UofG and the SDGs

Many of our climate change and environmental research projects align with the progressive aims of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Here are just a few of these.

Where does the plastic go?

Based at our Dumfries campus, lecturer in environmental science Dr Natalie Welden is investigating how plastics degrade in our environment and how they affect marine species and fisheries. She is examining laundry effluent to establish how and where microplastics are washed away from our clothes, and looking at how biodegradable plastics are breaking down. She is currently working in partnership with businesses on developing innovative filtering methods for microplastics.

SDG logos 6 and 14

Cleaner, greener food production

The research of Dr Yalinu Poya of the School of Chemistry aims to revolutionise food production by using a less energy-intensive method of making fertiliser. Current methods use 2% of the world’s energy each year and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Yalinu is focusing on creating a new catalyst to produce ammonia, the main component in fertilisers, in a cleaner and safer way, using affordable materials. She has received several prestigious awards for her research.

Red tenements are turning green

A £250,000 project in the School of Urban Studies will evaluate the impact of the sustainable refurbishment of eight 100-year-old tenement flats in Glasgow. Professor Ken Gibb is Principal Investigator. “With our 2045 zero-carbon target,” he says, “we need to drastically reduce carbon emissions and improve thermal efficiency.” The pilot project will help tackle bad insulation and structural problems, and will use smart technology to help extend the life of the buildings.

SDG icons 11 and 13

Kind killers

The award-winning nEUROSTRESSPEP (EU) project is creating green insecticides which aim to control pests without the toxic side-effects to land and human health that conventional pesticides can cause. The new 'biopesticides' target specific pests while simultaneously protecting beneficial and pollinator species. Professor Shireen Davies of the Institute of Molecular, Cell & Systems Biology hopes these will lead to a revolution in sustainable agriculture and food security. The project is funded by Scottish Enterprise and the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council and incorporates a spinout company, SOLASTA Bio.

SDG icons 13 and 15

This article was first published September 2020.