Featured News JCU #1 in global partnerships for sustainable development

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Thu, 23 Apr 2020

JCU #1 in global partnerships for sustainable development

Two students chatting in front of a map of the Tropics

James Cook University has been ranked #1 in the world for its commitment to sustainable development through global partnerships.

The Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings recognise universities around the world for their social and economic impact, based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

The 17 Goals are intended as a framework for developing the world in a sustainable way. They were set in 2015 as part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, intended to be achieved by 2030.

For Goal 17, which relates to partnerships, JCU scored 99.2 of a possible 100, and was ranked No. 1 out of 806 institutions.

The Goals include access to clean water and an end to poverty and hunger. They recognize that ending deprivation must go hand-in-hand with improving health and education, reducing inequality and fostering economic growth.

JCU Provost, Professor Chris Cocklin, said sustainable development underpins much of JCU’s teaching and research, and is central to its role as a university for the Tropics.

“It’s important to understand the interconnectedness of these goals,” he said. “Achieving good health might seem the obvious focus for nurses and doctors, but it also requires attention to the social determinants of health, such as education and poverty. Those intersections make Goal 17, working in partnerships, critical to the success of 2030 Agenda.”

Professor Cocklin said the ranking was testament to JCU staff, students and graduates, and the many communities, organisations and individuals they collaborate with.

“Our State of the Tropics project, for example, has seen researchers from across the globe working together for almost a decade to assess and improve quality of life in the Tropics,” he said.

Dr Kearrin Sims, convenor of JCU’s Master of Global Development, said JCU’s strong emphasis on work-integrated learning sees students across the University undertaking internships and placements as part of their courses.

“Our Master of Global Development students learn from development practitioners and gain hands-on experience with local and regional partners including the Aurora Foundation, the Cairns Local Disaster Coordination Centre, Far North Queensland Indigenous Rangers and environmental organisations.

“Working in respectful, productive partnerships across different cultures and different disciplines, between government, industry, community and academia – that’s an essential part of their professional preparation. To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we have to build those partnerships from a local to a global scale.”

Dr Sims is a member of the Executive Committee for the Development Studies Association of Australia and chairs JCU’s Sustainable Development Working Group.


Media enquiries: linden.woodward@jcu.edu.au