Western Sydney University continues to reduce inequality one year on as United Nations global hub

Western Sydney University is celebrating one year as the United Nations Academic Impact Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) global hub for SDG10 reducing inequality after being recognised for its leadership in this area.

In 2019, Western Sydney University ranked first in the world for addressing gender equality and second for reducing inequalities according to the Times Higher Education 2019 Impact rankings.

One of 17 hubs worldwide, the University has been identified by the United Nations Academic Impact network to assist in addressing the SDGs set out by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations.

Professor Deborah Sweeney Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Research, Enterprise and International) reflected on a year of research, learning, engagement and empowerment at the University.

“The University has a long tradition of reducing inequality and continues to be a leader on a national and international level through our world-class research,” said Professor Sweeney.

Professor Simon Barrie Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic (Acting) said Western Sydney University is proud of its role as the leading anchor educational institution in the growing region of Western Sydney and is committed to educating its students on the SDGs.

“We take seriously the mission to educate our graduates about the critical importance of the SDGs so that they may make a significant difference in the world. By 2045 this region will be vastly changed and the University is excited to be part of its transformation,” said Professor Barrie.

For more than 25 years, the University has been committed to widening participation in and access to university education, resulting in a continuous rise in the number of students from non-traditional backgrounds.

“We are also dedicated to creating sector-leading programs to enable equitable entry to higher education and once they enter the University providing students with opportunities to address issues they are passionate about.”

Key programs and research delivering SDGs related outcomes in 2019:

  • Professor Basant Maheshwari from the School of Science and Health, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and Indian agricultural research institutions, led transdisciplinary reach into sustainable groundwater management in India. The research is now being adopted in the World Bank project for hundreds of villages across seven Indian states.
  • Two new Strategic Research Initiatives — cross-disciplinary research centres that partner with industry and end-users to address challenges — were established. The first, Transforming Early Education and Child Health seeks to ensure that no Australian child should have their potential limited by the settings into which they are born and live. The second, The Young and Resilient Research Centre embraces an integrated mode of R&D, education, training and enterprise to research and develop technology-based products, services and policies that strengthen the resilience of young people and their communities.
  • As Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development youth leaders, students from Western Sydney University and Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia delivered the annual Asia-Pacific SDG Youth Challenge which saw youths come together to focus on delivering the SDGs at a grassroots level. In total, 10 individual youth-led sustainability projects were delivered across the globe with over 10,500 individuals engaged. The focus for the Challenge this year was on SDG 1: No Poverty, SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation and SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities.

The United Nations Academic Impact network is an initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the United Nations in supporting and contributing to the realisation of United Nations goals and mandates, including the promotion and protection of human rights, access to education, sustainability and conflict resolution.

Western Youth Leader, Brittany Hardiman, talks about the Asia-Pacific SDG Youth Challenge


22 January 2020

Media Unit