UN Sustainable Development Goals

The UOW Global Challenges Program has over 70 interdisciplinary projects working toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Click on the goals below to learn about each of our projects.


Goal 1: No poverty 

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.

Place-based cultural revitalisation 

Understanding how connection to culture through an important kinship species, the northern Corroboree frog, can support resilient communities.

Disability inclusion and capacity building for emergencies

Exploring the experiences of people with disabilities in the Illawarra/Shoalhaven during recent local bushfire and global pandemic emergencies.

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.

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.

Disability Inclusion and Capacity building for Emergencies

Exploring the experiences of people with disabilities in the Illawarra/Shoalhaven during recent local bushfire and global pandemic emergencies.


Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF)
Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF) aims to become the world’s leading research program delivering interdisciplinary science to forecast environmental change across the Antarctic region, to deploy effective environmental stewardship strategies in the face of this change, and to secure Antarctica as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science.

Goal 3: Good health and wellbeing

 

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.

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.

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.

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 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.
 

From Power Plant to Table

Reducing mercury exposure is a wicked problem that links the environmental, health, and social sciences.


Stories affording pathways to healing 

Articulating the collective stories of people affected by bushfires to identify practices that are most effective for enhancing healing and recovery for local people, their communities and Country.


Disability Inclusion and Capacity building for Emergencies (DICE) 


Self-care of older Australians in times of natural disaster and pandemic 

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.

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.

Place-based cultural revitalisation 

Understanding how connection to culture through an important kinship species, the northern Corroboree frog, can support resilient communities.


Cultural burning for resilience

Piloting a youth led workshop to develop processes that support the development of positive cultural identity and resilience in Aboriginal youth.

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

 

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.
 

Effect of Bushfire on spread of PFAS contamination

Assessing the impact of the recent bushfire and flood on natural water-bodies and the resulting impact on biodiversity.

Goal 7 - Affordable and clean energy

 

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.

Sodium battery (ARENA) 

The S4 project will develop a new sodium-ion battery architecture, and integrate this cutting-edge sodium-ion technology in a modular and expandable packaging platform to provide a high capacity, high energy density, low-cost energy storage system. 

From Power Plant to Table 

Laying the groundwork for mercury policy-to-impact analyses that can quantify the health benefits of emission reduction.

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.


Human-to-robot skill transfer 

The aim of this project is to explore the feasibility and implications of an industrial based avatar system for human-robot skills transfer in an Industry 4.0 setting.

 

Goal 9 - Industry, innovation and infrastructure

  

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 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.

UOW Makerspace

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

#RecoverSouthCoast 

Investigating how social media use is affecting bushfire recovery on the NSW South Coast.

Human-to-robot skill transfer 

The aim of this project is to explore the feasibility and implications of an industrial based avatar system for human-robot skills transfer in an Industry 4.0 setting.

Ready for anything 

Engaging with stakeholders in the Illawarra and South Coast region to understand the performance of Evacuation Centres during the bushfires.

Adjust to Disaster with Adaptive and Protective Transport (ADAPT)

Investigating the mobility and social impacts and adjustment of transport services to tackle unexpected crisis in the future.

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.

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.

Sense Space 

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.

Hashtagging hate 

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

 

Disability Inclusion and Capacity building for Emergencies

Self-care of older Australians in times of natural disaster and pandemic

Cultural burning for resilience 

Piloting a youth led workshop to develop processes that support the development of positive cultural identity and resilience in Aboriginal youth.

Adjust to Disaster with Adaptive and Protective Transport (ADAPT) 

Investigating the mobility and social impacts and adjustment of transport services to tackle unexpected crisis in the future.

 

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.

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.

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.

Age Friendly Illawarra 

Understanding the dimensions of age-friendly environments in the Illawarra from the perspective of the older people.

Stories affording pathways to healing

Articulating the collective stories of people affected by bushfires to identify practices that are most effective for enhancing healing and recovery for local people, their communities and Country.

Disability Inclusion and Capacity building for Emergencies

#RecoverSouthCoast 

Investigating how social media use is affecting bushfire recovery on the NSW South Coast.

Ready for anything

Engaging with stakeholders in the Illawarra and South Coast region to understand the performance of Evacuation Centres during the bushfires.

Adjust to Disaster with Adaptive and Protective Transport

Investigating the mobility and social impacts and adjustment of transport services to tackle unexpected crisis in the future.

 

 

Goal 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.

Effect of Bushfire on spread of PFAS contamination 

Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF) aims to become the world’s leading research program delivering interdisciplinary science to forecast environmental change across the Antarctic region

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.


From Power Plant to Table 

Laying the groundwork for mercury policy-to-impact analyses that can quantify the health benefits of emission reduction.


Effect of Bushfire on spread of PFAS contamination 

Assessing the impact of the recent bushfire and flood on natural water-bodies and the resulting impact on biodiversity.
 

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.

Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF) 

Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF) aims to become the world’s leading research program delivering interdisciplinary science to forecast environmental change across the Antarctic region

 

Energy efficient art 

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


PetaJakarta
 

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

Place-based cultural revitalisation 

Understanding how connection to culture through an important kinship species, the northern Corroboree frog, can support resilient communities.


Stories affording pathways to healing 

Articulating the collective stories of people affected by bushfires to identify practices that are most effective for enhancing healing and recovery for local people, their communities and Country.


Disability Inclusion and Capacity building for Emergencies (DICE) 

Exploring the experiences of people with disabilities in the Illawarra/Shoalhaven during recent local bushfire and global pandemic emergencies.


Ready for anything 

Engaging with stakeholders in the Illawarra and South Coast region to understand the performance of Evacuation Centres during the bushfires.

 

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.

Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF) 

Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF) aims to become the world’s leading research program delivering interdisciplinary science to forecast environmental change across the Antarctic region

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.

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.


Tuna governance
 

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

From Power Plant to Table

Laying the groundwork for mercury policy-to-impact analyses that can quantify the health benefits of emission reduction.

Goal 15 - Life on land

 

Effect of Bushfire on spread of PFAS contamination

Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future (SAEF) aims to become the world’s leading research program delivering interdisciplinary science to forecast environmental change across the Antarctic region

Collective weed management in post-fire landscapes 

Creating a meaningful and impactful weed management resource to transform individual and community responses to weeds post-bushfire.


Effect of Bushfire on spread of PFAS contamination

Assessing the impact of the recent bushfire and flood on natural water-bodies and the resulting impact on biodiversity.

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

 

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.