Impact & Opinions | Tionchar & Tuairimí

Focal ón Uachtarán
Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh
President, University of Galway
SDG Champion

Focal ón Uachtarán

19 December 23
 | 7 MINS

A chairde, 


At the turn of the year, as we pause to reflect on the world around us, I am pleased to share with you our latest edition of Cois Coiribe magazine, which this time has sustainability as its focus: caomhnú comhshaoil agus caomhnú comhluadair.  

Sustainability is a very fitting theme given the urgency of the climate and biodiversity crises we face together. Within this Cois Coiribe you will see some of our own work here in Galway to advance a more sustainable planet through our teaching, our research and our work on campus and in the community. Tá an abhann faoi lán srutha. 

In 2023, we were honoured to be designated as SDG Champion by the Government of Ireland in recognition of our collective effort. The UN SDGs – or Sustainable Development Goals – comprise 17 areas of action that the world must advance to put our society and planet on a more sustainable path forward. They include social issues like poverty, health and inequality, as well as environmental issues like climate change, clean water and life on land.  

Our university community has been advancing research and action across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals and, in recognition of the extraordinary progress we are making together, this year Times Higher Education ranked us first in Ireland and in the Top 50 in the world for our impact on the SDGs. 

Our researchers are recognised globally for their leadership in a broad range of sustainability issues – from designing the next generation of medical devices to exploring the ocean for solutions to our climate and biodiversity crises.  

Our teaching is developing the next generation of scientists, policymakers, activists, lawyers and entrepreneurs who will take on the world’s most pressing challenges in their future careers. 

Our campus team is using solar panels, geothermal energy, building retrofitting, rainwater harvesting, recycling, planting and green transport initiatives to reduce our impact on the environment and cut our greenhouse gas emissions.  

Our students continue to challenge us to do more. They inspire us through their actions and creativity to secure a more sustainable future for those to come.  

If you would like to discover real-world examples of how our staff and students are making an impact, I invite you to walk our new SDG Trail through campus. 

Of course, we cannot rest on our laurels and simply see gaining plaudits as our aim. Our efforts must continue and intensify in the years ahead. We are open to being challenged to do more, as we must do more in our society, for our society. 

In 2024, we will continue to use our status as SDG Champion to highlight the breadth of activities our staff and students are undertaking to advance sustainable solutions and to share our learnings with others.  

From January 2024, our first Director of Sustainability will lead an expanding Sustainability Office, which will soon include a Sustainability Accountant, recognising the new limited resource as carbon as well as currency, and two academic posts who will help to embed sustainability across our curriculum. 

As a university committed to serving the public good, we all have a part to play in tackling climate change and preserving our precious biodiversity for generations to come. We hope that within the stories in this edition of Cois Coiribe, you will find new ideas, encouragement and hope to inspire you in the year ahead.

Le gach dea-ghuí don bhliain atá romhainn.



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