Goal #17

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

UNSW is committed to local and global partnerships for the SDGs and demonstrates this through:

  • National and international partnerships with governments, universities and broader stakeholders on research and innovation
  • Education and development projects that focus on outcomes-based sustainable development worldwide
  • Being an anchor institution in our local community and respecting our ancient past as we partner with First Nations communities and peoples.

Institute for Global Development (IGD)

Group photo of UNSW delegates, regional UN representatives, local UNSW Alumni and Fijian officials

The Institute for Global Development (IGD) has established numerous education and research partnerships since 2016, creating new student and institutional research opportunities working with partners and communities in developing countries. With local and international partners, the IGD co-creates knowledge and translates research findings into changes that matter: generating sustainable and equitable futures for people around the world, and together working towards achieving the SDGs.

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ACOSS partnership

ACOSS (the Australian Council of Social Service) and UNSW have partnered since 2017 to tackle poverty and inequality head on. The partnership works with NGOs to focus national attention on poverty and inequality through high-quality research, policy development and advocacy to effect change.

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HEAL network tackles health impacts of climate change

A pair of hands holding a green earth

The Healthy Environments and Lives (HEAL) Network is a Federal Government funded program of research focused on enhancing population wellbeing through identifying environmental factors that shape health, developmental trajectories and inequities. Its research has been translated into policy and practice - such as the City of Sydney’s strategy to plant 700 new trees annually for 10 years and reach 40% green cover by 2050.

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Massive Action Sydney

Massive Action Sydney (MAS) is part of a multidisciplinary global movement drawing on our ‘collective power to design a better future now’. Its goal is to explore, reimagine and redesign solutions to critical challenges within Climate, Health and Power using innovative approaches. MAS is a partnership between the UNSW Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture Innovation Hub and the Massive Change Network. 

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International Universities Climate Alliance

Forestry activities in Tasmania, Australia.

Established by UNSW in 2020, the IUCA represents leading climate research universities from 25 countries across six regions, with its Secretariat currently hosted in Australia by UNSW. Members include universities that encompass thousands of the world’s most accomplished climate researchers, including hundreds who have worked as authors of reports for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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Torch Innovation Partnerships

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang & Former Australian PM, Malcolm Turnbull
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang & Former Australian PM, Malcolm Turnbull

Torch Innovation Partnerships bring together industry representatives, small to medium-sized enterprises, entrepreneurs, investors and policymakers from around the world to the UNSW campus. Between 2016 and 2019, this resulted in $76M worth of contracts.

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In November 2022, students, staff and researchers from UNSW joined industry specialists at the 'COP27 and Beyond' research showcase in Sydney. Part of the Impact X Climate Summit, it highlighted Australia’s university-led research contribution to the global response to climate change. Panel topics included protecting community wellbeing, supporting blue and green economies, Australia’s role in global climate security and raising ambition on climate solutions. 

NUW Alliance: Women, Infrastructure and Sustainability

The NUW Alliance launched the the Six Cities Region Vision in October 2022. 

Governments, community and industry are planning on a larger scale to achieve greater cohesion, momentum and impact. The ‘Six Cities Region’, spanning Newcastle, Wollongong and Greater Sydney, represents Australia’s greatest opportunity for realising transformative, sustainable and inclusive development in the decades ahead. The NUW Alliance is committed to realising that potential for the communities it serves. 

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UN meeting on SDGs in Bangkok

In August 2022 UNSW development leaders and experts, facilitated by the UNSW Institute for Global Development, participated in an introductory meeting between UNSW and the regional UN Development Coordination Office in Bangkok to discuss the SDGs and begin an ongoing knowledge partnership.

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Introductory meeting between development leaders and experts from UNSW and the regional United Nations (UN) Development Coordination Office in-person, in Bangkok.

UNSW Global Water Institute

Sea pollution, plastic floating under water

World leader in water research, innovation and problem solving. The Institute draws on water expertise across UNSW to create the Nation’s most advanced water knowledge hub.

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The Kirby Institute

Produced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), this highly magnified, digitally colorized scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image, revealed ultrastructural details at the site of interaction of numerous yellow colored, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) viral particles, located on the surface of a Vero E6 cell, which had been colorized blue

Leading global research institute dedicated to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.Their research projects are conducted in partnership with communities most affected by epidemics.

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UNSW builds high-level engagement in Timor-Leste


Senior delegation from UNSW pictured with Timor-Leste representatives

A senior delegation from UNSW travelled to Timor-Leste in 2023, as part of broader efforts to achieve societal impact in the region. The visit built on the University’s long history of engagement with Timor-Leste and sought to amplify UNSW’s role as a critical intermediary and strategic advisor for governments, the UN, regional universities and civil society.

Senior representatives from UNSW Engineering, Medicine & Health, the Sustainable Development Reform Hub, the Global Water Institute and the Institute for Global Development travelled to Dili to strengthen the University’s existing partnerships and explore new opportunities for ongoing engagement.

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UNSW Strategy in Action 2025

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UNSW 2025 Strategy Update

This document celebrates the key achievements of the first phase of the 2025 Strategy, highlighting where we have come from and where we are now. It also updates the framework against which we will assess, track and measure existing and new strategic initiatives over the next five years.


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UNSW Annual Reports

Informing, engaging and leading through critical thinking, evidence and debate.

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The PLuS Alliance combines the strengths of three leading research universities on three continents – Arizona State University, King’s College London and UNSW Sydney – to solve global challenges and increase access to world-class higher education in high-need areas.

PLuS Alliance logo

Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) is a collaborative venture between four Sydney Universities, including UNSW, and numerous state and federal government departments. SIMS provides a wealth of infrastructure for the Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation's (CMB) marine activities, enabling researchers to use molecular tools in more realistic contexts in the marine environment. 

The Diplomacy Training Program (DTP) is an independent, Australian NGO affiliated with UNSW committed to advancing human rights and empowering civil society in the Asia Pacific region through quality education and training, and the building of skills and capacity in non-governmental organisations and for individual human rights defenders and community advocates. 

Partnerships are central to the work of the UNSW School of Education and we place immense value on our collaborative working relationships with a range of key partners, including Australian and international universities, schools, teachers, principals, professional organisations and the wider community served by our university. We are continually seeking ways to extend our collaborative work with existing partners and to develop mutually beneficial and productive relationships with new partners.

The NUW Alliance comprises four leading Australian research-intensive universities – the University of Newcastle, UNSW, the University of Wollongong and Western Sydney University. The mission of the NUW Alliance is to seek out the big collaborations that make a difference, collaborations that unlock new value, impact and benefit for our communities across NSW.

Yuwaya Ngarra-li is a community-led partnership between the Dharriwaa Elders Group and UNSW to improve the wellbeing, social, built and physical environment and life pathways of Aboriginal people in Walgett through collaborating on evidence-based initiatives, research and capacity building. 

Community at UNSW is one of the cornerstones of our mission. We wish to make an impact on contemporary issues by being recognised as a key source of expertise in local communities, ensuring vibrant and growing partnerships with industry and community organisations, and developing and maintaining highly valued relationships with alumni, former staff and UNSW supporters.

Many campus events are proudly supported by Randwick Council, and UNSW is a major sponsor of Randwick District Rugby Union Football Club. There is also a variety of on-campus programs and services available to students, staff and the local community.

The Volunteers United operates as an entry-level opportunity for students seeking to increase their social impact by connecting them with volunteering opportunities and fostering student engagement with the wider community. In 2020 11,479 hours were volunteered and many students participated in the new initiative Cards With Care which focused on community outreach and delivered 446 messages to the elderly or at-risk.

UNSW is a foundation member of the USRN, a network established in 2015, bringing together a group of thought leaders to exchange ideas, resources, practices of varied scope and scale to steer global discussion and development of university social responsibility in higher education. The network has 19 member institutions with wide geographic spread, leading universities in their countries dedicated to working together to addressing the economic, social, cultural and environmental challenges in the world.

UNSW is a signatory institution of the Talloires Declaration, ‘the first official statement made by university presidents, chancellors, and rectors of a commitment to environmental sustainability in higher education. The Talloires Declaration (TD) is a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities. It has been signed by over 500 university leaders in over 50 countries.’

The Institute of Global Finance (IGF) works closely with organisations across the world, including the Volatility & Risk Institute at NYU Stern Business School, major regional research centres in the Asia-Pacific, and financial industry bodies and regulators.These collaborative relationships produce research, joint publications, policy events and engagements on issues related to global prosperity, financial stability, governance and systemic risk. The resulting insight and knowledge from these activities help to inform and maintain global financial stability, sustainable economic growth and global prosperity.

UNSW SDGs Annual Report 2022 cover image

UNSW Sustainable Development Goals 2022 Report

This report outlines UNSW's performance against the SDGs in 2022.


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