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.


About the Conference

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

The conference aims 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. During the conference, we will collectively share our enthusiasm, commitment and innovative approaches to the SDGs. We will explore how the impact of the higher education - through research, global engagement, sustainability, teaching and community activities – can be greater than the sum of its parts. 

Building upon much work already taking place across UCL and in universities, industry and the arts across the world, this conference seeks 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 will collectively share perspectives, ideas, and innovative approaches to the Global Goals throughout the conference. By bringing together leading experts from across UCL and beyond, Beyond Boundaries will enable participants to share work, identify gaps in collective understanding, explore solutions and consider appropriate measures to address, and further, the SDGs. Throughout, discussions will explore 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.

COVID-19 has united countries, organisations and individuals across the world in addressing this extreme challenge. The pandemic has starkly highlighted the need to focus on interconnected solutions to global challenges - including inequality, wellbeing, climate change, digital needs, and global engagement and security – and to act against disunity.

Beyond Boundaries sessions 

Watch the recording of Session 1: Sustainability in a COVID-19 World (Monday 19th October)

Session 2: Universities & the SDGs (Tuesday 20th October)

Session 3: Sustainability & the Water Cycle (Wednesday 21st October)

Session 4: Global Inequalities in a COVID-19 World (Thursday 22nd October)

Sign up for Session 5 Positive Partnerships: Assistive Technologies (Friday 23rd October) 

Sign up for session 6: Transforming Infrastructures: Energy (Monday 26th October)

Sign up for Session 7: Behaviour: The Climate & Sustainability Crises (Tuesday 27th October)

Sign up for Session 8: Students Beyond Boundaries (Tuesday 27th October) 

Sign up for Session 9: Cross-Border Translational Research Post-COVID (Wednesday 28th October)

Sign up for Session 10: Engaging Communities for Sustainable Cities (Wednesday 28th October) 

Sign up for Session 11: Achieving Inclusive Wealth (Thursday 29th October) 

Sign up for Session 12: Next Steps for UCL (Thursday 29th October)

Questions to be 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