UN Sustainable Development Goals - University of Glasgow Highlights

The Centre for Sustainable Solutions is bringing together what's happening across campus around environmental sustainability, climate change, and the UN Strategic Development Goals.

Ultimately the full results of this audit will be made available to search and browse, so you can find potential collaborators, supervisors, courses, or activities to join in with.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) encompass a broad range of aspirations related to sustainability and climate justice. Scroll down for a taster of some of the exciting research and other activities at the University of Glasgow in support of the SDGs. If you would like to let us know about your own work, please drop an email to sustainable-solutions@glasgow.ac.uk.

Sustainable Futures in Africa

The Sustainable Futures in Africa (SFA) Network is an interdisciplinary collective of researchers, administrators, educators, development workers, farmers, and artists. Established in 2017, the network innovates participatory and decolonial approaches to address complex sustainability challenges. It includes over 75 active members spanning Eswatini, Uganda, Botswana, Nigeria, Malawi, Germany, and the UK, and the reach of the network continues to expand.

The University of Glasgow is part of the SFA's Scotland Hub, including Centre for Sustainable Solutions co-founder and Associate Director, Dr Mia Perry. Mia also leads the Participatory Futures Cluster, which aims to "identify new challenges through clustering current and previously funded GCRF research whilst also leveraging external expertise to accelerate impact, share knowledge, and build capability and capacity beyond GCRF."

SFA is inspired by Nobel Peace prize winner Wangari Maathai’s concept of the “Three legged stool”. It is a metaphor for a stable society, with each leg representing sustainable environmental management, democratic governance, and a culture of peace. Each leg must be stable for the stool to stand, meaning the society will not be able to develop if any of the legs are not strong.

Participatory Futures primarily addresses UN SDG 17:


The Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods

SHLC logo

The GCRF Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC) is an interdisciplinary team of international researchers addressing urban, health and education challenges in neighbourhoods across fast-growing cities in Africa and Asia. SHLC is interested in understanding cities from the inside out and is exploring neighbourhoods across 14 cities in seven countries. Alongside their comparative and collaborative research, they offer training workshops, knowledge exchange events, a visiting research fellow programme, a mentoring scheme, and a small grants fund.

The Centre is an international consortium of nine research partners, including the University of Glasgow, Human Sciences Research Council, Ifakara Health Institute, Khulna University, Nankai University, National Institute of Urban Affairs, University of Rwanda, University of the Philippines Diliman, and University of the Witwatersrand.

SHLC addresses these UN SDGs:



River Basins as Living Laboratories

Prof Fabrice Renaud is PI on 'River basins as 'living laboratories' for achieving sustainable development goals across national and sub-national scales', a project proposing to both advance research into river basins, and examine and elucidate issues with inequitable develoment and trade-offs in reaching for the SDGs. Within UofG this project is a significant collaboration between the College of Social Sciences and the College of Science & Engineering, alongside several external partners.

"While countries around the world are striving to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), policies and actions put in place to achieve the 17 goals and 169 targets may lead to inequitable development at the sub-national scale. Although this possibility is recognized, it is currently under-investigated. This project addresses this gap by analysing cross-scale synergies and trade-offs between goals and targets, while also considering how national level policies related to the SDGs impact development at the sub-national scale, represented here by a large river basin. More generally, the project aims to develop an approach that is replicable in other river basins globally and to provide policy recommendations to remove or mitigate the trade-offs so helping to achieve equitable development across river basins."

Living Deltas Hub logo

More can be found in the project's Luanhe Living Lab blog and their River SDGs Twitter account

Fabrice is leading on a Special Issue call for Sustainability Science: Synergies and trade-offs between sustainable development goals and targets: innovative approaches and new perspectives. Abstracts due 30/10/20.

Fabrice is also part of the UKRI-GCRF Living Deltas Hub, led by Newcastle University, a multi-million pound investment seeking to address "[...] a major international development challenge: how to avoid the collapse of South and SE Asian deltas as functioning, highly productive social-ecological systems in the face of human development and projected adverse consequences of climate change".


Dr Yalinu Poya: feeding the world sustainably

Dr Yalinu Poya was named a UofG Future World Changer during her PhD. Her research aimed to feed the world sustainably, through finding alternatives to a technology that consumes 2% of the world’s energy and contributes to global warming by releasing 1.6% of man–made carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. She focused on using affordable materials to make a catalyst that is able to produce ammonia in a clean way.

Yalinu received a number of prestigious awards for her research, including the German 2019 Green Talent Award; featuring as one of the top 118 chemists in the world under the age of 40 by the International Union of Pure Applied Chemistry; and 1st place in Scotland for the Society of Chemical Industry PhD Student Competition. She has also been named Papua New Guinea Country Representative for the International Younger Chemists Network.

Her PhD was supervised by Prof Justin Hargreaves.

Yalinu's work tackled these UN SDGS: