The Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2016, has been setting a global framework for national and international efforts in tackling the world’s greatest challenges. 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) have been defined, aiming at balancing the three dimensions of sustainable development i.e. the economic, social and environmental dimension. Education, research and innovation (ERI) are considered key sectors to solution finding to overcome these challenges.
The SDGs reflect a global political program based on a compromise between diverging priorities of states in a context of asymmetric repartition of resources and power. While there is global consensus about the urgency to deal with these issues, many open questions remain with regard to solutions and pathways to their implementation. In order to achieve the best possible results, advice and ideas will be sought by decision makers in North and South, East and West. Providing adequate competences and insights on this road to 2030 can thus be seen as a crucial challenge for academic institutions worldwide.
Higher Education Institutions (HEI) are key players in providing evidence for policies. The importance accorded to their indispensable contribution is for instance visible in the European Framework Programme Horizon 2020 with an earmarked 60% of funding geared at supporting SDG-related research projects.
The swissuniversities Development and Cooperation Network (SUDAC) programme is supported with federal funds by the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI). It has launched 10 ‘Consortia for Education and Research’ (COFER) in 2017 and 2018. SUDAC supports collaboration between the various types of Swiss higher education institutions and their partners from the Global South in order to achieve an excellent standard of education, research and innovation on global challenges.