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Joint SDG Research Initiative

Tackling Global Challenges through Use-Inspired Research

The Joint Sustainable Development Goal research initiative (Joint SDG research initiative) aims to encourage research that contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in LMICs to the benefit of the most vulnerable people.

The seventeen development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations are integrated and inextricably linked to the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, societal and environmental focus. Science is critical to achieving the SDGs as it lays the foundation for identifying innovative approaches, solutions and technologies to understand and address the global challenges of the future.

  • Aim and objectives

    The seventeen UNs Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. Science is critical to help meet the SDGs as science lays the foundation for innovative approaches, solutions and technologies to identify, clarify and tackle global challenges for the future.

    Achieving the SDGs requires that all the three dimensions—economic, social and environmental—are addressed in a balanced manner. An interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach of co-creation is needed for science to be able to contribute to the SDGs. In other words, such science should include close cooperation between social, technical and economic disciplines (interdisciplinary) and between knowledge institutes, governments, NGOs, private partners, and other relevant end-users (co-creation).

    Dutch universities and research institutes represent a huge body of knowledge in all scientific disciplines, which could and should be mobilised to contribute to meeting the SDGs in an innovative way and with a global focus that prioritises the most vulnerable people in Low-and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) to benefit. However, an inclusive global perspective must be based on intercultural perspectives, especially recognising the agency and the rich potential in LMICs to contribute to addressing these challenges. In addition, collaboration with scientists from LMICs clears the path to innovative insights and breakthroughs that would otherwise be beyond the reach of Dutch science.

  • Calls for Proposals

    The two calls on proposals ‘Tackling Global Challenges through Use-Inspired Research’ were launched in February 2017 and May 2018, and aim to encourage the Dutch research system in contributing to achieving the SDGs in one or multiple LMIC(s) to the benefit of the most vulnerable people. They call on scientists to submit research proposals that address a challenge for these countries in achieving specific SDGs, based on a use-inspired research approach and resulting in tangible output, additional to knowledge alone.

    Each project contributes to two objectives:

    • Generate new, evidence-based knowledge that bridges fundamental understanding with use thereof;
    • Generate tangible outputs -other than knowledge- that are accessible, affordable and applicable for practitioners in LMICs.

    This programme joins forces of NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Developement and seven research organisations in the first call and eight research organisations in the second call. In the first call, nine projects were granted.

  • Partners

    The first call joined forces of NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Developemt and seven research institutes: Delft University of Technology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, UNESCO-IHE, University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, VU University Amsterdam, Wageningen University & Research.

    The co-funding universities of the second call are: Delft University of Technology, Leiden University, Maastricht University, University of Amsterdam, University of Groningen, Utrecht University, VU University Amsterdam and Wageningen University & Research.

  • Committees

    The Programme Committee (PC) is responsible for all funding and strategic decisions. The PC is advised by an International Advisory Committee (IAC). The day-to-day management is in the hands of the WOTRO secretariat at NWO.

    Programme committee

    The PC is the decision making body and is responsible for:

    • Approval of calls;
    • Appointing members of the International Advisory Committee (IAC);
    • Allocating funding to projects, based on the advice of the IAC;
    • Approval of the project evaluation reports, based on the advice of the IAC;
    • Formulating strategic plans and activities for the future of the collaboration.

    The individual members of the PC are responsible for timely informing and aligning with the bodies they are representing. The members are:

    • Prof. P.Y. (Yola) Georgiadou (technical chair) - Professor in geo-information for governance at ITC, University of Twente & emeritus of Technology & Society at Maastricht University
    • Dr Johan Aad van Dijk - Business Director Stichting IHE Delft
    • Prof. emerit. H.J.M. (Bert) de Vries - Prof. emeritus of Global Change and Energy at Utrecht University
    • Prof. emerit. A.J. (Ton) Dietz - Former Director of the African Studies Centre Leiden and Professor emerit. of the Study of African Development at Leiden University
    • Prof. J. (Joost) Herman - Professor in Globalisation Studies and Humanitarian Action at University of Groningen
    • Prof. R.C. (Robert) Kloosterman - Professor of Economic Geography and Planning at the University of Amsterdam
    • Prof. emerit. G.J. (Gerjo) Kok - Former Dean and Professor emeritus of Applied psychology at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience at Maastricht University
    • Ir. M.S. Kreijns - Head of Project Management Department at Valorisation Centre TU Delft
    • Prof. Maarten Lindeboom - Professor of Economics and chair of the department of economics at the VU Amsterdam
    • Ir. Jelle Maas - Public Affairs and Science Communication at Wageningen University & Research (WUR)
    • Dr Martine Rutten - Senior Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • Dr Lloyd M. Sachikonye - Assoc. Professor at the Institute of Developments Studies, University of Zimbabwe
    • J. (Josine) Stremmelaar (MA) - Manager Program support and Impact Unit at Oxfam Novib

    International Advisory Committee

    The IAC is responsible for

    • Assessing and ranking project proposals;
    • Advising the PC on funding of project proposals;
    • Assessing the quality of the project evaluation reports;
    • Advising the PC on the approval of the project evaluation reports.

    The IAC is composed of (international) researchers and –academic- practitioner experts on the research foci of the call. The IAC is installed by the PC.

    The members of the International Advisory Committee (first round) are:

    • Prof. emeritus Rietje van Dam-Mieras (technical chair) - Professor emeritus of Sustainable Development and Innovation of Education at Leiden University
    • Prof. Ahmed Balogun - Professor at the Department of Meteorology & Climate Science at Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria
    • Dr Harriet Birungi - Senior Associate & Kenya Country Director at Population Council
    • Dr Bahir Jama - Lead, Global Practice, Food Security Specialist, Islamic Development Bank
    • Director emeritus Henning Melber - Senior Advisor and Director emeritus Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation
    • Prof. Tammo Steenhuis - Professor at the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University
    • Jodie Thorpe - Research Fellow in the Business and Development Centre at the Institute of Development Studies

    The members of the International Advisory Committee (second round) are:

    • Dr P. van der Molen (technical chair) - Policy advisor knowledge transfer at the University of Twente
    • Prof. Roxana Barrantes - Professor at the Department of Economics at the Pontificia Universidad  Católica del Perú
    • Prof. med. Bente E. Moen - Professor, Director at Centre for International health and Global Challenges at University of Bergen
    • Nighat Dad - Founder and executive director of the Digital Rights Foundation
    • Dr Julia Hoffmann - Head of Studies at Amsterdam University College
    • Prof. emeritus Denis Hughes - Professor emeritus at Institute for Water Research at Rhodes University
    • Dr Aalok Khandekar - Assistant Professor of Anthropology/Sociology at Department of Liberal Arts, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad
    • Dr James Sumberg - Research Fellow and Leader of Rural Futures Cluster at Institute of Development Studies

    NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development is responsible for the day-to-day management of the call, including organising the assessment procedures, and for all (financial and other) administration with regard to awarded projects. NWO-WOTRO provides the secretariat of the PC and IAC.

Midterm meeting report - Joint SDG research intiative ‘Tackling Global Challenges’


Dr Nadine Herold - Joint SDG

Dr Nadine Herold - Joint SDG
Policy Officer

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