Sustainable Development Goals Mapping Project

Universities have a crucial role to play in achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, knowledge generation, education, campus operations, and public engagement. SFU is recognized as an innovative, community-engaged research university with a global impact. 

Since 2019, SFU has participated in THE Impact Rankings, the only global platform that assesses universities performance against the SDGs. Ranking in the top 20 universities worldwide in 2020, and in the top 50 in 2021, SFU has demonstrated its potential to be a global leader in advancing this global commitment. SFU placed in the top 10 worldwide for three key SDGs: climate action, sustainable cities and communities, and peace, justice and strong institutions.

These rankings show only a slice of the myriad of activities taking place at SFU that align with the SDGs, and only hint at the potential and opportunities for mobilizing our strengths for deepened and sustained impact at local, national, and international scales.

SDG Mapping Project

The purpose of this project is to broaden and deepen our understanding of current activities taking place at SFU that contribute to the SDGS locally, nationally and internationally, and to mobilize the SFU community around strengthening and deepening work towards the achievement of the SDGs.

The mapping project involves gathering quantitative and qualitative data about each of the core functional areas of the institution - Research, Teaching and Learning, Operations, and Engagement according to pre-identified indicators or information that align activities with each of the 17 SDGs. 

Phase 1: Scanning 

Scan and analyze existing quantitative and qualitative data from across the institution, in the areas of: Research, Teaching & Learning, Operations and Engagement to understand what we are already doing. In this phase, the project team will:

  • Identify areas of strength in which SFU already excels and can deepen its engagement.
  • Identify key institutional stakeholders and potential champions for the SDGs.
  • Compile ideas and modalities for SDG mobilization from other universities in Canada and across the globe, and through review of relevant global and national networks. 
  • Provide data, reports and story ideas to University Communications to populate new (to be developed) institution-wide microsite related to SFU’s Sustainability work and progress toward the SDGs

Phase 2: Stakeholder Engagement

Conduct Stakeholder Engagement to deepen our understanding of the work currently being done towards the achievement of the SDGs, and to identify potential areas of transformation. In this phase the project team will: 

  • Engage key institutional stakeholders and potential champions for the SDGs through one-on-one and group conversations and requests for submissions to: 
    • Identify SDG areas of highest potential for transformation in alignment with institutional priorities 
    • Collect recommendations for deepening engagement with the SDGs to include reconciliation and EDI or other gaps (SDGs++)
    • Generate ideas or recommendations for supporting, resourcing and coordinating SDG-related efforts across the institution.

Project Benefits

This project will benefit the SFU community at large by:

  • Informing SFU’s Global Engagement Plan
  • Provide a common language for global engagement which is recognized across sectors (e.g., academia, government, NGO, industry) around the world
  • Identify the areas in which SFU is currently excelling and how to deepen engagement/progress in these areas.
  • Prioritize the areas of transformation where SFU has space and capacity to begin or deepen engagement.
  • Inform the baseline for others wanting to mobilize re: SDGs in Canada and locally
  • Strengthen opportunities to enhance SFU’s reputation in the global stage by
    • Contributing to communicating data and stories that reflect SFU’s engagement with the SDGs
    • Contributing to data collection and management to improve SFU’s THE Impact Rankings

Project Timeline

Phase 1: Scanning Activities 

The chart shows a high level timeline of when major tasks of the project are to be executed.

Phase Activity Timeline
Phase1: Scanning activities  Data collection June - September 2021
Phase1: Scanning activities  Data analysis September - October 2021
Phase1: Scanning activities  Data reporting October - November 2021
Phase 2: Stakeholder engagement  Design and planning 
September - November 2021
Phase 2: Stakeholder engagement  Implementation December 2021- ongoing

However, it is important to note that given the complexity of this project and its dependence on active engagement from different units and departments across SFU, the data collection and analysis process will more iterative – rather than linear – in nature.

How the findings will be utilized

Key results will be reported out to the university community during the stakeholder engagement process.  SFU International will use the results in their work developing a Global Engagement Plan aligned with SDGs where we can have the most impact internationally, and SFU Sustainability will use the results for their Sustainability planning and initiatives.

Are you working towards the SDGs? We want to hear from you!

Mapping SDG-related activity at SFU is a big undertaking and we may have missed the incredible work you are doing. Please fill in this content submission form to share your SDG project.

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Which SDGs does your work/ projects/ initiatives align with? Check all that apply.



The SDG Mapping Project is led by SFU International and SFU Sustainability with resourcing by SFU’s Office of the Vice-President, Research and International