Read our latest insights on the importance of increasing your momentum towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals – even in uncertain times. View our on-demand webinar and hear from our guest speaker from the University of Toronto about his insights from developing their first SDG report using a data-driven approach.
Global challenges, local needs
Demonstrating research impact is a critical activity for institutions as they seek to maximize funding opportunities and identify broader research benefits, while grappling with increasing budget constraints. It is a constant challenge to contribute to both local and international scholarship within a structure that resonates globally and speaks to the challenges, as understood by governments, universities and researchers. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) help frame this dual challenge of promoting research activity and communicating research outcomes.
The UN SDGs are designed to act as a guide in addressing the global challenges that impact our world. Released in 2015, with a 2030 target achievement date, they are a set of 17 targets that transcend government, academia and the private and nonprofit sectors. They speak to our future. Affirmed by over 183 nation states they outline, in unflinching terms, how the world could become a better place. By adopting these goals, a university can demonstrate how its core values match up to global challenges and how its teaching and research helps drive progress towards each goal.
Partnering for success
The UN SDGs are multi-faceted, complex challenges and require thoughtful, innovative partnerships to deliver success. Many organizations are making great strides to achieve progress against each of these global challenges with efforts underpinned by research and development (R&D) with R&D acting as a fuel to drive innovation and increase momentum towards these goals.
The unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 have adversely affected, many initiatives towards the UN SDGs, as many nations may struggle to maintain even basic healthcare programs. Priorities and funding decisions become even more sharply focused. Undoubtedly the focus towards a COVID-19 vaccine is critical, yet the global challenges outlined by the UN SDGs will remain .
This unprecedented effort to seek, develop and manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine highlights the innovative processes underway as research intensive universities collaborate with their corporate partners to accelerate efforts throughout the drug development pipeline.
Many needs are raised throughout the drug-development process:
- identifying key research creators;
- understanding what an effective vaccine might be;
- finding potential manufacturing sites and supply chains and
- endeavoring to equitably distribute the vaccine.
Data are vital to systematically and rigorously addressing each of these key areas.
This development process is a fascinating example of how data from both Cortellis and the Web of Science can help establish clear priorities, identify public-private partnerships, and funding to shape targeted outcomes, of all of which culminate in transforming the global healthcare system and safeguarding individual health.
Making innovation happen
Public-private partnerships like those underway for COVID-19 vaccine research do not just happen. An understanding of the incentives and economic principles that support the framework for action help determine whether success is achievable. For example, there is an economic disincentive to develop new antimicrobials as they are no longer as widely used due to natural resistance. To move away from the pay-for-dose model that traditionally rewards companies for developing and providing patient drugs, the United Kingdom has piloted a subscription-based model for antimicrobials, thereby changing the incentive structure to support innovation.
Stimulating transformative research is another challenge faced by researchers. Removing silos and facilitating collaboration between disciplines is a way to overcome this. Using the UN SDGs to focus activity, the Roberta Buffet Institute for Global Affairs at Northwestern University has piloted an Idea Incubation workshop to identify multidisciplinary collaboration to achieve research outcomes that advance the UN SDGs.
As it has with many global challenges, the UN has used SDGs as a tool to cut across national boundaries and created a common currency for the world. Research creators who are increasingly used to describe activity and impact find that the SDGs illustrate outcomes and offer roadmaps for future success. Embedding the UN SDGs into funding programs, identifying key outcomes and using them to assess progress remain as critical as ever.
Prioritization during difficult times
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will make, defining and shaping priorities with the momentum to achieve in time for the 2030 target even harder than before – especially with budgets under unrelenting scrutiny. Knowing where to make research investments and optimize program outcomes will be crucial. Ensuring that actionable data and insights underpin priorities throughout the innovation lifecycle is key to progress. In providing critical insights and data throughout the innovation lifecycle, Clarivate is uniquely positioned to support scientific progress and increase research momentum.
Want to learn more about how we can help you demonstrate your institution’s contribution towards the Sustainable Development Goals? Speak to one of our experts.