Universities: keys to sustainable development

Universität der Zukunft

Promoting higher education and research is a core concern of the global development agenda. 

Universities train qualified specialists and leaders who are urgently needed to deal with local and global challenges. They make important contributions to strengthening all levels of the education system by providing teaching, research and guidance. They support evidence-based policy advice and contribute to the development of innovative solutions in the key areas of the 2030 Agenda. Furthermore, universities play a key role on the path towards greater employment by providing relevant and practice-oriented degree programmes, strengthening entrepreneurship and acting as a locational factor for local economic development.
Using these potentials and further increasing the contribution of higher education and research to sustainable development is not only a strategic goal of the DAAD, but also a core concern of the international development agenda. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development explicitly calls for the expansion of higher education and research in order to achieve the goal of quality education (SDG 4) and, among other things, envisages substantial increases in the provision of scholarships for people from developing countries (SDG 4.3). In addition to this, universities are given a key role in the successful realisation of all other Sustainable Development Goals – for example, in the areas of food security (SDG 2), health (SDG 3), sustainable growth (SDG 8) and climate action (SDG 13).

Partnership for the Goals

This is the starting point for DAAD funding programmes – relying on the commitment, the expertise and the international network of German universities and their partners all over the world. They work together to secure sustainability far beyond the education sector, to develop viable partnerships and to contribute to the key topics of the 2030 Agenda – for example, health, sustainable economic development, innovation or environmental and climate protection – with concrete problem-solving solutions.


Further information

  • The role of universities in sustainable development

Building on the results of the international meeting of experts on the Role of Higher Education, Science and New Alliances in the Context of the 2030 Agenda (March 2017, Berlin), representatives of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) and the DAAD have designed a representation of the “University of the Future for Sustainable Development” in the course of a creative workshop with a team of graphic artists. The illustration provides a basis for discussion about the role of universities in local and global sustainable development and it can be accessed (german version only).

  •  The Contribution of DAAD and Universities to Individual SDGs - An Overview

Sustainability issues are the focus of cooperation in numerous DAAD-funded projects. Study programmes on sustainability topics are also very popular within the broad range of scholarships available. The shows a selection of projects and individuals and their specific contributions to the individual SDGs. 

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