Call for Proposals - Round 1, 2020 

Linking the United Nations Global Goals to Accelerate Progress


UPDATE 27 April 2020


As indicated in our last update, we have now had the chance to take stock of developments, although as you will appreciate in the circumstances, the future is still far from clear. We have been encouraged to have received a number of expressions of interest under the current call, many of which are proposing to look at integrating the SDGs against the background of the current pandemic. Many thanks to those that have made submissions.

Given the current uncertainties, particularly about how and when current restrictions might be lifted and what impact this might have on project plans, we think it would be sensible to extend the current call, by two months. This will allow us to keep the situation under review and potential applicants more chance to plan. 

We therefore propose to keep the current call open until a new deadline for full applications of 24 July. Under these plans we would propose to hold a Governing Board and Programme Committee to consider applications in late August, announcing successful awards soon after.

As it is very likely that any lifting of restrictions will be on a phased basis we would encourage applicants to plan to carry out project activities at least in part on an online basis.


Thank you again for your patience.


UPDATE 25 March 2020


As with everyone else we are keeping our plans under review in the current circumstances. We recognise that attention is quite rightly focussed on other matters at the moment and it is difficult to develop proposals with partners when meetings are impossible. 

Our thoughts at the moment are to keep the current call for proposals open and to take stock immediately after the expressions of interest deadline on 24 April, before anyone has to invest too much effort in pulling together full applications. This will give us a better idea of what the potential interest is in carrying out projects and what the forecasts are for how long current arrangements will have to remain in place. 

It may well be that there is no real appetite to develop new projects until things are clearer. On the other hand, given that we will all be developing new skills in remote working, it may be that there are some ingenious ideas for carrying out knowledge exchange projects in ways that will also be more environmentally sustainable. 

Depending on how matters develop, options include continuing with the current timetable, extending the call deadline until the late summer or merging this call with the one planned for later in the year.

Thank you for your patience.


Charlie, Nicola and Lynne

Image result for un sustainable development goals


The Scottish Universities Insight Institute[1] (SUII) is a joint venture of seven Higher Education Institutions. SUII projects aim to stimulate in-depth knowledge exchange through workshops, seminars, and other activities over a period of around six months. SUII provides both financial and logistical support for events.

This is the second call related to accelerating progress towards the UN’s Global Goals - this call focuses on making linkages between the goals to increase the effectiveness of policy and practice in contributing to achieving the goals.


The Call

The United Nations Global Sustainable Development Goals were supported by 193 signatories at the General Assembly of the UN in September 2015.  They form part of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development[2]. The goals are aimed at mobilizing efforts to end all forms of poverty, fighting inequalities and tackling climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind”[3] They are summarised as being all about “people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership”.


Scotland was one of the first countries to commit to the goals in 2015 and they are incorporated into the National Performance Framework[4]. "The UN Global Goals offer a vision of the world that I believe people in Scotland share. The national and international dimensions to poverty and inequality are interlinked. Scotland cannot act with credibility overseas, if we are blind to inequality here at home. And our ambitions for a fairer Scotland are undermined, without global action to tackle poverty, promote prosperity and to tackle climate change." - First Minister Nicola Sturgeon - November 2015


This call for proposals seeks applications for projects that will accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda in Scotland and the wider world by considering the linkages between the goals. The importance of the interactions between goals was emphasised in The Future is Now’ - the UN’s Global Sustainable Report for 2019 published at the end of last year:

“Advancing the 2030 Agenda must involve an urgent and intentional transformation of socio-environmental-economic systems …Achieving that transformation… means carefully taking into account the interactions between Goals”

UN Global Goals synergies and trade offs


The report assessed the current knowledge about the interactions between goals (see section 1.1.3) looking at both synergies and trade-offs (summarised in the chart below) and observed that “these systemic interactions offer already identified and sometimes unexpected solutions for seemingly insurmountable problems”. The report acknowledges that in some areas understanding of possible interactions is limited.

The report also emphasised the importance of the type of collaboration that SUII is seeking to support:


“The success of the 2030 Agenda depends on the cooperation of governments, institutions, agencies, the private sector and civil society across different sectors, locations, borders and levels.”


Proposals are sought for projects involving a range of stakeholders that will consider how best to take advantage of potential synergies between the Global Goals while addressing possible trade-offs.




Applications are invited from teams whose composition reflects the multi-discipline and multi-sector remit of the Institute. Applicants must include members from at least two SUII partner universities. Programme teams should include academics and policy makers and practitioners, ideally some non-academic partners should be involved in the development phase of a proposal to help ensure it is demand led. SUII programmes also offer the opportunity to draw on international expertise.