UN Sustainable Development Group 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

UN SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.


The University of Lincoln has at its heart working in partnership, locally, and globally to deliver research, teaching, civic, and industry links that improve people’s lives and livelihoods, as recognised in our strategic plan.

Our purpose is to transform lives and communities, attracting talent from around the globe to create, for Lincolnshire and communities across the world, a virtuous circle of opportunity, prosperity, and economic growth. We will drive, enhance, and harness global advances in technology and digitalization, applying them in selected industrial settings to improve the lives of individuals and communities. We will help to build an economically successful, socially coherent, highly skilled, and culturally vibrant city and region.

While the list of impactful external partnerships in which we are engaged is long, we have chosen case studies to highlight, including the Mobile Arts for Peace project and malaria transmission project as examples of our international work, and the Lincoln Climate Commission and our work through the National Centre for Food Manufacturing as exemplars of how we work with civic partners, charities, and UK businesses respectively. Internally students and staff of all professions work together to deliver the University’s objectives.

Our purpose is to transform lives and communities, attracting talent from around the globe to create, for Lincolnshire and communities across the world, a virtuous circle of opportunity, prosperity, and economic growth.

Partnerships with NGOs and Government

As a University, we have built strong relationships with regional NGOs and government:

Professor Simon Pearson of the Lincoln Institute for Agri-food Technology was asked by the UK government's Department of Environment Food and Agriculture to develop policy around the future of Agricultural Technology, leading to a report which was published in 2022.

Professor Chris Thomas, Global Professor in Water and Planetary Health, is the Principal Investigator in the NERC-funded FLOODMAL project, an international collaboration deploying novel techniques to study malaria vector distribution on the Zambezi floodplain, a vast area with very high levels of malaria transmission in western Zambia.

Locally, we work closely with NGOs and the City of Lincoln in the Lincoln Climate Commission to develop new ways of mitigating and adapting to climate change, and we have had senior colleagues contributing to policy development in Lincolnshire through their contributions to the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership. Our contribution to the Lincoln Climate Comission is also an example of cross-sectoral dialogue, involving a wide number of local NGOs as well as government. In October 2021 we led the organisation of a very successful cross-sectoral conference on Nature Recovery with our partners at Wilder Doddington - including charities and private sector enterprises.

The Mobile Arts for Peace Project, led from Lincoln, has been active across 185 partnering organisations in influencing policy around supporting young people through arts and education. The Mobile Arts for Peace Project, led by the University's Professor Ananda Breed, is a four-year international, multidisciplinary project which provides a comparative approach on the use of interdisciplinary arts-based practices for peacebuilding in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia, and Nepal. It is a collaborative project between universities, cultural artists, civil society organisations, and young people across the world. Some selected highlights of this project and their contributions to the SDGs are outlined below:

SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing

We were funded via UKRI Newton Fund for project Mobile Arts for Peace's project Map at Home, which looked at online psychosocial support through the arts in Rwanda. This project aimed to connect mental health service users and mental health service providers using locally informed approaches to mental health and wellbeing. This initiative has scaled up to a national level in relation to informing the Mental Health in Schools programme and training in Hospitals and Health Centres using arts-based approaches. We are also focusing on mental health and well-being within the larger MAP Network Plus project.

SDG 4 Quality Education

We have informed curricula through a MAP CPD programme in Rwanda, the development of child clubs in Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda, Indonesia, and Nepal, and the creation of local curriculum in Nepal and Indonesia. We are also currently working with UNESCO in relation to informing arts-education in Nepal, and have just launched a MAP UNESCO event that included ministers, IO and NGO officials, alongside other stakeholders including artists and youth researchers. There have been 'arts dialogue' forums that focus on communicating the needs/issues of children and young people to decision-makers. This includes local MAP researcher clubs that are established in schools/out of school settings and has involved a training of trainers for teachers/youth workers/young people (ex: 7 child clubs in Nepal, 18 youth researcher clubs in Kyrgyzstan, 45 clubs in Rwanda, and working with street connected youth via youth focused organisations in Indonesia). 

SDG 5 Gender Equality

We have created a youth advisory board that consists primarily of young women who have addressed issues of gender equality. Additionally, several of the 32 youth-led small grant projects that were funded by MAP focused on gender equality such as girls' access to education. One of our projects One Drum uses drumming for girls and women to drum their issues and to transform culture through festivals that involve decision-makers. Since drumming has traditionally been restricted to men, the fact that girls and women are using drumming as a form of expression is in itself a step towards gender equality as perceived within Rwandan culture. 

SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities

We have focused on the use of local arts-based methods. Often, this includes working with marginalised communities to reduce inequalities and the arts-based outputs express issues/needs as identified by them to be communicated to decision-makers. We have also worked with children and young people to inform curriculum and policy. 

SDG 16 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

We are working in partnership with UNESCO and have created a network across HEIs, CSOs, cultural organisations, and government bodies.  

We have also participated in international data gathering for the SDGs in a number of projects across many countries. These include the MAP project and the Bates Laboratory, collecting data with many partners on the interaction between HIV-infection and pneumonia in infants in Africa.

We have supported the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust in the Love Lincolnshire Plants project. This project aimed to preserve Lincolnshire's botanica heritage and train future botanists, including our students who students benefited from extra botanical training alongside talks and events on our campus. We also established a partnership with Doddington Hall, a local estate that has begun a 400 year rewilding project, to restore biodiversity over its 770 hectares. Our students and scientists have contributed baseline data for the biodiversity and ecosystem services of the estate and continue to contribute data as the estate re-wilds. The also estate provides ongoing opportunities for our students to learn about biodiversity and ecosystem restoration.

The University of Lincoln is also a key partner of the South Lincolnshire Food Enterprise Zone. The Zone is home to a variety of businesses, and offers purpose build offices alongside research and development workshops, and is interested in areas such as food supply chain optimisation, productivity, food sustainability, logistics, and packaging. It's ultimate ai is to increase productivity, bring innovation, and increase skills for the agri-tech, agri-food, and food manufacturing sectors.

A key partnership including our National Centre for Food Manufacturing has also secured part of the £220 million Growth Renewal Fund and will be used to position Grimsby as a global centre for seafood innovation and education. Grimsby and the surrounding area will benefit from almost £500,000 to develop programmes that will grow the local seafood industry with improved skills, technology and innovation. The programme will work alongside the UK Food Valley Pilot (Seafood) and will help to cement Grimsby’s position as the world’s global seafood hub.

The project will address some of the industries main challenges, including the drive for sustainability, the need to digitalise, and moving towards carbon reduction. Eligible businesses can apply to receive an innovation and support package, along with an average of 12 hours one-to-one business support. Seafood businesses also have the opportunity to receive a grant of £3,000 to £9,999 to support activities that improve productivity and efficiency.

Commitment to Meaningful Education

We declared a climate and environmental emergency in 2019 and became signatories of the SDG Accord in 2021. Since 2021, we have run an annual Climate Action Week, including the delivery of a wide range of lectures and workshops to which all students are invited, and we have worked with the Students’ Union to deliver a range of sustainability events. Carbon literacy workshops are offered as part of these events. Students can also attend our flagship public lecture series (see below). The University of Lincoln Students’ Union have been offering an Eco-award since 2021, which requires students to undertake training, undertake relevant volunteering, and evidence key lifestyle changes. 27 students completed the award in 2021/22.

Specific Courses on Sustainability

We have a wide and expanding range of courses and modules focused on aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals. Examples of courses and subject areas where the SDG themes were integrated include:

Architecture (SDG 11, 13)
Business (PRME accredited – all SDGs covered)
Criminology, Social Policy, Sociology (SDG 16)
Geography (all SDGs covered)
Ecology and Conservation (SDGs 13 and 15)
Chemistry (SDGs 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12, 13)
Food Manufacturing (SDGs 2, 3, 8, 9, 13)
Agri-food Technology (SDGs 2,6,9,13)
Fashion (SDG 12)
Health, Nursing, and Pharmacy (SDGs 3 and 10)

Additionally, many students have had specific elements within their programme focused on aspects of the SDGs. For example students in Law can take an Environmental Law module, and Film students learn about Albert accreditation within their industry and can become Albert grads. Mathematics students have the option to work on a final-year project applying their knowledge and skills to an issue in sustainability, Pharmaceutical Science students take a module on Global Health Challenges, and Engineering students work on project challenges directly related to SDGs. All Life Sciences students have the option to take an overseas field course in which they can learn about the conflicts between development and biodiversity conservation.

We have been actively expanding our portfolio of sustainability-related programmes with recent additions including MSc Sustainability, MSc Chemical Engineering with Sustainability, MSc Biodiversity, Conservation and Nature Recovery, MSc Environment and Planetary Health, MSc International Food Safety, Sustainability and Innovation and a short course in Food Insights and Sustainability.

Education for Sustainable Development Goals in the Wider Community

We have a varied and popular outreach programme, and from the 21/22 academic year we highlight the following events and activities which were available to anyone: The Loving Your Landscape Festival was a collaboration between the University of Lincoln and Doddington Hall rewilding project. This included a range of events on topics such as food, wellbeing and art relevant to rewilding and was open to the public as well as staff and students.

The Lincoln Institute of Advanced Studies lectures have a broad audience of members of the public, alumni, and students. A number of these deal with sustainability issues (for example Professor Louis Kotze on Earth System Law for the Anthropocene – November 2021; Professor Sundari Anitha on Women Striking Back: Struggles and Strategies Against Violence and Exploitation – May 2022). These free in-person lectures include refreshments before and after the lecture, encouraging further conversation and analysis of the topics.

The Lincoln Institute of Agri-food Technology run a series of ‘Breakfast Briefings’ to which members of the farming community (and other members of the public) are invited – in addition to their relevance to SDG 2, they also encourage conversations about other aspects of sustainability in a farming context (examples include electrification of farm technology and nitrogen use efficiency). The Lincoln Institute of Agri-food Technology also hosted a Ted-X event on ‘The Way We Eat’.

Our Climate Action Week activities are available to members of the public and include a wide range of local organisations who contribute to their organisation and delivery. Our Climate Change Lectures, first delivered in 2021, also continue to be available to the public and continue to be accessed with some of the lectures having hundreds of views.