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 it is related to the identified SDG.

  • 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.

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.

  • Clear connection to the identified UN Sustainable Development Goal
  • Include a project description and/or research question, literature review, sources, methods, findings and conclusion
  • International dimension
  • Originality and creativity

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

  • 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 has no spelling errors or grammatical errors.
  • The content conveys an academic tone.

  • Background: explains central problem or impetus for project’s creation. This background informs the goal/thesis/hypothesis of project.
  • International focus: Makes a connection between local and global efforts as well as a direct connection to the identified UN Sustainable Development Goal.
  • Methodology: leads the audience through your process for solving the problem or working toward goal.
  • Optional Conclusions: Findings/accomplishments/progress with respect to the goal/hypothesis of the project.
  • Optional Recommendations: Critical look at the future of your work. Ambitious next steps?  Who/what groups should be involved?
  • Visuals: If pictures and graphs are utilized, they are labeled properly and serve 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.
  • Appears to have 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 and adds to the product, as well as easy to understand.

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.