SDGs@UofT brings scholars together in pursuit of UN Sustainable Development Goals

Image of Earth from outer space
'The SDGs require innovative solutions, and universities are where cutting-edge innovations are discovered,' says SDGs@U of T’s research director Erica Di Ruggiero (photo by NASA Goddard)

The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals serve as a blueprint for a better world – and universities have an essential role to play in fostering a shared future of peace and prosperity.

Members of SDGs@UofT, a University of Toronto institutional strategic initiative working to advance the goals ratified by the UN in 2015, are encouraging scholars and researchers from all disciplines – from humanities and social sciences, to public health, medicine and engineering – to lend their expertise to the collaborative effort to tackle complex global issues including poverty, hunger, gender equality, labour justice and climate change.

“The SDGs tackle problems that can never be solved by one sector or one discipline alone,” says Erica Di Ruggiero, an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and SDGs@U of T’s research director. “Many researchers see themselves working on one or two of them, but we can be that nexus at the University showing how to work on four or five together.”

But as the UN’s 2030 deadline for the SDGs fast approaches, universities need a bigger seat at the table to accelerate progress, providing a vital interdisciplinary perspective to understanding and addressing these worldwide problems, says Joseph Wong, U of T’s vice-president, international.

“The SDGs require innovative solutions, and universities are where cutting-edge innovations are discovered,” says Wong. “Gendered analysis and cultural context – both critical for the SDGs – happen here. We push the knowledge envelope and contribute to evidence-based policy, so the world has the supporting data for its decisions.”

Read more about U of T’s work on SDGs at SDGs@UofT