UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Sustainable development

IIPP will work on practice-based research approaches to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that have been agreed as global priorities.


The Sustainable Development Goals are world leaders’ declarations that they recognise 17 global priorities, from Gender Equality (5) to Life Below Water (14). The goals often raise more questions about sustainable development than answers. But they have potential to be transformed from grand societal challenges into a multitude of targeted, time-bound and ambitious missions, with the ability to direct long-term innovation, and move public and private sector investment in a sustainable direction. Such transformation is at the heart of where IIPP works. We engage with groups as diverse as policy-makers, financial institutions, urban designers, agriculturalists and artists, developing both the economic theory, and the hands-on practices, needed for the SDGs to be realised.

Policy implications

Questions of how we direct innovation for sustainable development, and the new economic plans, metrics and governance structures we need for these shared challenges, are vital for policy-makers worldwide. To harness the full potential of the SDGs as directive principles, governments must take a market-shaping role, signalling opportunities in social, technological, and organisational innovation, supported by long-term patient capital.


PeaceTech and post-conflict transitions

Rethinking private sector approaches to poverty reduction





Working papers

View all IIPP publications 

News and events