Imperial and the SDGs
The College is engaging with the UN Sustainable Development Goals across research, education and innovation
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – agreed by world-leaders at a landmark Summit in 2015 – is a blueprint to achieve a better, more sustainable future for all. Seventeen goals were laid out as a roadmap towards achieving this ambition, spanning a range of issues including health, education, climate change and human rights.
Crucially, the SDGs provide a focal point for universities, industry, third sector and government partners working across disciplines to come together to develop and deliver innovative solutions to shared global challenges.
Imperial has an established track record of leading multidisciplinary research collaborations, as well as convening a broad spectrum of external partners to bear on societal and industrial problems, particularly through the work of established centres and institutes such as the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment; Institute of Global Health Innovation; Centre for Environmental Policy; and Energy Futures Lab.
These centres have already had a transformative impact in helping to achieve the SDGs. For example, by pioneering new advances in electrochemical materials to improve batteries and fuel cells for sustainable cities and transport; driving improvements in disease screening by combining artificial intelligence (AI) and clinical medicine; and helping farmers in Africa improve crop yields and protect against drought with innovative new financial instruments.
This multidisciplinary approach now permeates Imperial’s entire ecosystem and is exemplified through the creation over the past few years of dozens of new Networks of Excellence and Centres of Excellence – including those focused on Air Quality; Sustainability through Life Cycle Approaches; Translational Nutrition and Food Research; Ocean Plastic Solutions; Malaria and more. Meanwhile, Imperial’s White City Campus is being purpose-built to facilitate cross-disciplinary research and innovative solutions in partnership with industry, third sector and the local community.
The launch of Imperial’s Academic Strategy in 2020 saw another step change in this approach with a focus on creating a world in which society is healthy, sustainable, smart and resilient. One of the first actions from the new strategy was to launch a transformational cross-disciplinary programme in research, education and innovation that will help our society Transition to Zero Pollution.