Scholarship and the SDGs

Connecting Yale teaching and research to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, the Yale Office of Sustainability began looking at how teaching and research at Yale aligns with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Adopted by 193 countries, the SDGs address today’s most pressing global challenges.

Project Goals

  • Identify expertise at Yale University to advance achievement of these goals
  • Highlight pathways for transdisciplinary collaboration
  • Connect sustainability in higher education to global challenges


A team of student research assistants reviewed department websites and publications of all Yale faculty and researchers. They collected information about specialties and interest, and how the faculty’s research and teaching relates to the SDGs. This produced a database with over 100,000 data points.

Key Findings

  • Research at Yale University covers all of the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Every department or school has at least one faculty member whose scholarship relates to the SDGs
  • Yale has high participation in research relating to SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 10 (Reduce Inequality), and SDG 16 (Peace and Justice)

This visualization shows the total number of Yale faculty whose teaching and research relates to each of the 17 SDGs. Data is from a project led by a team of student research assistants in 2018, which produced a faculty research database that was later updated in 2020.

Hover over each box to see the name of the SDG and the number of faculty conducting research related to it. Interact with the visualization by selecting a faculty department on the right to see which SDGs are taught and researched by faculty within that department.

All work to-date is based on publicly available information and is intended to help foster collaboration between researchers. Next steps for this project include creating department-specific reports and verifying data through interviews. 

Yale is working with the International Alliance of Research Universities, one of Yale’s global partners, to continue exploring how academic institutions can help to advance the SDGs.

Yale Sustainability has also created a How-To guide for assessing research and teaching connecting to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Download the full Yale SDG report

For more information about this report, please contact the Yale Office of Sustainability