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The Sustainable Development Goals


There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDGs provide a blueprint for shared peace and prosperity for people and the planet. To become a leader in sustainability, Queen's University Belfast are committed to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals within our teaching and research, as well as across all our operations.

Queen's University Belfast: fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals across all operations
Sustainable Development Goal 1

No Poverty

"End poverty in all its forms everywhere"- United Nations

In 2022, Queen’s University announced a multi-million support package of £7.69 million for students and staff facing the current cost of living crisis. Since then, continual support has been provided in the form of financial support/advice, provision of a free student pantry in One Elmwood and a range of student discounts. 

Cost of Living

Sustainable Development Goal 2

Zero Hunger

"End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture"- United Nations

The Institute For Global Food Security was set up to help address key challenges facing our food system. Our researchers address challenges  - environmental, food-safety, animal-health, nutritional - at each point of the foodchain, from farm to fork. The UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has designated IGFS an IAEA Collaborating Centre, recognising its global reach in food safety, authenticity and traceability.

The Institute For Global Food Security

Sustainable Development Goal 3

Good Health and Wellbeing

"Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages"- United Nations

Support, information and assistance is available to staff and students within Queen's University. 

Student Wellbeing | Staff Wellbeing

Sustainable Development Goal 4

Quality Education

"Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all"- United Nations.

We are a signatory to the UN Accord, which recognises the key role that global universities have in nurturing a culture of sustainability and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 through research and education.

Research | Teaching 

Sustainable Development Goal 5

Gender Equality

"Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls"- United Nations

The University is at the forefront of Gender Equality and is a recognised leader in equality initiatives. 

Gender Equality in Queen's University 

Sustainable Development Goal 6

Clean Water and Sanitation

"Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all"- United Nations

The Estates Directorate closely monitor the University’s intake of water and are committed to minimising use of water, whilst preventing pollution of waterways. 

Sustainable Construction

Sustainable Development Goal 7

Affordable and Clean Energy

"Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all"- United Nations

Since 2010, the University has been committed to reducing emissions associated with heating and electricity. A range of investments in low-carbon and zero-carbon technologies have taken place, with efforts ongoing to continually trial new technologies via Living Lab projects. Further, a Green Revolving Fund was established in 2009 specifically to finance energy projects. 

Energy and Carbon | Net Zero 2040


Sustainable Development Goal 8

Decent Work and Economic Growth

"Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all"- United Nations

Queen’s has a significant direct impact on our local economy, contributing £3bn to the UK economy, creating jobs and delivering innovation. The University has delivered on its commitment to the Real Living Wage and has incorporated it into the pay-scales. Currently, work is ongoing to ensure contractors who work with us are also being paid a living wage.

Sustainable Development Goal 9

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

"Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation"- United Nations

Excellence in research and innovation, and making a positive global impact, are central to what we do at Queen’s University. We aim to deliver social, economic and cultural benefits through our research.

Sustainable Development Goal 10

Reduced Inequalities

"Reduce inequality within and among countries"- United Nations

Queen’s University are committed to ensuring that those most able but least likely to participate in Higher Education should have an equal opportunity to do so. The Widening Participation Unit engages with students from a range of schools and age groups through a range of initiatives including Professor Fluffy, Reading Together, Junior Sports Academy and many more.

Sustainable Development Goal 11

Sustainable Cities and Communities

"Make cities and human settlements inclusuve, safe, resilient and sustainable"- United Nations

  • Queen’s University was awarded the prestigious Green Flag Award in 2020 The University achieved Green Flag status by complying with a range of criteria, including ensuring there is active community involvement and ensuring the site is welcoming.
  • Queen’s University are committed to becoming a low carbon university, and to help achieve this image, is the Travel Plan. To view our Travel Plan please click here.
  • All new buildings and refurbishments within Queen’s are designed to BREEAM Excellent or Very Good. For more information on our sustainable construction practices please click here. 
Sustainable Development Goal 12

Responsible Consumption and Production

"Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns"- United Nations

A range of policies, and programmes, that aim to reduce consumption, have been promoted and interoperate into day-to-day activities within Queen's. 

Sustainable Policies | Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF)


Sustainable Development Goal 13

Climate Action

"Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts"- United Nations

In October 2023, Queen's University launched a Net Zero Plan, which detailed how we are going to reach net zero emissions by 2040 across all our activities. 

Net Zero 2040

Sustainable Development Goal 14

Life Below Water

"Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development"- United Nations

Queen's University Portaferry Marine Lab is at the forefront of research associated with Life Below Water. 

Portaferry Marine Lab

Sustainable Development Goal 15

Life on Land

"Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels"- United Nations

Queen’s University are committed to providing a home for wildlife within our campus, and are doing so by implementing a range of biodiversity initiatives. 

Biodiversity Initiatives | Biodiversity Policy


Sustainable Development Goal 16

Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

"Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels"- United Nations

Researchers within the School of Law are committed to driving positive change across a range of communities. 

School of Law

Sustainable Development Goals

Partnership for the Goals

"Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development"- United Nations

Queen’s and University College Cork (UCC) have established Ireland’s first all-island network dedicated to delivering on the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sustainable Development Solutions Network Ireland (SDSN Ireland) will work with
local authorities, NGOs, civil society organisations and policymakers to bring the latest research and best practice to bear on producing solutions for the SDGs. 

Sustainable Development Goal Fund
Sustainability Research
Sustainability Action