The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, are an urgent call for action. They recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
Although the Sustainable Development Goals aren’t focused on higher education, it's important that universities contribute to them.
The SDGs focus on subjects that we're passionate about, such as offering innovative, inclusive education; reducing inequality; and supporting sustainable economic growth. We've always been keen to play our part.
The Sustainable Development Goals Working Group at ARU oversees our engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals. These 17 Goals form an ambitious set of environmental, social and economic targets designed to protect a healthy biosphere and achieve global peace and prosperity.
Higher education institutions have a particularly important role to play in advancing the SDGs, as communities of learning, teaching and research. ARU has been committed to tracking our progress against the Goals since 2019.
In our annual report 2023, we outline what we've been doing in our research, teaching and operations to further each of the 17 SDGs. We hope that the examples in this report will interest everyone in our community.
The Impact Rankings, published on 1 June 2023 by the Times Higher Education magazine, measure university progress around the SDGs.
They look at the tangible difference universities are making, in their local communities and more widely.
We’re delighted to be ranked in the top 20% in the world for Good Health and Wellbeing, and Reduced Inequalities.
Our ranking for SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing is based in part on the number of ARU graduates in health professions, which is a vital influence on health and wellbeing in our region.
But it also relates to our collaborations with local, national and global health institutions, and how we provide our students and staff with access to mental health support.
Healthcare teaching and health research are at the heart of our University.
We carry out world-leading research through our Medical Technology Research Centre, Veterans & Families Institute for Military Social Research, Vision and Eye Research Institute, and Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research.
We're proud of our students and graduates, who are making a tangible difference to people's lives as nurses, midwives, paramedics, operating department practitioners and more.
And we also celebrate our researchers' work, as they find innovative ways to deal with specific conditions and diseases and improve the health and wellbeing of the communities we serve.
We're ranked in the top 100 in the world for the SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities. This is due to our number of first-generation students, students from developing countries, proportion of students and staff with disabilities, and the measures we have in place against discrimination. This ranking reflects our sense of community: how we support each other and help students achieve their potential.
The hope is that the UN's Sustainable Development Goals will be achieved by 2030.
This won't happen by accident, or by institutions working in isolation. It will mean different sectors working together, pooling resources, knowledge and expertise. We will continue to play our part.
We've pledged to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of University life, with our Sustainability Strategy 2020-26 setting out four main goals relating to our students, research and innovation, business operations, and our community.