Universities and research institutions


Universities and scientific research influence all areas of society and are therefore central to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Universities and research institutions are drivers of economic and social development. They train experts and managers who put their higher qualifications to good use by making companies more productive and more innovative. The more relevant university courses are to actual practice and the labour market, the better graduates’ prospects of finding employment.

Universities and scientific institutions facilitate the transfer of technology and innovations, thus making a major contribution to resolving global and local issues that will shape the future. They influence good governance and promote social change, diversity, critical thinking and freedom of opinion. Applied research addresses key development topics, supports reforms and provides a basis for well-founded policy advice.

Universities’ and research institutions’ role within society means that they make a decisive contribution to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 4 calls for inclusive and equitable quality education.

However, universities also make an important contribution to sustainable and inclusive economic growth and the promotion of business activity. They support social development and entrepreneurial responsibility for decent work (SDG 8). Universities and research institutions also play a central role in achieving SDG 17, which calls for global partnerships to facilitate achievement of the SDGs. These partnerships are intended to give emerging and developing countries access to technology and scientific findings. The recipe for success lies in the common generation and sharing of knowledge.

Universities’ success and efficacy depend on a large number of factors such as general social, political and regional conditions, the quality of research, teaching and university management, and international networking and cooperation with private enterprises and civil society.

Universities also have an important role to play in the context of displacement and migration. Access to university education offers young refugees prospects for the future and supports their social integration. Such opportunities for success and integration promote the stability of society as a whole.

GIZ’s projects strengthen the institutional development of universities and research facilities. GIZ increases the relevance, quality and practical orientation of degree courses and also fosters international contacts and university participation in knowledge networks with business and civil society. Particular focus in this context is placed on the practical relevance of university courses, as a prerequisite for meeting demand for experts and managers. Practically relevant higher education and applied research create the conditions required for sustainable reforms in many areas of society, politics and business. University education and research are therefore both an objective and an instrument of sustainable development.