A year abroad for research: Prof. Nathalie Crutzen's experience
During the 2022-2023 academic year, Prof. Nathalie Crutzen dedicated one year to her research on the management of sustainable and/or smart cities/ecosystems. Returning to HEC Liege (ULiege, Belgium) in October 2023, she comes back on her major achievements and the new collaborations she developed during her international research stays.
Nathalie, can you remind us about the aim of your sabbatical journey?
The objective was to dedicate one full year to my research in order to reinforce its excellence, its international impact and recognition, focusing on my topic which is the management of sustainable and smart territories.
Where has this sabbatical year taken you?
During this period, I worked a bit less than 3 months at the University of South Australia (Adelaide, Australia), 6 months at the Nova School of Business and Economics (Lisbon, Portugal) and I did a short research stay at the Centre for Sustainability Management/ Leuphana University (Luneburg, Germany).
How useful has it been for your research team?
I see 3 potential benefits of this kind of stay for a research team. First, I have been able to reinforce the international scientific positioning of our research thanks to new publications with quality and impact. Second, I have been inspired a lot and I come back with new research ideas and projects. Finally, I have been able to launch new international collaborations with famous research centers and researchers.
What did you achieve during this period?
First of all, I have been working on the finalization of ongoing research projects with my research team. This has led, for example, to 2 top-quality publications. Secondly, I have been launching 3 new international research projects. Finally, I have been working on the development of a clear research strategy for my research group for the next decade.
What are the themes of these new international projects?
The first project deals with the emergence of SDG practices among local governments, with the case of several Australian local governments. The second research focuses on stakeholder collaborations among smart cities with the specific case of smart and sustainable Cascais (Portugal). Finally, the last collaboration aims at linking digital technologies with sustainability reporting practices among organizations.
Who do you collaborate with?
For the first project, I have been working with prof. Sumit Lodhia from the University of South Australia (Australia). I set up the second research during my stay at the Nova School of Business and Economics (Portugal), in particular with prof. Marta Almeida and with the support of prof. Anne-Laure Fayard. Finally, for the last project, I am collaborating with prof. Samanthi Dijkstra-Silva from TU Dresden (Germany) and prof. Katherine Christ from the University of South Australia.
After your sabbatical, how do you see your research evolving in the next years?
We have now a good scientific and international positioning and the idea is to reinforce the following elements: excellence, international impact and rich international collaborations, without losing our DNA which has always been applied research.
A final word?
I would like to thank all of those who made this experience possible. First, I would like to thank the FNRS, the University of Liège and HEC Liège which supported me during this stay. Second, I would like to thank all the researchers who welcomed me and worked with me during this period. And finally, Il would like to thank my team and in particular the coordinators who take care of my research center during this year.