Sustainable development is the central theme in the European Green Deal and in the Paris Agreement at Climate Change as well as in many other EU policy papers. Higher education has a special role to play in sustainable development, environmental protection and action against climate change. Despite this, higher education institutions are only mentioned twice in the 169targets of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and individual contributions to the SDGs are even less evident. This disparity in relevance and visibility presents both a challenge and an opportunity:
How can higher education become more prominent in the SDGs?
How can university faculty, researchers, and other engaged staff become central to higher education's SDG efforts?
What can individuals, institutions, communities and society gain by encouraging and valuing the current and future individual SDG contributions of higher education staff?
How can this change be effectively and reliably supported?
SDG-iLevel: Individual contributions to the SDGs
SDG-iLevel (Leveraging Individual SDG contributions by University Staff) is a forward-looking project that aims to drive innovation and to achieve an enduring impact in three topical areas of higher education:
mental well-being of higher education staff
The project will create approaches, methods and tools aimed at uncovering, harnessing and strengthening the individual contributions of higher education staff to the SDGs in order to improve their mental well-being, job satisfaction, productivity and teamwork and promote further SDG contributions. The project addresses this question on several fronts by:
developing a methodology,
training university staff in the relevant skills,
creating an effective online promotion tool,
enabling behaviour change through nudging, and
building institutional/departmental capacity.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked goals designed to be a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They are included in a UN-GA Resolution called the 2030 Agenda, which was adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. The SDGs recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
Three levels of action
First, the SDG-iLevel project aims to provide a comprehensive methodological and referencing framework to align university roles and responsibilities with direct and indirect individual contributions to all 17 SDGs. The resulting SDG-iLevel Maps will connect specific tasks performed by employees in major university staff groups and academic domains with specific individual SDG contributions.
SDG-iLevel will train university staff in soft skills and competencies to help them identify and leverage their personal SDG contributions (University Staff Workshop). In addition, the project will create two online resources for university staff: (1) the Online Visibility Booster, which will enable staff to easily discover and immediately promote SDG contributions on social media, and (2) the Self-Nudging Online Toolkit with 30 nudges to increase staff awareness and behaviour in relation to the SDGs.
At the institutional level, the project will produce Policy and Implementation Guidelines for universities and departments to use when designing and implementing initiatives aimed to recognize and support individual SDG contributions. These guidelines will be used by each of the three participating universities to create Department Roadmaps with actionable steps.
Planned project results
17 SDG iLevel Maps with detailed reference diagrams linking specific staff roles in major university staff groups and academic domains with specific individual SDG contributions.
Online Visibility Booster
An Online Visibility Booster, which allows university staff to quickly create and publish social media posts (smart texts and appealing images) to effectively promote their individual SDG contributions.
Self-Nudging Online Toolkit
A Self-Nudging Online Toolkit with over 30 nudges (small behavioural prompts) that encourage the users to think about their roles in the university and their current and potential contributions to specific SDGs.
Workshop Study Pack
A Workshop Study Pack, designed to train university staff to better understand and use their individual SDG contributions, particularly with the aim of improving their mental wellbeing, morale, job satisfaction and productivity.
Policy & Implementation Guidelines
The Policy and Implementation Guidelines will empower department-level leaders to strategically plan, design, and take actionable steps in order to promote and leverage their employees' individual SDG contributions.
Three Departmental Roadmaps for implementation in partner universities. Each roadmap will include actionable steps, including the launch of a resource on the web dedicated exclusively to university staff's individual SDG contributions.
Facts & numbers
EU FUNDING PROGRAMME
KA220-HED - Cooperation partnerships in higher education
GRANT AGREEMENT No.
28/02/2022 - 28/02/2025
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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission under the Grant Agreement Number 2021-1-ES01-KA220-HED-000027588. This website reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.