Sustainable Development Goals


Beyond Boundaries: Realising the UN Sustainable Development Goals

A  two-week virtual conference, examining why and how universities should address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Watch the Conference summary video

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About the Conference

From 19 - 29 October 2020, UCL Grand Challenges (Office for the Vice-Provost Research) and the Global Engagement Office (Office for the Vice-Provost International) hosted a two-week virtual conference exploring the role of universities in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The conference aimed to understand universities’ approaches to the SDGs and how we can move forward to develop cross-disciplinary and beyond-boundary research and activities with our partners to address the goals. 

Building upon much work already taking place across UCL and in universities, industry and the arts across the world, this conference sought to facilitate knowledge and best practice exchange, as well as spur cross-disciplinary and beyond boundary collaborations to address the SDGs.

Keynote speakers, panellists, and participants from across the globe shared perspectives, ideas, and innovative approaches to the Global Goals throughout the conference. By bringing together leading experts from across UCL and beyond, Beyond Boundaries enabled participants to share work, identify gaps in collective understanding, explore solutions and consider appropriate measures to address, and further, the SDGs. Throughout, discussions explored how we can move forward on developing cross-disciplinary and cross-boundary impacts-through research, global engagement, partnerships, teaching and community activities – that support the achievement of international goals and address global challenges.

Watch the Beyond Boundaries sessions 

Watch Session 1: Sustainability in a COVID-19 World.

Watch Session 2: Universities & the SDGs

Watch Session 3: Sustainability & the Water Cycle 

Watch Session 4: Global Inequalities in a COVID-19 World 

Watch Session 5 Positive Partnerships: Assistive Technologies 

Watch Session 6: Transforming Infrastructures: Energy 

Watch Session 7: Behaviour: The Climate & Sustainability Crises 

Session 8
Watch Session 8: Students Beyond Boundaries 

Watch Session 9: Cross-Border Translational Research Post-COVID 

Session 10
Watch Session 10: Engaging Communities for Sustainable Cities 

Watch Session 11: Achieving Inclusive Wealth 

Watch Session 12: Next Steps for UCL 

Questions addressed throughout the conference include:

1. What are universities already doing to address the SDGs?

2. What can universities do to enhance the SDGs? Should we be implementing the SDGs? If so, how can we integrate them sustainably and equitably in our systems?

3. How can partnerships and cross-disciplinary, beyond boundary collaborations support governments and policymakers in achieving the SDGs by 2030?

4. Are the UN SDGs ‘enough’? Can we, and do we need to, strive to go beyond the goals for a sustainable future for our children?

5. How should we address the SDGs in a COVID-19 world?


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Do you have a question about this conferenece? Email beyondboundaries@ucl.ac.uk