Imperial College London

Meeting the SDGs demands a step change in collaborative research - Alice Gast


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Tackling the world's biggest challenges demands a step change in collaborative research, writes Imperial's President in Times Higher Education.

Writing in Times Higher Education (THE), Imperial’s President Alice Gast argues that “research transcending boundaries must mature from being an emerging trend in academia to being central to our way of life.”  

We must be focused on anticipating and preparing for challenges to arise 20, 30, even 50 years into the future. Professor Alice Gast President of Imperial College London

Universities remain on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19, be that delivering epidemiological models to guide public health policy, developing new vaccines or supporting local communities, such as those in India. The pandemic, Professor Gast writes, has accelerated existing trends in higher education of fostering collaborations across academic disciplines, across international borders and across the public/private sector divide. 

More is needed however, she argues, if we are to “redress the societal impact of the pandemic and create a better, more equitable and sustainable future.” 

The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a focal point for universities, industry, third sector and government partners. President Gast says: “The interconnectedness of our modern world, displayed during the pandemic, also needs to be reflected in our approach and our ambition in the decades beyond the 2030 SDG timeline. We must be focused on anticipating and preparing for challenges to arise 20, 30 even 50 years into the future.” 

She concludes: “The pandemic will hold our gaze for some time to come. But that must not prevent us from also paying attention to numerous other threats. Tackling them all simultaneously is the only way to secure a sustainable future for humanity and the natural world.” 

The full op-ed can be read in Times Higher Education.  


Joanna Wilson

Joanna Wilson
Communications Division

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Sustainable-Development-Goals, International, Sustainability, Comms-strategy-International-university
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