culture of rewarding excellence, through high-quality teaching and soft skills development. It seeks to promote an entrepreneurial and innovative mindset, based on a strong international component. And most importantly, foster the values and principles a responsible leadership must work upon in order to maintain a sustainable environment, which are all essential factors to help students achieve a successful career while making impactful positive changes in the society.

Regarding the management and resources to ensure support to PRME implementation and SDG integration on Research, Curriculum and Partnerships, the school relied for a long period on the Accreditations’ office and on the role of the interlocutor of Quality and Sustainability for the Iscte Business School who established the formal connection with the Integrated Quality and Sustainability Management System at the University level (certified with ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and NP4469). In order to strengthen this area at the Business School, in the beginning of 2022, the Dean formally created the role of Associate Dean for Engagement and Impact, as part of the Board, responsible for leading and ensuring, with the support of the School coordination and administrative team, the further development of these areas in the School. Since then, there has been a working team specifically organized for this purpose, working daily on operational demands. Despite the existence of a specific group, there is continuous engagement with professors and administrative staff since this is an area that crosses all the activities of the School. Also, the Iscte Business School is part of Iscte – University Institute of Lisbon, which has its own Sustainability Director and Sustainability Manager, who ensure the SDG’s identification and integration at a global level, as well as most campus operations; whereas the school is involved specifically with its academic programs, research, outreach and other activities.

In terms of strategy, Iscte Business School has its own strategic plan organized along three dimensions of societal impact (educational, intellectual and community ecosystem impact) and that integrates ethics, sustainability and responsibility as a key strategic initiative with various strategic goals and key performance indicators. At the university level, there is a sustainability plan that integrates the People, Planet and Prosperity dimensions and is directly linked to Iscte strategic plan.

Link Responsible Management page at Iscte Business School website: https://ibs.iscte-iul.pt/contents/about-us/2257/responsible-management

Links BRU website: https://bru.iscte-iul.pt/about-us/welcome-message/


In which ways is research fostered, motivated, or incentivized by leadership in the institution

Research is very important for Iscte Business School, as it is for all Iscte. The leadership of the school and of the research unit, BRU, fosters, motivates and encourages it through the daily objectives that the school seeks to fulfil in the small actions of each of its employees as well as its students. This is all part of the school's and BRU's strategic plan, which focuses on fundamental as well as applied research. In the School's strategic plan for 2022-2025, the first strategic initiative is to promote high-quality and actionable research, following up on this motto some objectives standout such as enhancing academic and practice-oriented research; increasing the quality of academic publications; increasing the practice-oriented publications; and increase research projects with funding. Moreover, BRU, as already explained, integrates the SocioDigital Lab for Public Policy, an initiative that brings together interdisciplinary research themes and projects that promotes an association between social sciences and digital technologies to study and impact public policy. This association brings together the different research centers at Iscte and was developed to contribute to research with societal, environmental, corporate and especially policy impact. Besides, its strategy and associations, leadership also encourages research with scientific awards.

Research is undoubtedly strategic for both Iscte Business School and BRU. The leadership of the school, its research center and Iscte as a whole are committed to research.

Main focus of the center's work

There are researchers working on several dimensions, the main focus of work remains on developing theory and increasing practical application.

How many sustainability/SDG-oriented publications are produced by the center(s) each year on average? Please separate your response into peer-reviewed articles and other publications.

In 2021, BRU-Iscte researchers have listed 110 peer-reviewed articles and 16 projects as contributing to specific SDGs. In 2022, these numbers were 89 and 22, respectively.

*Note: the numbers of publications and researchers between Iscte Business School and BRU-Iscte may slightly differ as there is no direct correspondence, but they are approximate realities. Since not all researchers belong to the school and not all faculty from the school are members of BRU-Iscte.

Explain briefly how research carried out in the center feeds into teaching, giving examples of modules/courses or related degree programmes.

Iscte Business School school will provide three different examples on how research carried out in BRU-Iscte feeds into teaching. The first one is a component for different curricular units related to the Management field, the second is a MOOC (massive online open course) and the third is a serious game. Some may bring results direct to teaching, and others might be professional training modules.

The first example is the Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliance project BeComE – Be Competent in Entrepreneurship: Knowledge Alliances for Developing Entrepreneurship Competencies for the Benefit of Higher Education and Business, which started in January 2020 and finished in December 2022. It counted on the participation of BRU-Iscte researchers Henrique Duarte (local coordinator), Ana Junça Silva, António Caetano, Susana Santos, Paulo Bento, Álvaro Dias and Renato Pereira.

This project was led by the Tallinn University of Technology (TALTECH) and included a consortium of 14 partners (universities and SMEs or start-ups) from 5 countries: Estonia, Finland, Italy, Portugal and Poland. This project aimed to excel entrepreneurship education in higher education by creating effective knowledge alliances (KA) between higher education institutions (HEI) and businesses. It was focused on developing students’ entrepreneurship competencies (ECs) to meet the labor market expectations towards professional competencies of employees and entrepreneurs considering the macro-level developments such as globalization, technological advancements and demographic shifts. The project provided innovative solutions for both universities and businesses while supporting the development of innovative and reflective European societies with innovative HEIs and businesses in a context of growing global interdependencies. This project was funded by the European Commission and in practice it helped faculty members to develop the Competence of Personal Initiative and Mindset for Growth not only in curricular units of the entrepreneurship area, but also in different areas of Management. The Sustainable Development Goal identified for this project was SDG9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

Overall findings showed that there were four crucial dimensions of entrepreneurial competencies (EC) that students should work to develop an entrepreneurship mindset, namely:

1) self-management (growth mindset, autonomous motivation, emotional regulation, and metacognition);

2) managing social situations (personal initiative, communication, and cooperation);

3) acting upon opportunities and ideas (understanding environment, opportunity discovery and exploitation and financial literacy), and;

4) creative thinking and finding solutions (creativity, planning, problem-solving, and ethical and sustainable thinking).

BeComE website: https://becomeentrepreneurial....;

Ciência-IUL BeComE website page: https://ciencia.iscte-iul.pt/p...;

EU project website: https://erasmus-plus.ec.europa...

The second example is an Erasmus+ project: REMOWA – Remote working management skills for HR professionals, a European consortium that was led by Polish training organization, PAIZ Konsulting, including 6 partners from 6 countries: Poland, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Croatia and Slovenia. Business Research Unit researchers, Aristides Ferreira, local coordinator, alongside with Ana Passos and Filomena Almeida, represented Iscte Business School. The project started on November 1st and ended on October 31st, 2022. The Sustainable Development Goal identified for this project was SDG8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth.

The project aimed to document the emerging skills gap for managing a remote workforce & to develop corresponding Open Educational Resources (OERs) and a training course for the continuous professional development of HR professionals, trainers, supervisors, consultants and managers of organizations and teams. In particular, the project objectives were:

1) Document the skills required for managing a remote workforce, improving skills intelligence at the EU level;

2) Define learning outcomes for a C-VET course for HR professionals on remote work management;

3) Make available a sector-validated online course for HR professionals; and

4) Provide ready-to-use tools for the workplace to support the role of HR professionals as trainers and mentors.

The outputs of the project were:

1) Evidence-based learning outcomes on remote working management skills for HR & relevant professionals;

2) Curriculum structure (syllabus), learning & assessment materials, a serious game, and a trainer handbook with VET integration guidelines;

3) Creation of pedagogical materials as Open Educational Resources (OERs),

4) REMOWA Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) infrastructures and content in 7 EU languages

5) Self-assessment tools and supporting materials for employers and managers to effectively facilitate remote working

6) Best practice guide with remote working case studies

REMOWA website: https://remowaproject.eu/

Ciência-IUL REMOWA website page: https://ciencia.iscte-iul.pt/projects/remowa---remote-working-management-skills-for-hr-professionals/1482

EU project website: https://erasmus-plus.ec.europa.eu/projects/search/details/2020-1-PL01-KA202-082239

The last example is the Erasmus+ project DeSTRESS – Developing Competences for Stress Resilience @SMEs, a European consortium of 7 partners from 6 countries: Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Poland and Spain. DeSTRESS is one of the few selected projects from the Portuguese Erasmus+ Agency in the call Key Action 2 – Strategic Partnerships for Vocational Education and Training (VET). In a few words, it is a game to train technology-related stress management skills. The Business Research Unit researcher Sílvia Silva was coordinating this project along with Henrique Duarte and Ana Patricia Duarte, also researchers from BRU.

The project aimed to provide an innovative VET-based solution to prevent and manage work-related psychosocial risks and musculoskeletal disorders. Building on existing research, partners identified a required set of competences leading to the development of a VET curriculum and a new VET Digital Training Platform. Using the latest techniques in game-based training and gamification complemented by a set of practical tools and resources to facilitate the transfer of learning into the workplace. This e-environment will expose the main health risks arising from digital technology (DT) and their real impact on the individuals’ life and on the companies’ productivity. Players assumed roles, enabling them to realize if they have already experienced specific situations and how it happened, and which solutions are available for each scenario. Besides raising the awareness of the problem, it enabled owners, managers and decision makers to plan for and to mitigate the occurrence and the negative consequences of work-based stress. The Sustainable Development Goals identified for this project were SDG8 – Decent work and Economic Growth and SDG3 – Good Health and Well-Being.

The main results of the project are directly connected to the proposed Intellectual Outputs and address directly the needs of the target groups:

O1 - DeSTRESS VET Training Contents;

O2 - DeSTRESS VET Digital Training Platform, and

O3 - DeSTRESS Policy Report and Recommendations.

DeStress website:https://destress.eu/en/home/

Ciência-IUL DeStress website page: https://ciencia.iscte-iul.pt/projects/developing-competencies-for-stress-resilience-smes/1278

EU project website: https://erasmus-plus.ec.europa.eu/projects/search/details/2019-1-PT01-KA202-060771


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