Our commitment to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals
As a world-leading, research-intensive University, the University of Glasgow is committed to contributing towards the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a call to action in tackling the most pressing global challenges facing humanity and the natural world. We are proud of our community of students and staff who, through research, education and knowledge transfer, make a meaningful impact to our global society.
As a reflection of the University commitment to the SDGs, Glasgow was the first UK University to declare it would divest from fossil fuels within a decade and the first in Scotland to declare a Climate Emergency. Our ambitious new Sustainability Strategy, Glasgow Green, also commits the University to a significant plan of action to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
We are dedicated to inclusive growth and just transition, where sustainability is placed at the heart of everything we do.
In 2021 the University hosted a series of events, installations and debates during COP26 in Glasgow, and this autumn will host the inaugural THE’s Global Sustainable Development Congress, which aims to unite higher education, governments, industry and civil society to ensure a more sustainable future.
This year Glasgow will host THE’s Global Sustainable Development Congress:
- Uniting higher education, governments, industry and society for a sustainable future, 31 Oct - 2 Nov 2022
As a clear indicator of our commitment to the SDGs, the University of Glasgow has been ranked nineteenth in the world for the positive impact it has on society, according to the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. The rankings demonstrate the difference a university is making in the world by working towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, places the University of Glasgow first in Scotland and third in the UK.
Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow said: “The University of Glasgow is committed to contributing to the delivery of the SDGs and making a global difference.
“We know the responsibilities of the University go beyond world changing research and teaching to having a positive impact on society here in Glasgow as well as in Scotland, the UK and the rest of the world.
“There is always more we can all do, but these results of the THE Impact Rankings are testament to the effort of colleagues under difficult circumstances in recent years to deliver positive and lasting change.”
Our contribution towards the UN's Sustainable Development Goals
The University of Glasgow made a global commitment to supporting the SDGs by signing the UN SDG Accord in 2017. Our contribution towards achievement of the UN’s SDGs are best demonstrated through our World Leading Research, our Civic Role and Engagement, our Learning and Teaching activity and University Operations.
As a world-leading, research-intensive university, the University of Glasgow is committed to contributing towards the United Nations’ (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help tackle the most pressing global challenges facing humanity and the natural world.
The University delivered research publications across all 17 SDGs in 2021. The impact and economic value of our research in the UK is substantial, estimated to account for £1.8 billion (42%) of our total economic value as a University, greater than the average contribution of Russell Group universities.
We have a strong track record of translating our research into real world solutions and work hard to develop this through our strong and enduring relationships with a broad range of stakeholders. This is reflected by our six cross-disciplinary Glasgow Research Beacons, representing key areas of research excellence in helping to address grand challenges that have impact on both a national and international scale.
Learning & teaching
We are a truly global institution with a diverse community and international reach and reputation with our students representing more than 140 different countries and a global alumni community of more than 219,000 people. Our educational exports associated with the University’s international student community accounts for 14 per cent of our total economic impact (£630 million) in the UK (2018-19).
Our University contributes towards the SDGs through our campus operations, policies and processes to support inclusive growth, civic engagement and innovation. As a substantial anchor institution and one of the world’s top 100 universities, the University of Glasgow is the city’s third largest public sector employer. Our total economic impact within the UK economy is estimated to be £4.4 billion (in 2018-19). The University supports more than 30,000 students from across the west of Scotland each year and employs over 9,000 people, 82 per cent of whom live and spend locally within the GCR area (latest estimates by London Economics).
Civic University engagement
The University of Glasgow is committed to its civic mission to mobilise its institutional and knowledge capabilities to help tackle the global challenges we face. Our civic and community engagement commitment is represented by and Civic University Agreement (2019), signed by the University of Glasgow and over 50 other universities, who have pledged to play an active, civic role in the communities they are located in. The University’s collaborative approach in response to the Covid crisis has helped to accelerate our civic role as a University. Through the work of our Strategic Plan World Changing Glasgow and our Civic Strategy (2021-2025), we are engaging with the broader needs of our civic partners and local communities, and strengthening our partnerships to amplify our local and global impact.