International Think Tank Workshop within the NiCE project

Our colleagues introduced their findings at the international Think Tank Workshop on the 5th of March 2024, organized within the framework of the CE0100312 Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE „NiCE: From Niche to Centre – City centres as Places of Circular Lifestyles” (NiCE) project that is being conducted with the participation of the Department of Environmental Economics and Sustainability.

The NiCE project focuses on two main challenges – a transformation of central places in cities that make it easy for their inhabitants to implement sustainable lifestyles and at the same time to (re)animate centres in a more circular way.

9 partners from 8 different countries participate in the NiCE project: The German Environmental Agency (DE) took on the role of consortium-leader; ENVIROS, an environmental protection related consulting company (CZ); StadtLABOR, a lab for sustainable innovation (AT); Scientific Research Centre Bistra Ptuj, a research and development centre (SI); Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (IT); Research and Innovation Centre Pro- Akademia (PL); Budapest University of Technology and Economics (HU); Creative Industry Košice, n.o., a creative agency (SK) and the Municipality of Brzeg Dolny (PL).

The main task of the BME Department of Environmental Economics and Sustainability in the project is to provide the scientific and professional background, to lead the first, circular economy-centered workpackage (Workpackage 1), furthermore, to support the preparation of pilot actions, to monitor their implementation, and to develop an indicator-based framework related to performance evaluation.

The project took off in May 2023.

About 50 invited delegates from eight consortium partner countries attended the Think Tank Workshop in person or in an online format, thus creating a unique hybrid event, where a great number our colleagues represented our Department. Dr. Gyula Zilahy and Dr. Mariann Szabó, as professional leaders of the first workpackage (Workpackage 1) attended the event in person in Košice, Slovakia, while Dr. Noémi Éva Csigéné Nagypál, Dr. Ádám Csuvár, Dr. György Ádám Horváth and Dr. Tibor Princz-Jakovics participated in an online format as leaders of the online discussion groups. The Hungarian delegation was further supported by Zsuzsanna Farkas, Head of Department (Ministry of Public Administration and Regional Development of Hungary), and our colleague Dr. Gábor Bartus (Secretary, National Council for Sustainable Development), who contributed their professional remarks on site.

At the beginning of the Think Tank Workshop, Dr. Noémi Éva Csigéné Nagypál, associate professor of the Department of Environmental Economics and Sustainability presented to the participants the policy background of the Strategy Framework that has crystallized through the work done in the NiCE project so far.

After the presentation, with the support of Prof. Dr. Gyula Zilahy, and certified moderator Dorothea Palenberg, and our online participating colleagues, discussions were held in smaller groups, where the invited participants and experts could express their opinions relating to the Strategy Framework, the questions stated by the moderators, and the possibilities of circular lifestyles in cities.

After a break, Dr. Mariann Szabó, assistant professor of the Department of Environmental Economics and Sustainability showcased the research conducted in order to support the status quo assessment, the needs analysis of the target groups, the sustainable consumption patterns, and the circular business models, starting from the Strategy Framework. As part of the presentation, a SWOT analysis based on the results of the consortium partners was presented, followed by a proposal and a discussion in regard to creating a common statement (Mission Statement) for the project.