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VU’s commitment to the SDGs: Visible on multiple levels

27 September 2022
Sustainability is a top priority for VU Amsterdam. Therefore, VU .makes its contribution to the transition towards a sustainable society visible and has chosen the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the framework for it.

With 17 goals, 169 sub-goals and 231 indicators, the Sustainable Development Goals are a comprehensive compass for making VU Amsterdam a more impact-oriented organisation. For this year’s SDG Action Days (23 to 27 September), the SDG-flag has been hoisted again and will remain hoisted during the entire year. And since last week, anyone entering the VU main building will be passing the SDG tiles that have been installed in the ground leading towards the entrance of the main building on the VU campus.  

Apart from these physical signs of commitment, VU Amsterdam is working on integrating the SDGs into the entire organisation. As for research, the SDGs have been integrated into the VU Research Portal to visualise how researchers’ expertise is connected to the Sustainable Development Goals. Visitors to the portal can find researchers based on their contribution to one or more of the SDGs. The labels are visible as tiles in the profile page, above the fingerprint section. Publications have also been matched. 

32% of personal profiles of the six faculties that participated in the first roll-out wave now feature SDG labels. The Faculty of Science scores highest in absolute terms with 673 profiles, the Faculty of Social Sciences in relative terms with 40% of researcher profiles showing one or more SDGs. All the results can be found in the SDG research dashboard, with search options for faculties, organisational units and personal profiles.  

The methodology to scan VU research based on SDGs has been developed by a working group in the Aurora network, with Maurice Vanderfeesten of the VU research intelligence team involved as VU representative. It is based on artificial intelligence and able to scan text in multiple languages. It determines impact in terms of research publications, the strength of these publications, if these publications are available to the public, and if they are picked-up in policy. A whitepaper provides an analysis of the methodology. 

More information about the project can be found here. This project contributes to VU Amsterdam’s profile theme Science for Sustainability, with the aim to strengthen its position as a forerunner in sustainability research. 

Using AI to scan publications on SDGs

Using AI to scan publications on SDGs

The tool allows to determine the impact in terms of research publications, the strength of these publications, if these publications are available to the public, and if they are picked-up in policy. It was launched in 2017 following a request by university rectors of the Aurora network "to show the contribution to and impact on relevant global societal challenges", as Aurora claims to be a network that focuses on socially relevant research.

Whitepaper Aurora Impact Analysis

Would you like to know more?

Get in touch with ASI coordinator Neele van den Bongardt

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