Enabling Sustainability through Science
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on September 25, 2015. The Agenda consists of 17 distinct but interlocking Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which balance three core dimensions of development: the economic, the social and the environmental. Never before have world leaders pledged common action across such a broad and universal policy agenda. At the New York Academy of Sciences, we are committed to supporting this ambitious global effort to build a more sustainable planet by 2030.
With the encouragement of the UN, in 2016 the Academy kick-started a collaborative effort by the scientific and technical community to address the SDGs at The Summit on Science Enablement for the Sustainable Development Goals. The Summit convened thought leaders across the private sector, academia, and non-governmental organizations, to identify proof-of-concept projects and key deliverables linked to the 2030 Agenda. Building on this momentum, the Academy convened a second Summit in late 2017, at which leading organizations shared best practices and actionable examples from their work toward the SDGs. Today, the Academy is tackling the SDG’s across multiple fronts, including:
Convening multi-stakeholder summits and working groups to forge partnerships, integrate approaches, and bring the full potential of science and technology together for collective impact;
Challenging students and scientists around the globe to apply their innovative skills to find solutions to specific goals, such as good health and well-being, sustainable consumption, clean water, and more;
Disseminating valuable findings through Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences and The New York Academy of Sciences Magazine;
Reaching underserved and under-represented populations of children across the globe with quality STEM education opportunities through the Global STEM Alliance; and
Advancing research and policy to address food insecurity, food safety and malnutrition through the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science.
To learn more about how Academy activities map to specific Sustainable Development Goals, visit our SDG Programs tab.
You Can Be Part of the Solution
The effort to build a more sustainable planet by 2030 begins with you! Here are a few ways you can get involved:
Academy Programs and Initiatives in Support of the Goals
From our groundbreaking symposia to our global STEM education efforts, Academy programs are advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on multiple fronts. Our Innovation Challenges—designed to tap into the collective brainpower of the World’s Smartest Network®—are each aligned to one or more of the SDGs, while ongoing programs have focused on those goals that are most core to our mission and areas of expertise.
The Sackler Institute is dedicated to advancing nutrition science research and knowledge, mobilizing communities and translating this work into the field. Special focus is given to vulnerable populations including young children, adolescents and the elderly. Food safety aspects, including research on antibiotic resistance from animal production, are pursued through partnerships following a OneHealth perspective.
Since its founding in 1817 at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Lower Manhattan, the Academy has maintained a strong focus on the Life Sciences. Today, our Frontiers of Science program presents dozens of conferences, webinars and symposia focused on cutting-edge biomedical research and its implications for public health, and The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science develops and advances science-based solutions to pressing challenges in the field of nutrition.
Through its Global STEM Alliance (GSA), the Academy is bringing quality STEM education programs to young minds around the world – no matter their gender, ethnicity, or economic status. Nurturing all stages of learning through in-person and virtual programming, the Academy and its GSA partners are increasing the number and diversity of students in the STEM pipeline.
With the goal of retaining more of the world’s most underrepresented and untapped talent pool – women – in the STEM pipeline, the GSA’s 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures program offers girls around the world the opportunity to work with a female STEM mentor, connect with a supportive global community, and tap into 21st-century skills training for workforce readiness. Through its Science Alliance program, the Academy also offers programming to help early career scientists and engineers identify and address the many challenges faced by Women in STEM.
Through programs like the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists and the Takeda-sponsored Innovators in Science Award, we are celebrating the achievements of extraordinary scientists and engineers working to transform industry, infrastructure, and society as a whole. In addition, the Academy’s Policy Innovation and Transformation team supports innovation-acceleration projects like our partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to promote Proof of Concept Centers.
The Academy supports Goals 11 and 13, Sustainable Cities and Communities and Climate Action, through its ongoing publication of the proceedings of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, as well as through the recent Future Buildings and Cities Challenge sponsored by United Technologies. We are also working to disseminate the latest findings, and improve public understanding of these complex issues. Recent dissemination efforts include the following:
The Academy’s programming on responsible consumption and production ranges from an invitation-only workshop focused on driving change in the Fashion Industry resulting in a detailed action-oriented report, to a series of Innovation Challenges which were tackled by student participants of The Junior Academy. Examples include:
Convening and mobilizing communities of experts and stakeholders is an integral part of the mission of the New York Academy of Sciences. As such, the Academy’s work naturally aligns with Goal 17. Starting with the 2016 Summit on Science Enablement for the Sustainable Development Goals, the Academy continues to bridge the private sector, research community, and government to build partnerships for collective action. As mentioned above, we also work with sponsors and partners on an ongoing basis to design and run SDG-aligned Innovation Challenges that engage our global network of scientists, engineers, and problem-solvers.