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2. Contributing to a Sustainable World

Our education and research are significant, both globally and in our immediate environment. In this way, we contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. We illustrate how this is achieved in various places in this annual report.

Contributing to the SDGs

In 2020, we became a partner of SDG Nederland. Joining this network strengthens our cooperation with organisations from different sectors that share the same ambition. This is also interesting from the perspective of knowledge sharing. Radboud university medical center became a partner at the same time, a logical consequence of the joint sustainability policy that we established in 2020 based on the SDGs.

Our contributions to the SDGs in 2020 were evident in many areas. For example, students in the new Bachelor’s course Sustainable Development Goals and the new interdisciplinary course Climate Crisis can gain broad knowledge about and contribute to the SDGs. The SDGs are already represented in many programmes. This will increase in the coming years thanks to the decision in 2020 to integrate sustainability into all curricula. In terms of research, we can point to the launch of the Radboud Global PhD Programme on Sustainability Challenges and a wide range of sustainability-related research results. An example is the publication in Nature about the effects of electrification of cars and heating of homes on CO₂ emissions.

Our contributions to the SDGs in 2020 were evident in many areas.

Furthermore, the Radboud Centre for Sustainability Challenges organised several SDG-related seminars for interdisciplinary research on sustainability issues. Marc Davidson was appointed Professor of Philosophical Ethics and Political Philosophy, with the task, among others, of helping to develop sustainability education across the university. Moreover, Radboud Reflects made knowledge sharing about the SDGs visible in, for example, the current affairs lectures in Nieuwspoort in The Hague. At the end of 2020, we highlighted our commitment to urgent sustainability issues with a campaign in national newspapers . Finally, we also apply the insights relating to sustainability to our own campus and in our own business operations.

Contributing to the SDGs with Publications

On the initiative of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), all Dutch universities have mapped out how their publications relate to the SDGs. The aim is to gain a better understanding of the scientific and social contribution of universities to these development goals. This was also made clear for Radboud University.

The image above shows Radboud University’s contribution to the SDGs in the form of scientific publications (from 2010–2019). The bigger the block, the more we have published about this topic. Three SDGs stand out: climate action; peace, justice and strong institutions; and zero hunger. At this link you can find the search terms that have been used to assign a publication to an SDG.

The chart below shows – per SDG – the percentage of publications from Radboud University that were in the top 10% most cited of all scientific articles published about that SDG (period from 2010–2019; data for 2020 are not yet available). Radboud University’s data are compared to the average of all Dutch universities. For seven SDGs, more than a quarter of Radboud University’s publications are among the top 10% most cited. Outliers are SDG 15, life on land (33%), SDG 13, climate action (32%), and SDG 8, decent work and economic growth (31%).

Percentage of publications about SDGs belonging to the 10% most cited publications

The total number of publications from Radboud University per SDG is shown in brackets. 

The graph below shows per SDG the percentage of publications (2010–2019) that are open access. Radboud University’s data are compared to the average of all Dutch universities. For 11 of the 17 SDGs, the percentage of open access publications at Radboud University is at least 50%; for industry, innovation and infrastructure, it is almost 75%. For 16 SDGs, the percentage of open access publications from Radboud University is also higher than the national average.

Percentage of publications (2010–2019) per SDG that are available in open access