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UN Sustainable Development Goals

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), provide a shared global framework of development priorities including alleviating poverty, protecting the environment and ensuring a peaceful and prosperous world to live in.

With the target of 2030 steadily approaching, achieving these goals requires action to be taken on a number of levels. From equipping future leaders and innovators with the knowledge to initiate change, executing research that works with industry and community to provide holistic solutions, to ensuring the campus is environmentally sustainable and inclusive, universities have an enormous potential to help ensure the goals are achieved by the target of 2030.

The University of Wollongong has already been working toward the SDGs through its research priorities and operations, which was recognised through being ranked 13th in the latest University’s Times Higher Education Rankings results. Global Challenges is now leading UOW’s commitment to the SDGs through its research priorities and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), an international collaboration between global sustainable development leaders from all regions and sectors.

Our projects and the SDGs

The UOW Global Challenges Program has almost one hundred interdisciplinary projects working toward the goals.

We believe that finding solutions to complex social, economic and environmental problems takes entire communities with diverse perspectives, which is why external investigators are present on 42 per cent of our projects, 54 per cent of our Project grants are led by women and 50 per cent of Seed projects are led by Early Career Researchers.

Click on the goals below to learn about each of our projects.


Goal 1: No poverty


Goal 1 No Poverty

Aid in the Pacific

Exploring government and community perspectives on the effectiveness and value of both aid contributions and seasonal migration programs.

Microfinance and women's empowerment

This project aims to address challenging questions such as what is meant by women’s empowerment, how should it be pursued and on whose terms. It investigates how conventional accounting and accountability systems in microfinance organisations reinforce structural barriers disempowering women.

Goal 2: Zero hunger


Goal 2, Zero Hunger

Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobials have transformed human health and saved millions of lives. However their widespread use (and misuse) has led to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance that poses a potentially catastrophic threat to public health. 

Conservation and equity in Pacific tuna

This Nereus research project is addressing the political stalemate that is undermining the sustainable management of the Pacific tuna fisheries, the world's largest tuna fishery. Unless resolved, overfishing will impact on the long term sustainability of these fisheries, resulting in significant conservation concerns, and limiting the future development opportunities for some Pacific small island developing States.

Fish, food and security

A key aim of this research is to support the development of a more integrated and holistic approach to address the double burden of under-nutrition in children and over-nutrition (obesity) in adults by positioning food security as the central drive for sustainably managing coastal fisheries in the Pacific islands.

Microfinance and women's empowerment

This project aims to address challenging questions such as what is meant by women’s empowerment, how should it be pursued and on whose terms. It investigates how conventional accounting and accountability systems in microfinance organisations reinforce structural barriers disempowering women.

Goal 3: Good health and wellbeing


Goal 3, Good Health and Wellbeing

Alcohol morbidity

Alcohol is said to be one of the major risks for both physical and social health. Studies have shown excessive alcohol consumption is a cause of a wide range of health and other harms including road and other accidents, domestic and public violence, crime, liver disease and brain damage, and contributes to family breakdown and broader social dysfunctional issues. 

Antimicrobial resistance

Tackling the challenge of antimicrobial resistance, by developing and testing interventions to stop, or at the very least slow down, rates of resistance.

Combatting neurodegenerative disease

As the Australian population ages, the number of people developing age related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease will increase. This project focusses on modelling emergent properties in the brain to combat neurodegenerative disease.

Connections for life with dementia

This project brings together expertise from the University of Wollongong with various community and industry partners, including people with dementia and their care partners. The purpose is to understand, support, and enhance social connections and quality of life for people with dementia in various care and community settings.

Dementia friendly communities

The demographic ageing of the population has brought an increase in the number of people living with dementia. International estimates are 46 million, with this number expected to rise to 138 million by 2050. Coping with the increased prevalence of dementia demands a shift in both the social and the physical environments in which we live.

Driving Change

The overall aim of this research is to develop an understanding about driving retirement for people over the age of 75. We know who ‘ceases’ driving but evidence is missing about how to best support older people to plan their driving retirement.

Fish, food security (Worldfish)

A key aim of this research is to support the development of a more integrated and holistic approach to address the double burden of under-nutrition in children and over-nutrition (obesity) in adults by positioning food security as the central drive for sustainably managing coastal fisheries in the Pacific islands.

Gamifying activity

Gamifying Activity aims to develop, test and evaluate a prototype smartphone app to enhance parental motivation to spend time with their children to help them develop their motor skills. 

GELdom condom

Universal access to reproductive and sexual health is one of the great challenges and human rights issues of the 21st century. The lack of condom use, partially due to stigmas around a decrease in sensation, affects the health and well-being of many people in developing countries today. Project GELdom has expanded beyond product development to include engagement with key communities to identify barriers to condom acceptance and to collaboratively design novel solutions.

Gong shuttle and the Oover 55s

This project investigates how the Wollongong Free Shuttle Bus contributes to better quality of life of the over 55s in Wollongong. Active transport is an ideal opportunity to increase both the physical and social wellbeing of people in older populations and enables older people to maintain social networks and thus positively impacts their mental and physical health while reducing social isolation.

Greener cities healthier lives

Studies in high-income countries have indicated that exposure to natural environments, such as green spaces, can have important health benefits. This project focuses on five key themes: pregnancy and perinatal health; child health and educational attainment; adult mental health and chronic disease risk; health service use and healthcare costs; and green space preferences and outdoor recreation among seniors.

Mind the age gap

This project investigates how public transport services affect older people’s social activities and wellbeing. It aims to improve the travel experience for public transport users, especially for seniors during periods of congestion.

Move for mental health

University of Wollongong researchers have teamed up with The Movember Foundation to address mental health issues among adolescent men who play sport.

New generation sunscreen

This project looks at advanced fabrication and commercialisation of new generation cost-effective sunscreens to develop improved, scientific testing methods for evaluation of safe UV radiation exposure.

Openability

Food Openability examines the interaction of the person, the environment and food & beverage packaging.

Open goals

Increasing physical activity in the ageing population is an urgent priority. This study primarily examined the effects of different types of goal on individuals’ quality of experience (e.g., enjoyment, confidence, motivation) during physical activity.

Recovery camp

Recovery Camp is a person-centred, recovery-focused initiative which invites individuals with a lived experience of mental illness to participate in a five-day therapeutic recreation camp in the Australian bush.

Smart limb rehab

This project aims to develop a wearable smart limb rehabilitation prototype, to be used for knee rehabilitation by sub-acute and chronic stroke patients. The goal is to provide high resolution proprioceptive feedback and movement assistance for individuals with reduced proprioceptive sensation and motor function due to stroke.

Smart shoes

Although walking is an effective mode of physical activity, most elderly people do not walk far, highlighting a potential need to develop individualised walking goals and motivation strategies for an older age bracket. This pilot study looks at continuous monitoring of walking ability, combined with personalised feedback and alerts of possible falls for elderly individuals. 

SUNRISE movement guidelines

Collecting international surveillance data using the new WHO global 24-hr movement guidelines. This project supports global efforts to prevent young children from developing obesity and ensure that they reach their developmental potential.


Teeth protective wear

Dental healthcare is a major issue globally a vast number of people do not have access to professional dental care and this leads to high rates of dental problems amongst these communities. The occurrence of dental cavities and associated oral conditions is increasing worldwide.

The milky way

Breastfeeding is associated with reduced morbidity and mortality among infants across the world in both developed and developing countries. Despite efforts to support breastfeeding, rates of prolonged breastfeeding remain suboptimal in many developed countries.

Therapeutic recreation

Mental health is a growing area of concern and has been a national government health priority area since 1996. It has local, national and global impacts. Therapeutic recreation (TR) is an intervention designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities.

 

Goal 4 - Quality education


Goal 4, Quality Education

Future makers 

The maker movement is a popular cultural phenomenon that is attracting more interest from policy makers and increased public sector funding. The Future Makers team has been investigating how makerspaces can impact and contribute to the local economy as a stimulus for new business generation and STEM education.

Gamifying activity

Gamifying Activity aims to develop, test and evaluate a prototype smartphone app to enhance parental motivation to spend time with their children to help them develop their motor skills. 

Recovery camp

Recovery Camp is a person-centred, recovery-focused initiative which invites individuals with a lived experience of mental illness to participate in a five-day therapeutic recreation camp in the Australian bush.

Stronger cultures, healthier lifestyle 

Stronger Culture, Healthier Lifestyles looks at the development of an after school cultural and activity program for Aboriginal children living in disadvantaged areas of the Shoalhaven.


Sustainability and STEM in schools

Active, Critical and creative kids through STEM’ project will explore the growing tension between sustainability education and school operations. The overarching aim is to identify opportunities to use energy in schools, particularly air-conditioning and energy efficiency activities, as a learning opportunity.

UOW Makerspace

A public creative space open to a diverse range of ‘makers’, of all ages and abilities, from creatives through to engineers.

Goal 5 - Gender equality


Goal 5, Gender Equality

Microfinance and women's empowerment

This project aims to address challenging questions such as what is meant by women’s empowerment, how should it be pursued and on whose terms. It investigates how conventional accounting and accountability systems in microfinance organisations reinforce structural barriers disempowering women.

Goal 6 - Clean water and sanitation


Goal 6, Clean Water and Sanitation

Heavy metal

Protecting coastal zones from heavy metal pollution from the mining industries.

Microplastic pollution in waterways 

Assessing the potential for bacteria or fungi to degrade these plastics, to find suitable candidate strains that may be used to reduce microplastic contamination.

Goal 7 - Affordable and clean energy


Goal 7, Affordable and Clean Energy

 

Ecovillages

This project focuses on Narara Ecovillage, and seeks to transform lives and regions through social change towards more sustainable lifestyles.

Fringe-of-grid 

This project has been developed to examine the social, technical and economic possibilities and benefits of deploying alternative electricity supply technologies in fringe-of grid applications.

Sustainability and STEM in schools

Active, Critical and creative kids through STEM’ project will explore the growing tension between sustainability education and school operations. The overarching aim is to identify opportunities to use energy in schools, particularly air-conditioning and energy efficiency activities, as a learning opportunity.

Goal 8 - Decent work and economic growth


Goal 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth

 

Blue futures

Blue Futures positions the NSW South Coast as a national leader in the development of blue economies, drawing on ocean and coastal resources for economic development, in an ecologically and economically sustainable way.


Maritime past, present and future

Understanding the historical context which underpins contemporary economies, cultures and practices


Tuna governance

Addressing the political stalemate that is undermining the sustainable management of the Pacific tuna fisheries.

 

 

 

Goal 9 - Industry, innovation and infrastructure


Goal 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

 

3D printed flutes

Creating custom-designed flutes that can be played in a variety of microtonal scales.
 

3D printed surfboard fins 

Developing surfboard fins using a performance feedback loop.

Cold formed steel 

Innovative steel connections that could change the construction industry and be a potential solution to the housing shortage problems in Australian cities. 

Connections for life with dementia

This project brings together expertise from the University of Wollongong with various community and industry partners, including people with dementia and their care partners. The purpose is to understand, support, and enhance social connections and quality of life for people with dementia in various care and community settings.

Energy efficient art  

Producing artworks that incorporate energy-­efficient elements and slow textile methods to encourage sustainable energy strategies in galleries and museums.

Future makers  

The maker movement is a popular cultural phenomenon that is attracting more interest from policy makers and increased public sector funding. The Future Makers team has been investigating how makerspaces can impact and contribute to the local economy as a stimulus for new business generation and STEM education.

GELdom condom

Universal access to reproductive and sexual health is one of the great challenges and human rights issues of the 21st century. The lack of condom use, partially due to stigmas around a decrease in sensation, affects the health and well-being of many people in developing countries today. Project GELdom has expanded beyond product development to include engagement with key communities to identify barriers to condom acceptance and to collaboratively design novel solutions.

Heavy duty driver seat 

Creating a safer, more pleasant working environment for heavy-duty vehicle drivers by developing an ergonomic seat mitigating the risk of injury and pain.

Lymphsleeve

Revolutionising the treatment of Lymphoedema, a build-up of lymph fluid due to damaged or missing lymph nodes. The porotypes sense the changes in the lymphedema and send information to the activators which then triggers massage therapy.

New generation sunscreen

This project looks at advanced fabrication and commercialisation of new generation cost-effective sunscreens to develop improved, scientific testing methods for evaluation of safe UV radiation exposure.


Smart garments
 

Developing an embedded real-time communication system for personnel working in mines or other hazardous situations.


Smart limb rehab

This project aims to develop a wearable smart limb rehabilitation prototype, to be used for knee rehabilitation by sub-acute and chronic stroke patients. The goal is to provide high resolution proprioceptive feedback and movement assistance for individuals with reduced proprioceptive sensation and motor function due to stroke.


Smart shoes

Although walking is an effective mode of physical activity, most elderly people do not walk far, highlighting a potential need to develop individualised walking goals and motivation strategies for an older age bracket. This pilot study looks at continuous monitoring of walking ability, combined with personalised feedback and alerts of possible falls for elderly individuals. 


Sodium battery (ARENA)
 

Developing a new sodium-ion battery architecture.


Teeth protective wear

Dental healthcare is a major issue globally a vast number of people do not have access to professional dental care and this leads to high rates of dental problems amongst these communities. The occurrence of dental cavities and associated oral conditions is increasing worldwide.


UOW Makerspace

A public creative space open to a diverse range of ‘makers’, of all ages and abilities, from creatives through to engineers.

Goal 10 - Reduced inequalities


Goal 10 Reduced inequalities

 

Connections for life with dementia

This project brings together expertise from the University of Wollongong with various community and industry partners, including people with dementia and their care partners. The purpose is to understand, support, and enhance social connections and quality of life for people with dementia in various care and community settings.

Teeth protective wear

Dental healthcare is a major issue globally a vast number of people do not have access to professional dental care and this leads to high rates of dental problems amongst these communities. The occurrence of dental cavities and associated oral conditions is increasing worldwide.

Microfinance and women's empowerment

This project aims to address challenging questions such as what is meant by women’s empowerment, how should it be pursued and on whose terms. It investigates how conventional accounting and accountability systems in microfinance organisations reinforce structural barriers disempowering women.
 

Caring for community

The Caring for Communities project has built research networks to engage key stakeholders in the Aboriginal Community.
 

Stronger cultures, healthier lifestyle 

Stronger Culture, Healthier Lifestyles looks at the development of an after school cultural and activity program for Aboriginal children living in disadvantaged areas of the Shoalhaven.

Blue carbon futures 

Blue Futures positions the NSW South Coast as a national leader in the development of blue economies, drawing on ocean and coastal resources for economic development, in an ecologically and economically sustainable way.

Tuna governance

Addressing the political stalemate that is undermining the sustainable management of the Pacific tuna fisheries.

Disability research network 

This project supports activities to build an Illawarra network of interdisciplinary researchers in disability.

Sensory room  

This project fosters the involvement of people with disabilities, their carers, families and disability services to assist in the development of a multi-sensory environment.
 

Project DARE

Utilising art as a medium by which children can express their knowledge and perception of dementia.
 

WeARoP  

Developing a wearable assistive device to help older people maintain autonomy in their life.
 

Hashtagging hate 

Analysing people’s attitudes to and expectations of government policies and actions in the immediate aftermath of terrorist attacks.
 

Systemic entrapment 

Deconstructing and understanding governmental systems that maintain First Nations Peoples oppression.

 

Goal 11 - Sustainable cities and communities


Goal 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities.

 

Blue carbon futures 

Blue Futures positions the NSW South Coast as a national leader in the development of blue economies, drawing on ocean and coastal resources for economic development, in an ecologically and economically sustainable way.


Blue Futures

Blue Futures positions the NSW South Coast as a national leader in the development of blue economies, drawing on ocean and coastal resources for economic development, in an ecologically and economically sustainable way.


Bulky kerbside collections
 

Investigation and development of new knowledge for landfill volume reduction, diversion and recycling.

Cold Formed Steel 

Innovative steel connections that could change the construction industry and be a potential solution to the housing shortage problems in Australian cities.

Ecovillages 

This project focuses on Narara Ecovillage, and seeks to transform lives and regions through social change towards more sustainable lifestyles.

Evaluation of Fringe-of-Grid 

This project has been developed to examine the social, technical and economic possibilities and benefits of deploying alternative electricity supply technologies in fringe-of grid applications.

Gong Shuttle and the Over 55s

This project investigates how the Wollongong Free Shuttle Bus contributes to better quality of life of the over 55s in Wollongong. Active transport is an ideal opportunity to increase both the physical and social wellbeing of people in older populations and enables older people to maintain social networks and thus positively impacts their mental and physical health while reducing social isolation.

Greener cities healthier lives

Studies in high-income countries have indicated that exposure to natural environments, such as green spaces, can have important health benefits. This project focuses on five key themes: pregnancy and perinatal health; child health and educational attainment; adult mental health and chronic disease risk; health service use and healthcare costs; and green space preferences and outdoor recreation among seniors.

Heavy Metal 

Protecting coastal zones from heavy metal pollution from the mining industries.

Mapping Indigenous Communities  

This project aims to map what activities three indigenous communities, based in Australia', New Caledonia and New Zealand, are engaging in to sustain their cultural heritage.

Mind the Age Gap

This project investigates how public transport services affect older people’s social activities and wellbeing. It aims to improve the travel experience for public transport users, especially for seniors during periods of congestion.

PetaJakarta

Harnessing social media as a real time tool for reporting and communicating vital information about flood conditions.

Smart Cities for Understanding Living

This project aims to help understand what aspects of public space in Liverpool today are working well for residents and visitors.

Urban Worlds  

This project aims to chart citizen’s lived experience of dense urban worlds drawing on residents’ experience of intensification of housing and infrastructure.

Goal 12 - Responsible consumption and production


This is an image of SDG 12, Responsible Consumption and Production.

 

3D printed surfboard fins 

Developing surfboard fins using a performance feedback loop.

Antimicrobial resistance

Tackling the challenge of antimicrobial resistance, by developing and testing interventions to stop, or at the very least slow down, rates of resistance.

Blue carbon futures 

Blue Futures positions the NSW South Coast as a national leader in the development of blue economies, drawing on ocean and coastal resources for economic development, in an ecologically and economically sustainable way.

Bulky kerbside collections 

Investigation and development of new knowledge for landfill volume reduction, diversion and recycling.

EcoAntartica 

Establishing a network and a series of public events to help protect Antarctica.

Fish, food security (Worldfish)

A key aim of this research is to support the development of a more integrated and holistic approach to address the double burden of under-nutrition in children and over-nutrition (obesity) in adults by positioning food security as the central drive for sustainably managing coastal fisheries in the Pacific islands.

Future makers 

The maker movement is a popular cultural phenomenon that is attracting more interest from policy makers and increased public sector funding. The Future Makers team has been investigating how makerspaces can impact and contribute to the local economy as a stimulus for new business generation and STEM education.


Microplastic pollution in waterways
 

Assessing the potential for bacteria or fungi to degrade these plastics, to find suitable candidate strains that may be used to reduce microplastic contamination.

Sodium battery (ARENA) 

Developing a new sodium-ion battery architecture.


Sustainability and STEM in Schools

Active, Critical and creative kids through STEM’ project will explore the growing tension between sustainability education and school operations. The overarching aim is to identify opportunities to use energy in schools, particularly air-conditioning and energy efficiency activities, as a learning opportunity.


UOW Makerspace

A public creative space open to a diverse range of ‘makers’, of all ages and abilities, from creatives through to engineers.
 

Goal 13 - Climate action


Goal 13, Climate Action.

 

Blue carbon futures

Blue Futures positions the NSW South Coast as a national leader in the development of blue economies, drawing on ocean and coastal resources for economic development, in an ecologically and economically sustainable way.

ECOAntartica 

Establishing a network and a series of public events to help protect Antarctica.

Energy efficient art 

Producing artworks that incorporate energy-­efficient elements and slow textile methods to encourage sustainable energy strategies in galleries and museums.

Fringe-of-grid 

This project has been developed to examine the social, technical and economic possibilities and benefits of deploying alternative electricity supply technologies in fringe-of grid applications. 

Gas emissions 

This project is measuring greenhouse gas emissions from carbon sinks.


Mapping the islands
 

Exploring the efficacy of maps, drawings, and story-telling for communicating how recent environmental changes are impacting the Great Barrier Reef.

PetaJakarta 

Harnessing social media as a real time tool for reporting and communicating vital information about flood conditions.

Goal 14 - Life below water


Goal 14, Life Below Water.

 

Blue carbon futures 

Blue Futures positions the NSW South Coast as a national leader in the development of blue economies, drawing on ocean and coastal resources for economic development, in an ecologically and economically sustainable way.

Dragging the chain

Discovering how anchor chains up to a 100 metres in length, impact upon the ocean floor at popular ports.

EcoAntartica 

Establishing a network and a series of public events to help protect Antarctica. 

Fish, food security (Worldfish)

A key aim of this research is to support the development of a more integrated and holistic approach to address the double burden of under-nutrition in children and over-nutrition (obesity) in adults by positioning food security as the central drive for sustainably managing coastal fisheries in the Pacific islands.

Heavy metal 

Protecting coastal zones from heavy metal pollution from the mining industries.

Microplastic pollution in waterways  

Assessing the potential for bacteria or fungi to degrade these plastics, to find suitable candidate strains that may be used to reduce microplastic contamination.

New generation sunscreen

This project looks at advanced fabrication and commercialisation of new generation cost-effective sunscreens to develop improved, scientific testing methods for evaluation of safe UV radiation exposure.


Project AIRSHIP
 

Keeping people safe from sharks while minimising environmental harm.


Tuna governance
 

Addressing the political stalemate that is undermining the sustainable management of the Pacific tuna fisheries.

Goal 15 - Life on land


Goal 15, Life on Land.

 

ECOAntartica 

Establishing a network and a series of public events to help protect Antarctica. 

Goal 16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions


 

Caring for community

The Caring for Communities project has built research networks to engage key stakeholders in the Aboriginal Community.

Disability research network 

This project supports activities to build an Illawarra network of interdisciplinary researchers in disability.
  

Hashtagging hate 

Analysing people’s attitudes to and expectations of government policies and actions in the immediate aftermath of terrorist attacks.

Systemic entrapment  

Deconstructing and understanding governmental systems that maintain First Nations Peoples oppression.

Goal 17 - Partnerships for the goals


Goal 17, Partnerships for the Goals.

 

Global Goals: Local Level 

The aim of this project is to explore cross-sector partner engagement for regional action toward the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

All Global Challenges Projects are working toward Goal 17, specifically targets 17.9, 17.16 and 17.17. The Global Challenges Program as a UOW strategic research initiative is dedicated to Goal 17 and all SDGs through our research, teams, partnerships and practice.



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