UNSW Business school has been applauded for a new initiative to promote research on issues that delaying progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). The event was held on the 27th of April and brought together academics and graduate students.

Professor Karin Sanders, Director of Doctoral Studies, of the UNSW Business School, instigated and coordinated the information session on SDGs for research students and the School’s research community. She spoke about the importance for PhD candidates to include in their research societal impact in addition to academic impact, as well as the skills to collaborate.

“While a focus on rigorous research is important for academic impact, the credibility of the research is important to gain societal impact. Our research students should learn about the SDG framework as early as possible and be trained to collaborate with other disciplines,” said Professor Sanders.

“I was very pleased to see, despite the terrible weather, so many students and staff attend this in-person event to hear Professor Greg Leslie present on the activities of the Global Water Institute. It Is my hope that from this meeting many relevant, interesting and impactful research collaborations occur between the Business School and GWI.”

Dr Louise Fitzgerald, from the Business School’s Education Portfolio, presented on how the SDGs integrate with the Business School’s well-established commitment to the UN Principles of Responsible Management Education. Since 2010, the School’s research program has aimed to ‘engage in conceptual and empirical research that advances our understanding about the role, dynamics, and impact of corporations in the creation of sustainable social, environmental and economic value (UN PRME, Principle 4). However, the SDGs articulate clearly the urgency for Business Schools to respond to the greatest social, economic and environmental challenges facing current and future leaders and managers in all sectors, particularly in business. Delivering on the targets laid out in the SDGs will require new knowledge, mindsets, skills, practices, and in some cases, profound transformations of businesses and organizations (UN PRME, 2020, Blueprint for SDG Integration into Curriculum, Research and Partnerships).

Professor Frederik Anseel, Senior Deputy Dean (Research & Enterprise) of the UNSW Business School, stressed the importance of Business School research focusing on and contributing to progress towards SDGs:

“The time that business academics predominantly focused on business practices in large blue-chip companies has since long passed. We have close to 300 brilliant academics in the faculty working in a broad range of areas, which all have the potential to contribute to grand challenges such as climate change, inequality, poverty, gender equality, resilient democracies, responsible consumption, sustainable market design for water and fishery rights, clean energy, to name just a few,” said Frederik.

“To maximize the impact of our research, we need to learn to collaborate better with other disciplines who often haven’t heard about our research. Addressing SDGs involves integration of multiple disciplines and perspectives. Such integration does not come naturally. We need to invest effort, get out of the building to talk and team up with academics from other faculties and external partners. That is the key challenge that lies ahead for the next years.”