The University of Strathclyde has launched a new Centre for Sustainable Development in support of the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The new Centre, launched on 1st October, brings together all of the University’s education, research and knowledge exchange activity on sustainable development within a single strategic approach.

The Centre will prioritise education and awareness-raising of sustainable development, apply and build expertise and research capacity in sustainability, grow international partnership working and contribute to and benefit from knowledge sharing and thought leadership.

Focus and direction

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “Strathclyde is a leading international technological university that puts sustainability at heart of our strategic plan and that makes clear commitments to delivering against the UN SDGS and the UN Agenda 2030 vision.

“Our new Centre for Sustainable Development brings a coherence to the University’s own global socially progressive vision, and focuses our long-standing research and education work on sustainable development into a single strategic approach, with the SDGs providing focus and direction.

It will provide a platform for enhanced cross-national and cross-institutional work to address the global grand challenges. 

“Notably, we look to build on our exceptional relationship with industry and public sector partners to take our work beyond the boundaries of academia and accelerate the impact of our projects on society, the environment and the economy.

“The Centre will facilitate a culture change on how we approach such work, as well as provide a conduit to promote this approach to other academic institutions, funders and partners to support future education and research engagement.”

Whole system approach

Dr Tracy Morse, Head of the Centre for Sustainable Development, said: “The current global focus on the UN Agenda 2030 vision and the SDGs provides an internationally recognised framework within which to generate a major step-change in the profile and perceived importance of sustainable development, particularly in the light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is, notably, a whole system approach, embracing a comprehensive perspective on sustainable development that will facilitate greater trans-disciplinarity in addressing the most challenging global problems. It furthermore aims to inspire the growth and development of new perspectives on research and knowledge exchange and of new educational programmes.”

Strathclyde academics and researchers are focused on a wide range of projects which address the SDGs, in particular the goals of: good health and wellbeing; clean water and sanitation; clean energy; industry, innovation and infrastructure; climate action; and, responsible consumption.

Global solidarity

At the launch event, held online, Strathclyde Alumna of the Year in 2019 Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General of the UN Environment Programme, gave a keynote address.

Joyce said: “As we seek to overcome the interconnected planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and waste, global solidarity is more important than ever.

“I welcome the Strathclyde Centre for Sustainable Development as an important step in contributing to the sustainable development challenges we face, and stepping up action on the 2030 agenda and the sustainable development goals.”

A series of seminars showcasing world-leading education, research innovation and knowledge sharing being undertaken over the coming weeks at the University of Strathclyde in relation to the SDGs, with a focus on Renewable Energy (Prof. Keith Bell), One Ocean Hub (Prof. Elisa Morgera), Inspiring Children’s’ Futures (Prof. Jennifer Davidson), Health (Sir Harry Burns), Sustainable Strathclyde (Roddy Yarr) and our award winning Vertically Integrated Projects for Sustainable Development (Professor Stephen Marshall & Dr Scott Strachan).

As part of its commitment to sustainability, the Strathclyde’s strategic plan has committed to reducing carbon emissions by 70% by 2025 on the University’s journey to net zero by 2040 or earlier.

In the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2020, which assesses universities against the UN SDGs, Strathclyde is ranked the top UK university for its research, outreach and stewardship impact on Clean Water & Sanitation, 12th globally for Reduced Inequalities and 19th globally for Life on Land.

Find out more about how Strathclyde is helping to create a more sustainable planet: