Prof. Nathalie Crutzen will dedicate this academic year to her research on the management of smart and sustainable territories

This academic year (2022-2023), our academic director - Prof. Nathalie Crutzen - will conduct an international research stay, focused on the governance and the performance of smart and sustainable territories.

Curious to know more about this project? We’ve just asked her a few questions to get more details before her departure, planned on the 1st of October 2022 !
Nathalie Crutzen image large

Nathalie, can you tell us more about this project?

During the career of a researcher/professor, it is important to be able, at some key periods, to concentrate exclusively on research to contribute efficiently to literature and practice, in taking some « helicopter view » on the Society and in exchanging with other colleagues/researchers. 
As a professor, research is a very important part of my job !, but I also have other activities (such as teaching, managing the Smart City Institute since its creation in 2015, conferences/seminars). After having invested a lot of energy in all these activities over the last decade, I am convinced it is time for me to do this international research stay.
In the past, I did several stays abroad – Schulich Business School (Toronto, Canada),  Nottingham University Business School (Nottingham, UK), Leuphana University (Luneburg Germany) – and I am really aware of the added value of this kind of experience, for me as a professor and for the Smart City Institute.
The objective of this new mission (called “sabbatical leave FRNS” - the word could be misleading for someone who is not familiar with the research world because he/she could imagine that I go on holidays) is to dive deeply in the literature, exploit empirical data I collected over the last years with my researchers and to study interesting ecosystems abroad (case study).

What are the topics and issues you plan to study during this year?

My ambition is to contribute to the literature on the management of the transition towards smart and sustainable territories ( "Smart City" according to the vision and definition we used at the Smart City Institute). 

I will focus mainly on governance aspects (stakeholders’ dynamics; innovative and sustainable ecosystems; interactions between governments, private actors, citizens and researchers) and on performance management/management control (intertwined social, environmental and economic results and impacts). I am personally convinced these aspects are at the heart of the major challenges of our Society, particularly in line with the successive crises we are facing !

You mention the fact that such a mission allows you to exchange with foreign professors/researchers. Is this planned in your case?

Yes, two research stays are planned. One in Australia at the University of South Australia (Adelaide) and at the RMIT (Melbourne). The other in Portugal at the Nova Business School (Lisbonne). During these stays, I will have the pleasure to collaborate with high quality researchers/professors (such as Dr. Wei Qian, Prof. Anne-Laure Mention or Prof Pina E Cunha), experts on these subjects.

What do you think is the added value of your stay for your research centre, the Smart City Institute?

I identify, beforehand, several elements :
  • It is a kind of "intellectual retreat": I should be back in Liege in October 2023 with new ideas, mastering even better the latest literature on these complex subjects and - I hope - with new inspirations from outside Wallonia and Belgium as well as best practices to share with the ecosystem around the Smart City Institute. 
  • The ambition is really to continue to position the Smart City Institute as one of the first international scientific reference, through the consolidation of my international research network and with future scientific publications in international high-quality journals with a maximum of impact. 
  • It is the opportunity for the team (working with me for years now) to get promoted and coordinate operationally the institute more actively. 

Regarding this last point, how will the coordination of the institute be organised in your absence? 

Four experienced coordinators (working at the SCI for years) have progressively managed the Smart City Institute over the last months:
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  • Cécile Caputo becomes our administrative and financial coordinator
  • Audrey Lebas is our international relations and partnerships manager
  • Pauline Naisse is in charge of our events and logistics coordination
  • And Julie Randaxhe is our digital content and communication coordinator
The Smart City Institute is thus in safe and good hands and I will be back at HEC Liege on October 2023 with a lot of new ideas
and inspirations in my luggage!Equipe-coordination-SCI-Image 1

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