Institute for Sustainability


Research Challenges

We draw upon our areas of established research excellence and the experience of collaborating partners to make an internationally-leading contribution to the following global research challenges in the field of sustainability.

Research challenges
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Challenges in sustainability research are broad in scope and span a wide range of different disciplines. To meet some of these challenges requires a highly engaged, interdisciplinary approach that brings together relevant areas of expertise.

We foster collaborations between sustainability researchers at Newcastle University focusing on five main areas of research excellence: earth systems engineering, energy, food, transport and water.

In collaborating with its partners, Newcastle University is making an internationally-leading contribution to the following global research challenges in the field of sustainability:

These challenges have been selected because they are globally important, address the global goals for sustainable development, and are contextually relevant to regional, national and international communities.

Global Goals
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Global Goals for Sustainable Development

On September 25th 2015, 193 global leaders adopted a set of goals to end povertyprotect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. For the next 15 years, the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development and 169 targets will guide global policy on a wide range of issues, from poverty alleviation and inequality, to democracy and peace, sustainable consumption, climate change, and ecosystem preservation.

For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector and civil society.

The three Societal Challenge Theme Institutes have been working together on a joint initiative around the SDGs since the start of 2015. Researchers at Newcastle University have already worked to influence the content of the goals and targets. But the work of implementing, measuring and reviewing progress at national, European and global scales will be ongoing over the next 15 years.

Some examples of our work so far:


Derek Bell, Stephen Elstub, Graham Long, Ian O’Flynn, Katherine Rietig. An academic response to the Final Evaluation of the Beyond 2015 Campaign. A joint project between Newcastle University and Beyond 2015, March 2016.

Anna Coopman, Derek Osborn and Farooq Ullah (Stakeholder Forum), Emily Auckland (Bioregional), and Dr Graham Long (Newcastle University). SEEING THE WHOLE, Implementing the SDGs in an Integrated and Coherent Way