The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are the plan to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, energy crises, water and food shortage, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. Khalifa University is committed to supporting the implementation of the SDGs at national and global scales. And thus the University is eager to leverage its resources to implement the SDGs at national and international levels. This web page underlines the ways Khalifa University’s different departments have contributed to the UN’s SDGs through ground breaking research projects and impactful publications.
The KU-SDG Ambassador Program is a co-curricular program which aims to build upon KU’s membership into the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and introduce the UN-SDGs to our students; equipping them with the knowledge to contribute towards giving back to the community . This program will include a series of workshops on the topics of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Leadership with a focus on sustainability.
Khalifa University of Science and Technology promotes health and well-being through its management, support services, information networks and health promotions, including, but not limited to, alcohol awareness, diet, exercise, and self-management. It seeks to prevent, so far as is practicable, those work place circumstances detrimental to mental health and well-being.
Henceforth, KU has issued a policy EHS 7510 Smoke-Free Environment as part of it’s commitment to reduce the exposure of faculty, staff, students, visitors and contractors to environmental tobacco smoke whilst on university premises or at university workplaces. The sale of tobacco is prohibited on all campuses from retail outlets and vending machines. Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are prohibited in the university environment. Smoking of any substance is restricted to designated areas of KU campuses only.
Pursuing it’s aim to ensure good health and well being of it’s students, faculty and staff, KU has collaborated with a number of local and global bodies, some of which are mentioned below:
KU Research Centers Contributing to SDG #3:
From 2016-2021, researchers and faculty from KU have issued 299 publications relevant to SDG #3, Good Health and Well-Being.
Khalifa University of Science and Technology actualizes this commitment to gender parity; this is reflected in its non-discrimination policies and practices, as well as in its consistent women majority enrollment and graduation numbers.
Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KU) is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It does not discriminate based on an individual’s gender, ethnicity, religion, disabilities or special needs.
To facilitate its women, KU offers childcare off-campus to students, faculty and staff at the Abu Dhabi branch of Chubby Cheeks Nursery while awaiting the renovations of the on-campus childcare facilities to be completed (2023). The on campus facilities were operated by Chubby Cheeks Nursery prior to the pandemic.
Because Khalifa University is a governmental institution, it adheres to all governmental policies related to non-discrimination and gender parity. Khalifa University of Science and Technology graduation rate patterns consistently show high levels of gender parity (2019 = 61% female graduates; 2020 = 60% female graduates); this is particularly notable when compared to the 2019 female tertiary STEM education graduate average of 13% in OECD countries. https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/education-at-a-glance_19991487
All access schemes, including mentoring and scholarships, are offered equally at Khalifa University to men and women alike.
Highlights of KU Female Achievements & Activities:
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) hosted a live webcast session in partnership with Khalifa University to discuss key initiatives to promote gender equality and female entrepreneurship. Khalifa University’s Webinar on ‘Fostering Gender Equality and Entrepreneurship’ in collaboration with ADGM & U.S. Embassy.
Projects and Publications by KU Researchers on Gender Equality:
The Handbook of Research on Discrimination, Gender Disparity, and Safety Risks in Journalism: https://www.igi-global.com/book/handbook-research-discrimination-gender-disparity/256634
The Handbook of Research on Discrimination, Gender Disparity, and Safety Risks in Journalism is a critical reference book that highlights equal rights in journalism to ensure the safety of women and men. The book investigates the level and nature of threats, both online and offline, faced by journalists as well as gender discrimination in journalism. Best practices and examples that can promote a safe working environment and gender equality in journalism are also presented. Highlighting important themes such as online harassment, sexism, and gender-based violence, this book is ideal for journalists, reporters, media organizations, professionals, researchers, academicians, and students working or studying in the fields of journalism, media and communications, human rights, and women’s studies.
From 2016-2021, researchers and faculty from KU have issued 9 publications relevant to SDG #5, Gender Equality.
KU Research Centers Contributing to SDG #6:
Khalifa University is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all staff, visitors, contractors, and students. To meet this commitment, the University shall endeavor to control any risk to workplace health and safety by identifying potential hazards, assessing the risk of the hazard, and implementing corrective measures which aim to control hazards at their source.
In 2020, a new policy “KU Energy and Water Management” has been developed and submitted officially for approval. The development of this policy is in line with KU EHS’s initiative to acquire ISO 50001 Energy management in the near future. Currently, KU has ISO50001 and ISO 140001 certifications.
This Energy review of KU analyzes energy performance based on data and other information, leading to identification of SEUs and opportunities for energy performance improvement.
Currently, all our energy source comes from either ADDC/LPG / gasoline (used for transportation). Low-carbon energy such as wind, solar, hydro or nuclear power is not currently used in KU and hence we don’t have any specific mechanism to monitor low-carbon energy usage, as specified in ADDC’s revised strategy.
KU is working to develop major sustainable energy proposal involving local industry and government to develop and deploy renewable energy production, storage, and distribution and utilization technologies, towards future 100% renewable integration.
The University is also providing renewable energy and energy-efficient technology advices to major local industry such as ADNOC and Emirate Steels, including proposing renewable energy and energy-efficient joint projects.
Following are some of the on-going initiatives of KU:
KU’s Research Institutes and Research Centers Contributing to SDG7:
The Petroleum Institute University and Research Center (PI), as it was initially known, was established in 2001 to support the oil and gas industry of Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE. To achieve that goal, it developed and offered undergraduate and graduate engineering and research programs in areas of significance to the oil, gas and broader energy industries. In February 2017, PI merged with the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MI), and the Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (KUSTAR). AT KU, PI continues to play a critical role in the research structure as a multidisciplinary research unit focused primarily on upstream and downstream hydrocarbon exploration and production. Its mission is to conduct applied and fundamental research and development of the key technologies required to maintain the UAE’s position at the forefront of innovation in the oil and gas industry.
Through Petroleum Institute, Khalifa University is positioning sustainable hydrocarbon exploration and production as a central focus of its integrated academic and research activities, which it is further developing by channeling the broad expertise of its faculty. PI connects fundamental research with practical application through its partnership with local and international organizations, including ADNOC. The Petroleum Institute is located at KU’s Sas Al Nakhl Campus.
KU’s Advanced Power and Energy Center (APEC) aims to craft the future of electric energy systems allowing seamless and economical operation of high capacity renewable and clean energy resources while supporting hybrid AC/DC grids, and providing optimal architecture for smart grid and transportation electrification.
The Research and Innovation Center on CO2 and H2 (known as the RICH Center) is established to address these challenges, contributing to the launch of clean, sustainable energy, from a scientific and technical perspective, building upon complementary expertise of researchers at Khalifa University and supported by highly reputed local and international companies and organizations. The center aims to become a world-leading center of excellence in the use of combined modeling-experimental approaches for research and development of novel materials and technologies for CO2 capture and utilization as well as H2 production, storage and distribution. It also aims to engage in cutting-edge research, development, technology transfer and awareness in CO2 and H2, and sharing this expertise from the UAE to the rest of the world, by fostering innovation and multidisciplinary collaborations and knowledge exchange. Such activity would serve the UAE and the world in the Mission Innovation challenges defined by the Paris agreement, addressing industrial needs, educating highly skilled scientists and engineers, and aiding the society in the search for clean energy and sustainable products.
Khalifa University’s Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC) is dedicated to addressing national and regional concerns surrounding biofuels and the usage of freshwater. The Consortium aims to accelerate the commercialization of biofuels produced locally with salt tolerant biomass grown on arid land and using seawater. The SBRC focuses on the following research areas: Biomass Feedstock Development, System Integration and Optimization, Bioenergy Conversion and Techno-Economic & Environmental Assessment.
The SEAS platform is an integrated process that utilizes marginal resources to create an industrial ecology to provide biomaterials and bioenergy in line with the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Using engineered ecosystems approach to technology development, all subsystems within the SEAS concept aim to maximize upcycling and to minimize impacts, trying to account for all externalities to meet its triple-bottom-line (social, economic and environmental).
From 2016-2021, researchers and faculty from KU have issued 1,256 publications relevant to SDG #7, Affordable and Clean Energy.
Khalifa University and its employees abide by its comprehensive HR Policy Manual and Code of Ethics that establish working at the highest international standards pursuing decent and professional work environment with economic growth for the University as well as for its faculty and staff. The code also ensures avoidance of any crimes such as forced labor, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labor.
Khalifa University, being a Government institution, is fully compliant with the requirements of Federals laws with regards to human trafficking as well as child labor. It, being a Government institution, is fully compliant with the requirements of Federals laws with regards rights of staff and faculty.
KU recognizes that employee engagement and morale is higher in organizations where employees feel secure in raising real or perceived grievances and where discipline is managed in an open and corrective manner. KU aims to provide a fair, equitable and productive work environment for all its employees that includes a variety of means by which employee grievances are brought to consideration and subsequent resolution in a timely manner.
It pays competitive salaries in accordance with two formal separate salary scales, one for administration staff and one for faculty, with a view to providing appropriate ranges for the grade structure.
KU is an equal opportunity employer. It does not discriminate based on race or gender. It establishes a job evaluation process that promotes consistent application and internal equity. The university promotes compensation strategies which, combined with benefits and perquisites, optimize recruitment, performance and retention of high caliber, competent and satisfied employees irrespective of their gender, religion, race or ethnicity. From 2016-2021, researchers and faculty from KU have issued 111 publications relevant to SDG #8, Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Khalifa University through its sustainable investment policy, pursues socially responsible investing or ESG investing, strongly considers environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors before contributing money and resources to a particular company or venture.
Innovation: Technology & Sustainability
At KU, Masdar Institute continues to play a critical role in the research structure and culture of the university, serving as an interdisciplinary research unit focused on long-term strategic priorities, which engages a critical mass of faculty. KU’s sustainability-focused research centers are primarily grouped under the Masdar Institute. As a research institute, MI also connects fundamental research with practical application through its partnership with local and international organizations, like the major renewable energy and sustainable urban development leader Masdar.
The UAE is developing into an icon for innovation and knowledge-based economic development in an environment where public and private sectors form effective partnerships. Masdar Institute is well positioned to support these UAE efforts in the areas of sustainable energy and the environment. As the UAE’s premier cross-disciplinary institution for clean energy, water and the environment, Masdar Institute continues to seek the most efﬁcient and cost-effective solutions for the UAE. We will focus on further developing areas of strength in the new decade, while at the same time supporting innovative ideas where we can achieve the greatest impact. Masdar Institute will lead in a new decade of great opportunities driven by new ways of producing, storing and utilizing energy, both in UAE and around the world.
Innovation: Robotics, ICTs, Data Analytics & Cyber-security
Khalifa University’s Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute was established in July 2019 to bring all the university’s research in robotics, artificial intelligence, data science, next-gen networks, semiconductor technologies and cybersecurity under a single umbrella.
Its mission is to conduct applied and fundamental research and development of the key technologies required to bring the UAE significantly closer to reaching its goal of becoming a global hub for Artificial Intelligence innovation.
Through its Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute, Khalifa University is positioning robotics and Artificial Intelligence as a central focus of its integrated academic and research activities, which it is further developing by channeling the broad expertise of its faculty.
Under its three main research thrusts – Robotics, Cyber-Physical Systems, and Hardware – the Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute is pioneering use-inspired projects with the aim to provide commercial value locally and globally. By leveraging its robust expertise in ICT, data analytics and robotics research, and partnering with the region’s leading industry experts in the field, the Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute is set to develop the innovative technologies needed to achieve the UAE’s AI transformation goals.
Industry area: Space Technology & Innovation
Industry area: Nuclear technology
Industry area: Aerospace technology
Innovation areas: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and cyber-physics
Innovation area: Robotics
Industry area: Digital Manufacturing
Industry area: Supply Chain and Management
Industry area: Healthcare
Industry area: AI and News Media Industry
From 2016-2021, researchers and faculty from KU have issued 453 publications relevant to SDG #9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.
KU has strict anti-discrimination / anti harassments policies for both students as well as for staff / faculty members where everyone has a right to equal treatment by the university and to be free from discrimination based on race, color, origin, religion, gender or special needs.
Publications by KU Researchers that Contribute to SDG #10
Media Discourses and Representation of Marginalized Communities in Multicultural Societies: https://think.taylorandfrancis.com/special_issues/media-discourse/
Name: Dr. Sadia Jamil
Department: Humanities & Social Sciences
Media discourses and Marginalized Communities in Multicultural Societies is Journalism Practice’s special edition, being edited by Dr. Sadia Jamil (Khalifa University, UAE), Associate Professor Jessica Retis (University of Arizona, US) and Dr. Paul Murschetz (Austrian Academy of Sciences & University of Digital Sciences, Berlin), with a purpose to present impactful studies offering insights into the news media’s role in jeopardizing the representation of minority/or marginalized groups, as well as to address their potential role to combat discrimination against members of marginalized groups such as minority racial and ethnic communities, drug users and drug addicts, sex workers, LGBT persons, and people living with HIV. The term media discourses do not merely imply the manner in which facts or reality is represented in the electronic and printed media, relatively the manner in which reality is shaped by the journalists and media professionals. Thus, one of the key contributions of this special edition is to underline the power and influence of media discourses to not only present, but rather shape social practices.
Jamil, Sadia. (2020). A widening digital divide and its implications for democracy and social inequalities in Pakistan. In Massimo Ragnedda and Anna Gladkova (Eds), Digital Inequalities in the Global South. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 59-78.
KU Research Centers Contributing to SDG #10:
Name: Dr. Sadia Jamil
Department: Humanities & Social Sciences
Theme: Technology, Communities & Urban Life
Publication: Jamil, Sadia. (2020). Karachi’s Urbanization: Challenges and prospects for a thriving digital culture in urban life. In Bhakti More (Ed.), Emergent Technologies: New Media & Urban Life. Champaign, IL: Common Grounds Networks, pp. 103-117.
Urban population in South Asia is growing at a very rapid pace and is expected to rise by 250 million by 2030, as per World Bank latest estimates. This pace of urbanization provides South Asian countries with the potential to change their developing economies to be part of the developed nations’ group regarding both prosperity and livability. However, the region continues to struggle to make the most of the urbanization-led opportunities. One major reason is that its urbanization has been messy and hidden. Messy urbanization is reflected in the widespread existence of slums and sprawl, and in the lack of basic infrastructure and amenities for the public. With the advent of technology, it is widely opined that technology can help to resolve urbanization-related issues and can help South Asian countries to transform its major cities into smart cities, or at least a better place to live for its urban dwellers. Perhaps this is not the case for Karachi, which is the gateway of Asia and the economic hub of Pakistan. The city’s urbanization is both rapid and messy, and it is not known to what extent the city’s residents have benefited from the ICT development to cope with urban life challenges and their social interaction. Therefore, drawing on the theory of technological determinism, this study aims to explore major challenges and problems relating to the growth of digital culture in Karachi, the biggest urban city and economic hub of Pakistan. This study also addresses how and to what extent the proliferation of ICT infrastructure has transformed the public’s lifestyle and patterns of urban social interactions among the city’s dwellers.
Research area: Salt-tolerant and arid land biomass
A common downside of current generation fuel crops is their competition for agricultural resources (arable land, irrigation freshwater, fertilizers) with food crops, therefore economically impacting the agricultural landscape worldwide. Socio-economic impacts of conventional fuel crops are particularly felt on at-risk or marginalized communities, where this resource competition between fuel and food crops leads to a direct increase in prices of traditional dietary staples. Potential environmental impacts due to indirect land-use change and intensive energy requirements may also mean that these biofuel feedstocks are not truly sustainable. By basing the fuel crop production on halophytes, the SEAS platform aims to completely avoid this issue, which uses non-arable land for agricultural purposes. In addition, it can enable sustainable agroforestry practices in arid, biomass-poor regions: given the existing lack of suitable crops and biomass sources in desert arid regions, a platform such as SEAS will unlock this biomass industry worldwide in some of the highest solar energy potential regions, that are hamstrung by lack of access to freshwater resources.
The UAE has engaged in the fight against climate change and listed this issue amongst its priority targets to maintain the country’s sustainability and growth.
KU has been a strategic partner with Federal and Abu Dhabi Governments to research on the climate change within the country and in the region.
There have been various research projects carried out by KU in relation to the change in temperatures and rainfall shortages:
KU has contributed at various forums to enhance awareness of climate change and its impacts. These include papers on clean air, geological climate, and more:
Name: Dr. Sadia Jamil
Department: Humanities & Social Sciences
Details of academic project/publication:
Jamil, Sadia., Ramon Tuazon., & Therese S. Torres (2022). Environmental Journalism in the Global South. London: Palgrave MacMillan (forthcoming, Early 2022).
Environmental issues continue to grow in scope day-by-day, indicating the timely need to address the pressing areas of concern, such as: global warming; climate change; food and public’s health safety; shortage of food; overpopulation; water, land, soil and air pollution; increased carbon footprints; deforestation; national disasters (e.g. earthquakes, floods, droughts etc). These issues go beyond the realm of science into complex arenas of politics, economics, and health. As environmental concerns grow, the need for a well-informed public becomes more critical (Jamil, 2020). By now, we know that the public’s opinion and perceptions about environmental issues are shaped by many sources including government and non-government organizations, political debates and documentaries. Among the important sources of information about environment have been journalists and the news media. A major challenge is how to convey complex concepts and impart a sense of the urgency of these challenges in a way that engages the reader. In the past two decades, environmental journalism has evolved to serve this purpose and has always represented an important part of people’s perceptions of the world. Over time, people have become more and more interested and concerned about the things going on around them in their environment. This increased public’s awareness has directly translated to an increased need for environmental journalism studies, programs, and news. As more information about how things impact people, and the globe, comes to light, the interest in, and importance of environmental journalism increases accordingly. Much of the work on environmental journalism has been done by the Western scholars (Sachsman and Valenti, 2020; Valenti, 2017; Rogener and Wormer, 2017; Ale, 2015; Bodker and Neverly, 2014; Bodker, 2012; Carthew et al., 2012; Wyss, 2010; Frome, 1998), and limited attention has been paid in the global South to reflect upon different aspects of environmental journalism (Acharya and Noronha, 2010). Holistic studies of environmental journalism by the researchers in the global South is overdue. Thus, this edited volume welcome contributions from scholars in the Global South to cover the following key areas:
Publications and Activities by KU Researchers that Contribute to SDG #16:
Handbook of Research on Combating Threats to Media Freedom and Journalist Safety: https://www.igi-global.com/book/handbook-research-combating-threats-media/232292
Name: Dr. Sadia Jamil
Department: Humanities & Social Sciences
Details of academic project/publication:
The Handbook of Research on Combating Threats to Media Freedom and Journalist Safety is an essential reference source that evaluates how diverse threats impact on journalists’ wellbeing, their right to freedom of expression, and overall media freedoms in various contexts and assesses inadequacies in national security policies, planning, and coordination relating to the safety of journalists in different countries. Featuring research on topics such as freedom of the press, professional journalism, and media security, this book is ideally designed for journalists, news writers, editors, columnists, press, broadcasters, newscasters, government officials, lawmakers, diplomats, international relations officers, law enforcement, industry professionals, academicians, researchers, and students.
Event organizers: The Network for Freedom of Expression against Violence to Communicators (Mexico), the Xochimilco Metropolitan Autonomous University and the Ibero-American University
Session: Labor and digital violence against women journalists in times of crisis: Speaker, Dr. Sadia Jamil https://forodesafiosperiodistas.net/participantes/#page-content
Panel: Digital safety and protection of journalists in the Global South (Chair/organizer, Dr. Sadia Jamil)
Safety risks and Discrimination faced by female journalists
Speaker: Dr. Sadia Jamil
KU Research Centers that Contribute to SDG #17:
Two projects linked to Smart Transportation (SDG 9) and Smart Healthcare (SDG 3) have commenced under the Joint Research Center August 2019. Following the official launch of the KU-KAIST Joint Research Center at KU’s Main Campus in April 2019, the KAIST-KU JRC at the KAIST Daejeon campus was also launched in July 2019. This is the second phase of collaboration following the partnership agreement that was signed in 2010 between the two institutions, which aimed to provide the best science and technology education as well as develop nuclear energy in the UAE