Mapping our research onto the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
What is the project?
It is a strategic priority for the university to map our research onto the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This commitment is set out under Action 2.1.2. of UCC 2022: Delivering a Connected University.
What are the SDGs?
The SDGs have been described as a "blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all" and provide a common language to describe the impact our research community has on a local, national, and international scale. The 17 goals, and their 169 targets, were agreed on by all 193 UN member states in 2015. The goals are a framework to address pressing global challenges, including eradicating hunger and poverty, acting on climate change, addressing biodiversity loss, and tackling gender inequality – all necessary actions to ensure that no-one is left behind.
What does the project involve?
To ensure we complete a comprehensive mapping of our research we are utilising several methods. First, our publications will be mapped using the SciVal research database. This is a tried and tested method that is used by the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings to evaluate the performance of universities against the SDGs. Second, all researchers will be invited to submit qualitative case studies that describe the impact of their research on the SDGs in more detail. Finally, an SDGs workshop has been developed to raise awareness about the SDGs amongst the research community and involve researchers directly in the mapping of their research onto the SDGs. All of the data will be collated and will feature on a new website and in a report to showcase how our research contributes to the SDGs.
We are lucky to have a network of SDGs Champions from across the university to support with the rollout of the SDGs workshops - a big thank you to all Champions for their help!
Why is this project a strategic priority?
This mapping exercise will be beneficial to both UCC as an institution and to researchers. The exercise will help us to understand the important impact that our research is having on the SDGs. The mapping will also contribute to the university’s ambitions for global rankings, maintaining our global reputation and our ability to attract talent. For our researchers, the exercise will help to raise awareness about the benefits of the SDGs as a framework for demonstrating real-world research impact. By inviting all researchers to map their research at the SDGs workshops, we are ensuring that our mapping looks beyond publications, giving researchers the opportunity to map other research outputs to the goals. This project is the chance to shine a light on the amazing research work being undertaken that helps address these important global issues.
How does university research contribute to the SDGs?
University research has an essential role to play in terms of achieving the SDGs on a national and global scale by 2030. Researchers embody SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals, collaborating with other researchers around the world on matters impacting sustainable development. Through their extensive research work, universities develop the knowledge, solutions and innovations to support achieving the goals. The research community resolves complex social, environmental and economic challenges by combining different knowledge and disciplines in research projects. As the SDGs are interconnected and dependent on each other, this integration of knowledge from different areas of expertise is important. The research community also supports the implementation of the SDGs on a local and national level, collaborating with industry, government, communities, private sector bodies, and NGOs, to achieve the goals.
SDGs workshops for researchers
Direct engagement with the research community about the SDGs is essential to the success of this project.
The main objectives of the workshop are to:
- Increase general awareness of the SDGs.
- Inform about the benefits of aligning research with the SDGs, including funding and collaboration opportunities.
- Involve researchers directly in mapping their research to the SDGs.
- Provide a forum for open discussion about the SDGs in research.
For those unable to attend the workshop
We want to ensure that researchers who are unable to attend the workshops have the opportunity to share their mapping data. Following each workshop, the mapping form link, along with the case study template, will be shared with the researchers in that School/Centre to complete.
A condensed version of the SDGs workshop has been recorded, along with videos showing how to complete the mapping form and the case study, to help with the process.
Information about the SDGs