OSDG helps to assess UCL's teaching contributions to SDGs

January 2, 2022

According to SDG Fund, universities can play a key role in achieving the 2030 Agenda, namely by "embedding sustainable development principles across disciplines", conducting action-oriented research, and creating multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve the SDGs.

OSDG has recently been presented with an exciting opportunity to assist the Sustainable Development Goals Initiative (SDGI) at University College London (UCL) in discovering potential links between UCL’s taught programmes and modules and the 17 interlinked UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Applying our know-how through purposeful collaborations is the driving force behind our project, and we are eager to share the results.

Mapping the UCL teaching curriculum to the SDGs

The UCL SDGs Initiative (SDGI) utilised our open-source SDG classification tool in preparation of its first-ever UCL Sustainable Development Goals Report. The report aims to document the university-wide activity that is helping to address the Global Goals.

We helped the SDGI team to classify the descriptions of over 6,000 teaching modules across UCL’s 11 faculties. We looked for keywords in the module titles and descriptions and assigned an SDG label if it contained two or more keywords relevant for that specific Goal.

“OSDG was a useful tool in measuring the extent of SDG-related teaching activities at UCL. We look forward to using the tool to compare the results in future editions of the annual report”, says Simon Knowles, UCL Head of Coordination (SDGs).

Making insights on SDGs-related activity

Based on our estimations, teaching modules across UCL particularly align with SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), and SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).

As well as the total number of taught modules supporting each SDG, UCL’s report details the results by each individual SDGs to show the contribution made by individual UCL faculties. The results affirmed UCL’s status as a multidisciplinary university, with modules supporting each of the other SDGs, and a spread of modules from different faculties across all 17 SDGs.

This SDG report is an exciting opportunity to collaborate with one of the world's leading universities, and a great way for OSDG to gather insights and useful feedback, necessary for the iterations to come.

Discover your SDG footprint using the tool

The OSDG tool is being embraced by more research communities worldwide, making it a useful resource not only for academics aiming to discover their SDG footprint in a publication or other research output, but for sustainability-driven educators as well.

OSDG makes it simple to discover how your courses, curriculum modules, strategic plans, or individual policies align with the highly ambitious goals outlined in Agenda 2030, and pinpoint your organisation‘s contribution to enhanced knowledge of sustainability, outlined in Target 4.7.

4.7. By 2030 ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.

At OSDG, we aim to go beyond the traditional research methods, and opt for an inclusive, open, and participatory approach, such as utilising crowdsourced knowledge from our unique citizen science activity.

If you are developing a project or publication that would benefit from mapping content to SDGs, do not hesitate to get in touch with our data team. We will gladly answer any queries and assist you in using the tool in its full capacity, all free of charge.