Our network is comprised of UK universities and institutions involved in research, teaching, and policy engagement for the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP), within UCL, is the host institution for the SDSN UK. UCL is a world-class research and teaching institution based in London. Consistently ranked in the world’s top 10, UCL is taking on some of the biggest challenges of our time, and making vital contributions to the public good. IIPP, part of the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, is changing how public value is imagined, practised and evaluated to tackle societal challenges. The SDGs have the potential to be transformed from grand societal challenges into a multitude of targeted, time-bound and ambitious missions, with the ability to direct long-term innovation, and move public and private sector investment in a sustainable direction. Such transformation is at the heart of IIPP’s work. We engage with groups as diverse as policy-makers, financial institutions, urban designers, agriculturalists and artists, developing both the economic theory, and the hands-on practices, needed for the SDGs to be realised.
The University of Strathclyde will host the SDSN Scotland sub-network through the Centre for Sustainable Development. The University of Strathclyde has sustainability at the heart of its Vision 2025. Through our Centre for Sustainable Development we aim to bring a coherence to our global socially progressive vision, which is underpinned by the principles of the UN SDGs. This particularly focusses on our strategic themes of:
1. Outstanding education and student experience
2. World leading research
3. Transformative innovation and impact
4. Global engagement
5. Operational excellence
We have an excellent track record and relationships with industry and international partners, designing our solutions through interdisciplinary teams to be context appropriate, and recognising the global interdependencies of economic and social development, and environmental protection. Our expertise spans across the current SDG framework with particular expertise in energy, water, sanitation and the environment, ocean governance, child rights and well-being.
The Cabot Institute for the Environment at the University of Bristol is a diverse community of 600 experts united by a common cause: protecting our environment and identifying ways of living better with our changing planet. Together, we deliver the evidence base and solutions to tackle the challenges of food security, water, low carbon energy, city futures, environmental change, and natural hazards and disaster risk. In April 2019, Bristol became the first UK university to declare a climate emergency and set a target of carbon neutrality by 2030. The University is a member of the Bristol SDG Alliance, which uses the SDGs as a framework for Bristol’s future sustainable and resilient development and enables Bristol to monitor its own progress. A commitment to the UN SDGs is integrated into the City of Bristol’s One City Plan, which articulates a vision for making Bristol a fair, healthy and sustainable city for all by 2050.
The Centre for Endangered Languages, Cultures and Ecosystems (CELCE, pronounced ‘selkie’) serves as an interdisciplinary hub at the University of Leeds. We conduct research into the dynamic interrelationships of languages, cultures, and environments around the world. Local languages and cultures shape and are shaped by close contacts between peoples and the ecosystems they inhabit. The recent rapid loss of languages and cultures risks severing these connections. Typically, habitats that enjoy greatest linguistic and cultural diversity exhibit greatest biodiversity, and loss of the one commonly precipitates loss of the other. CELCE facilitates investigations into how local languages and cultures enable communities to sustainably manage ecological resources on which they depend. Drawing members from across the University and the broader global academic community, CELCE promotes research on the complex interactions between endangered languages, cultures and ecosystems, building a mixed-methods interdisciplinary methodology engaging the natural sciences, applied sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities & cultures.
The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment was established by the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2008 to create a world-leading centre for policy-relevant research and training on climate change and the environment, bringing together international expertise on economics, finance, geography, the environment, international development and political economy. The Institute is chaired by the economist Professor Lord Nicholas Stern. The Institute’s work on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals explores the practical challenges of delivery, particularly around the synergies and trade-offs between the different Goals. This includes work on some of the most crucial aspects of delivery, including climate-resilient development, the nexus between water, food, energy and ecosystem resources, the links between environment, wellbeing and health, and how to finance international climate action as one way to combat poverty.
Imperial College London is engaging with the SDGs across research, education and innovation. It has an established track record of leading multidisciplinary research collaborations, as well as convening a broad spectrum of external partners to bear on societal and industrial problems, particularly through the work of established centres and institutes such as the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment; Institute of Global Health Innovation; Centre for Environmental Policy; Energy Futures Lab and the Global Development Hub. These centres have already had a transformative impact in helping to achieve the SDGs. The launch of Imperial’s Academic Strategy in 2020 saw another step change in this approach with a focus on creating a world in which society is healthy, sustainable, smart and resilient. One of the first actions was to launch a transformational cross-disciplinary programme in research, education and innovation to help society Transition to Zero Pollution.
The Institute for Global Sustainable Development’s vision is to be at the forefront of knowledge creation that enables transformations towards a more sustainable, prosperous, healthier and just world for all. It provides a focal point for Warwick’s sustainable development research, contributing towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but still challenging of them. It undertakes world-leading transdisciplinary research and capacity development to tackle global challenges and enable transformative change of human-environment interactions. It also provides support to the Warwick research community to meaningfully and responsibly engage with global sustainable development challenges.
By establishing equitable partnerships with researchers and non-scientific stakeholders across the global North and the global South, IGSD works on challenge-led research projects that cross the boundaries of disciplines in the humanities, natural and social sciences, and achieve impact towards the SDGs.
Environment has been at the heart of Lancaster University since its foundation and we formed one of the UKs largest multidisciplinary environment centres in 2008 with a mission to tackle global environmental challenges through teaching and research. These include climate and biodiversity, terrestrial and marine, temperate and tropical, viewed through the lens of the Anthropocene and environmental justice. Increasingly, these have been intertwined with SDGs where scientists, social scientists and in-house businesses focus on solutions. The Centre for Global Eco-innovation is a leader in business engagement and the Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business draws on the expertise of our leading Management School. In 2020, we declared a climate emergency, aiming to become carbon neutral across scopes 1-3 by 2035, a commitment at the core of the University’s Strategic Plan 2021-2026. We are making strong progress and are now the highest producer of renewable energy of all UK universities, according to HESA.
Newcastle University aspires to play a leading role in understanding how the principles and ethos encapsulated by the Sustainable Development Goals can inform all of our activities such that we can make a distinctive contribution to change. In particular, we have two research hubs explicitly focussed on the SDGs – on living deltas and on water security – as well as specialist expertise in climate, the SDGs in cities, infrastructure and responsible consumption, and the leave no one behind principle. In a time of short-term competitive pressures on universities, and in a world of increasing popularism and national introspection, the gap between the world we inhabit, and the “future we want”, demands a considered yet bold role for our universities. We seek, therefore, to place an awareness of all Goals, their interconnectedness, and their underlying principles, at the heart of what we do.
The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford exists to get the world to net-zero carbon emissions and achieve sustainable development. SSEE applies impactful research with enterprise to shape business practices, government policy and stakeholder engagement. Environmental challenges are analysed through the cross-cutting disciplines of economics, enterprise, finance and law. The School works with social enterprises, corporations and governments alike to co-develop innovative solutions to the challenges facing humanity over the coming decades. SSEE’s work on clean energy seeks to accelerate the transition to net zero emissions. Its water programme studies the management of water risks for growth and development. The food programme investigates the economics of new food systems. Further programmes seek to create sustainable circular economics and explore innovative ways to protect biodiversity.
The Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP) at SOAS University of London undertakes research in the fields of sustainability, climate change policy and planning, energy and development, gendered constructions, the culture of food production, urban resilience, education for sustainable development, and visual arts for sustainability. CeDEP seeks to address some of the greatest challenges of our times: how to satisfy the aspirations of a rapidly growing global population whilst at the same time managing the environmental systems and resources on which life and wellbeing depend. CeDEP’s extensive international experience in research is published and shared with decision-makers and opinion-formers worldwide. In addition, CeDEP acts as Secretariat for the SOAS Climate Action Group, SOAS membership of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to which SOAS has accredited Observer status.
Established in 1495, the University of Aberdeen is the fifth oldest in the UK and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s leading universities. Located in Europe’s oil and gas capital, the University is renowned for its world-leading research in health, energy, food and nutrition and environmental and biological sciences. The institution is also a cultural leader in the northeast, Scotland and beyond and has an outstanding track record for arts and humanities research. The University is committed to being open to all and dedicated to the pursuit of truth in the service of others. Its Vision 2040 commits the University to being an inclusive, interdisciplinary, international, and sustainable university. The University’s research aims to benefit our world, addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the climate emergency, and energy transition to a net-zero carbon economy. It has signed the SDG Accord and is a member of the Aurora Universities Network.
The University of Hull has been changing lives since it was established in 1927. Social justice has always been at the core of what the University does and, in dialogue with an institutional commitment to sustainability, this underpins our commitment to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs upon which we focus reflect this: SDG3, Good Health and Wellbeing, through our work on clinical medicine, reproductive health and palliative care; SDG4, Education, through education excellence across all our faculties, and through our research on, for instance, digital learning technologies; SDG10, Reduced Inequalities, through our work on societal resilience in the face of poverty and climate change; SDG 13, Climate Action, through work on sustainable energy transition in the Energy and Environment Institute, and our research on the circular economy; SDG14, Life below Water, through our work on microplastics and marine adaptation to coastal development; and SDG 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, through our work on slavery, modern and historical, in the Wilberforce Institute.
The University of Leicester has been formally committed to measuring and developing our contribution to the UN SDGs since they were introduced in 2015. We were one of the first UK higher education institutions to sign the SDG Accord. At Leicester, we are Citizens of Change – this means using our expertise in partnership with others to affect positive and lasting change in our world. We have consistently been in the top 10 for Goal 17 in the THE Impact Rankings, where our top 4 SDG contributions both operationally and academically are recognised for Goals 15, 11, 16 and 12. SDG-related teaching was available to 98% undergraduates who started in 2019/20 – this is even included in our prospectus so all prospective students know that we can help them become socially responsible, global Citizens of Change.
The University of Manchester is unique in UK higher education in having social responsibility as a core strategic goals. We’re tackling the SDGs in four inter-related ways: through our research, our learning and students, our public engagement activity and our operations. In 2021, we were proud to be ranked first from over 1,200 universities across 98 different countries in the 2021 Times Higher Education Impact tables, based on our SDG performance. We’ve also been the UK’s top performing university for three consecutive years in 2019, 2020 and 2021 on this measure. We make an impact towards all 17 UN SDGs, which can be evidenced from our annual report available at http://www.manchester.ac.uk/SDGs.
The University of Northampton is committed to creating sustainable change globally, embodied within our Strategic Plan and our Changemaker values. We believe that universities should be embedded within their local/global communities as anchor-institutions, to support positive social change, create social value and empower people. We are committed to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) being particularly focused on: SDG3 Good Health & Wellbeing; SDG4 Quality Education; SDG5 Gender Equality; SDG7 Affordable and Clean Energy; SDG8 Decent Work and Economic Growth; SDG9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; SDG10 Reduced Inequalities; SDG11 Sustainable Cities and Communities; SDG12 Responsible Consumption and Production; SDG13 Climate Action; SDG15 Life on Land; SDG16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; and SDG17 Partnerships for the Goals. Indeed, the University of Northampton was ranked 27th out of 699 HEIs globally in the 2021 Times Higher Impact Rankings, for our work in relation to SDG10 Reducing Inequalities.
The University of Nottingham Rights Lab is the world’s largest group of modern slavery researchers and home to many leading experts with a large team of scholars and practitioners. Rights Lab delivers cutting-edge research that provides rigorous data, evidence and discoveries for the global antislavery effort through five research programmes: Data and Measurement Communities and Society Ecosystems and the Environment Law and Policy Business and Economies Our work is primarily considered through the lens of SDG target 8.7 – the eradication of forced labour and human trafficking, but intersects and is indivisible from numerous others, most notably goal 5 – gender equality (particularly targets 5.2 and 5.3), goals 13, 14, and 15 – environmental degradation, pollution, and climate change, and goal 16 – inclusive societies (target 16.2). Rights Lab work closely with civil society, business and government, and support survivor-informed research as a key part of knowledge production to help end slavery.
The University of Southampton is extensively engaged with the SDGs. Overall, the results show that around 30% of University of Southampton outputs were coded to at least one (and sometimes multiple) SDGs. Each SDG was matched to at least 190 scholarly outputs. Of the University’s outputs for REF 2021 the highest proportion were coded to SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being. In the REF ICS, SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure and SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions were the next most frequently identified, followed by SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, SDG 14: Life Below Water, SDG 13: Climate Action and SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. SDG 14: Life Below Water is ranked 1st in the UK by scholarly output with University of Southampton work under SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy also in the top 10. However, based on field-weighted citation impact and include only institutions with more than 100 scholarly outputs during 2016-2020, the University of Southampton is in the top 50 in the UK for all SDGs, in the top ten for two (SDG 1: No Poverty – 4th and SDG 10: Reduced Inequality – 8th) and in the top 20 for a further three (SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and SDG 5: Gender Equality).
The University of Winchester is the university for sustainability and social justice. Our Strategic Vision 2030 is shaped, informed and inspired by our values and commitment to Educational Excellence, Sustainability and Social Justice. Our vision is to help shape a better world through everything we do, driven by the ambition, wisdom and impact of our students and staff. Our students have the opportunity to explore the meaning of life and grow in wisdom and love to develop the attributes needed for citizenship in a globalised world and for living creatively, compassionately and wisely with others and with the planet. We will sustain hope and a positive vision of the future through uncertain times. With the huge global challenges facing all life and the planet, there has never been more of a need for institutions like Winchester to stand up and boldly make a difference. This is why we have aligned the timeframe of our Strategic Vision 2030 with the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals.
The University of York’s vision is to be a University for Public Good, by delivering curiosity-driven and action oriented research, and education that empowers, and demonstrating local commitment on a global scale to build a community without limits. Sustainability is integral to this vision, and York’s Sustainability Plan to 2030 prioritises those SDGs where it can have the most impact to enhance sustainability across all of its activities: 3 Good Health and Wellbeing; 4 Quality Education; 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities; 12 Responsible Productions and Consumption; 13 Climate Action; underpinned by a commitment to sustainable research. To drive this plan, a new cross-university initiative, the Environmental Sustainability Academy at York will boost and cohere sustainability work undertaken through university departments and initiatives including the York Environmental Sustainability Institute, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Global Development, The York Policy Engine and Sustainability@York, to identify and develop new synergies and links between research, teaching, impact and practice.