Our goals in action
Research and innovation
Queen’s has 22 institutional and faculty-based research centres pursuing research that addresses grand challenges and societal issues of national and international scope.
Queen's is home to internationally recognized researchers exploring a range of environmental topics including climate change, renewable energy, and water. The Queen's University research centres and institutes work collaboratively with each other and with international organizations to develop best practice around contributing to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.
Capturing the Art of Research
From photos depicting the nanoscale to the freezing landscape of the Arctic, the annual Art of Research photo contest takes us behind the scenes of the everyday research experience at Queen’s. The 2022 contest introduced five new categories inspired by the UN SDGs to shine a spotlight on the intrinsic connection between research and social impact.
Teaching and student life
Educating responsible leaders of tomorrow
The world needs leaders who are passionate about making a change and are ready to tackle challenging issues. The Smith School of Business Certificate in Social Impact integrates social impact approaches into core business strategies and business models to inform the next generation of change leaders. Students have the opportunity to engage with industry leaders who are advancing social impact and grow their network through events offered through the Centre for Social Impact.
Experience Queen's Global Summer
Launched in 2022 by the Faculty of Arts and Science, Queen’s Global Summer is a six-week program focused on the UN SDGs, offering a selection of cross-disciplinary courses, events, research showcases, and professional development opportunities. Students also participate in the program’s flagship course, Global Goals: Introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals (QGSP 200), featuring guest lectures from Indigenous Elders and leading experts across Arts and Science. The capstone group project had students partner with community organizations to support local initiatives related to sustainable living and commuting, food security, and energy conservation.
Strengthening the community around us
We are passionate about volunteering in the community to advance a more sustainable world around them. Principal Patrick Deane is a Cabinet Member of the United Way and also the Sector Chair for Education, working to strengthen our community and facilitate change. Annually, Queen’s students, staff, and faculty raise more than $1,000,000 in support of underserved local populations.
Action and awareness
Along with other University Global Coalition members, Queen’s participated in the UN SDG Action and Awareness Week through several events and activities that showcased student initiatives and highlighted collaborations between faculty, staff, alumni, and students in responding to these global challenges. The Queen’s SDG Student Hub hosted a virtual speaker series led by Queen’s faculty, staff, students, and Kingston community leaders on the topics of SDGs 1, 11, and 13 and demonstrated how participants can get involved in SDG action locally.
“[The SDGs] provide a shared language which helps universities in diverse geographical, political, and socio-economic locations understand and build upon the commonality of their work in both teaching and research.”
– Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor
Collaborating to advance UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Queen’s participates in cross-sectoral events with both government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to tackle the UN SDGs. We have direct involvement in national government SDG policy development, including identifying challenges, developing strategies, and enabling adaptive management.
Queen’s students also participate in efforts to advance SDGs through educational initiatives, volunteering, research programs, and student-led clubs and associations.
Shaping the future of sustainable finance
The Institute for Sustainable Finance is a multidisciplinary network of researchers, private sector leaders, and government policymakers working together to shape Canada’s innovations in sustainable finance.
The Institute has launched the refreshed Capital Mobilization Plan for a Canadian Low Carbon Economy. The landmark research that highlights that cooperation between the public sector, private sector, and financial system is critical to securing investments needed to meet Canada’s 2030 climate targets.
Shaping public policies that impact Canadians
Queen’s faculty and students provide specific expert advice to local, regional, and national governments through committee participation and provision of evidence. Our support helps to ensure better-informed and more effective public policies.
The Canadian Science Policy Conference brings together over 900 research, industry, and government leaders to discuss how to bridge the gaps between their sectors. At the 2021 event, Queen’s was a co-sponsor and hosted a panel on the role of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in Canada’s energy transition with team leads from New Brunswick Power and Natural Resources Canada.
Administration and operations
Better reflecting our mission
In 2022, Queen’s University Senate approved updates to the Ontario Council of Academic Vice-Presidents' Undergraduate and Graduate Degree Level Expectations (DLEs). The revision includes language explicitly focused on equity, diversity, inclusion, Indigenization, and accessibility (EDIIA). The revised DLEs emphasize the objectives of a global mindset and research and learning to benefit society and the public good, embodied by SDGs in the curriculum. The newly revised Degree Level Expectations are required rather than optional and apply across the full curriculum, including undergraduate and graduate programs.
Advancing our contributions to the SDGs
Brainstorming on future opportunities, nearly 300 members of the Queen’s community participated in a 17 Rooms event in June 2021 focused on how the university could mobilize the SDGs in significant and innovative ways. A fast-paced exercise used by institutions worldwide, the 17 Rooms event brought staff, faculty, and students together to raise awareness about the SDGs. The sessions highlighted potential avenues for SDG action, some of which have already inspired and will continue to shape university initiatives.
We are extremely proud to be ranked in the top ten globally for the second straight year for advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, according to the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings. However, we are not content on resting on our laurels. We are committed to continuing to advance our work around each of the SDGs, to promote meaningful education on these goals across the university, as well as in our city and beyond our borders. This report complements over 15 annual reports produced by various units and departments across the university that provide evidence of our contributions to sustainability and social impact through efforts in research, teaching, and outreach.