Sustainable Development Goals

Engaging with UN Sustainable Development Goals

The SDG framework provides an essential perspective for inherently global issues and is part of a broader, international approach to learning that challenges and empowers students, and creates new skills, values, and attitudes. In December 2018, IU became a founding member of the U.S. chapter of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). This alliance of U.S. universities seeks to make progress toward achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Email for more information or join the mailing list to get involved.

IU's UN SDG Research Competition

UN Sustainable Development Goal 16

Deadline to enter: April 7

Find out what this goal means, why it matters, and how we can help to improve conditions for a life of dignity for all.

Enter the competition

With the support of faculty mentors, student researchers can present their work in four mediums, choosing the best format to clearly communicate how their research is related to SDG 16.

  • Research poster
  • Short video
  • Policy brief presentation
  • Podcast

This is an opportunity to share your research with a broader audience, receive feedback from the judges, and network with colleagues around the world.

Competition details

  • Open to all undergraduate and graduate students
  • All submissions must identify an IU faculty mentor
  • Entries are limited to one submission per student
  • Must rely on original research conducted by the student and faculty mentor
  • Submission deadline: Friday, April 7, 11:59 pm EST
  • Winners will be announced by April 14 and will present at the Global Partners Research Forum on April 28.

While historically IU’s UN SDG Research Competition has only accepted research posters as submissions, this year the options have greatly expanded. Researchers can present their information in three additional formats as long as the information is well-communicated and clearly related to the identified SDG.

Research poster

  • Must not exceed one page
  • Dimensions: 768 x 512 pixels
  • Submit as a .PNG or .JPEG file type
  • Image Quality: 150 dpi or less
  • Maximum file size is 2 GB
  • Must align with best practices for research posters (learn more)
  • Should be well organized with headings and a clear structure
  • Should include visual aids

Short video

  • Must not exceed a running time of 10 minutes
  • Submit as a link to a video (YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo)
  • Captions are required

Policy brief presentation

  • Must not exceed a running time of 10 minutes
  • Create a slide deck presentation of your policy brief and submit a video recording of the presentation
  • Submit as a link to a video (YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo)
  • Captions are required


  • Must not exceed a running time of 10 minutes
  • Submit as a link to a video (YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo)
  • Captions are required

To what extent does the research submission:

  • Demonstrate a clear connection to the identified UN Sustainable Development Goal
  • Include a clear and high-quality project description and/or research question, literature review with reliable sources, methods, findings, and conclusion
  • Include an international dimension
  • Show originality and creativity
  • Meet the basic requirements outlined below

  • Title of project must be displayed
  • Student and faculty mentor names must be included in design
  • All submissions must include a 300-word-maximum abstract
  • The product must have no spelling errors or grammatical errors
  • The content must convey an academic tone

The research submission must include the following:

  • Background: The author explains the central problem or impetus for research project. This background informs the goal/thesis/hypothesis of the project.
  • International Focus: The project has a clear connection to the international and/or global and makes a direct connection to the identified UN Sustainable Development Goal.
  • Methodology: The project details the research process undertaken to complete the project.
  • Discussion: The author should present their findings and/or recommendations with respect to the goal/hypothesis of the project.
  • Optional Recommendations: The author may provide recommendations for next steps or further research, based on this research.
  • Visuals: If pictures and graphs are utilized, they should be labeled properly and serve a clear purpose in explaining content.
  • Academic Integrity: References are cited. No copyrighted materials are permitted without written permission from the copyright holder.

• Any text used is easily readable.
• The final project has a stylistic theme and is aesthetically pleasing
• Any pictures used are of high resolution and do not appear pixilated
• Graphics are used when applicable to visually display data
• Professional appearance is maintained throughout the product
• Any audio utilized is non-distracting, easy to understand, and adds to the product

How it works

Step 1: Find an IU faculty member who can mentor you and help with your research project.
Step 2: Make an international connection between your research and the identified SDG.
Step 3: Get creative! Choose the best medium to present your findings and submit by the deadline.