UCL Faculty of Laws


Project researching sustainability in Higher Education awarded UCL Grand Challenges grant

26 January 2022

‘Digging for SDGs: Laying Foundations for Sustainability in the Higher Education Sector’ has been awarded a grant as part of the UN SDGs: Pathways to Achievement scheme.

Four people are riding bikes in the Quad on the main UCL campus

The project is a partnership between Professor Jane Holder (Professor of Environmental Law at UCL Laws), Dr Priscila Carvalho (Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Environmental Law and Sustainability, UCL Energy Institute), Dr Robert Amos (Assistant Professor in Environmental Law, University of Nottingham), Silvia Cesa-Bianchi (Research Assistant, UCL Laws) and the Students' Union UCL (John Dubber, Chief Executive).

The funding will support empirical research on students’ implementation of sustainability goals as part of their education and everyday life at university. The grant was awarded as part of the UN SDGs: Pathways to Achievement scheme (2021-22), which is run by UCL Grand Challenges and UCL Global Engagement in partnership with the UCL SDGs Initiative.

‘Digging for SDGs’ will involve an in-depth analysis of UCL students’ sustainability awareness and behaviours, identifying students’ concerns and ideas, and the obstacles to implementing sustainable practices.

The project will address Sustainable Development Goal 4.7 (“by 2030 ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development”) in relation to achieving a broader range of SDGs, specifically on climate change, good health and well-being, gender equality, responsible consumption and sustainable cities and communities.  

The project’s objective in digging deep into how students practice sustainability is to help lay foundations for longstanding environmental governance structures and processes in universities which embed fully student participation in implementing sustainability policies.