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Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

We will optimise the University’s contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through our research and teaching…” (University Strategy 2018-23) Our University Strategy recognises the important contribution that our teaching activity can make to supporting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.  We not only strive to deliver high quality teaching that is accessible to all, but we also seek to ensure that all graduates have the skills and knowledge need to address sustainable development challenges.  

These commitments are to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) are outlined within our Environmental Sustainability Policy.  ESD targets within this Policy are monitored by the University Sustainability Management Group, which includes staff and student representatives and reports directly to University Executive.

We have a number of measures in place to deliver and support ESD at Northumbria.  For further guidance, please contact the Sustainability Manager.

Embedding ESD in Programme Design

All our programmes are designed against the Programme Framework for Northumbria Awards (PFNAs) which ensures that all modules equip students with our specified Graduate Attributes. These Attributes have been developed to include the skills and knowledge required by ESD including being ‘equipped to contribute positively to a diverse and global community’ and being ‘able to apply their disciplinary knowledge to complex problems... in order to identify appropriate solutions which are sustainable and justifiable'. For more information on the PFNAs and programme design, visit our PFNA webpages.

Education Quality Enhancement Fund Scheme (EQEF)

Our Education Quality Enhancement Fund Scheme runs annually and enables all staff to apply for up to £1,000 to undertake a project which advances innovation in learning and teaching to support the commitments made in our University Strategy, including our commitments to Education for Sustainable Development.
Past projects which have been awarded funding include establishing and running a Climate Change Think Tank in the Law School (this is now a University-wide scheme), designing am Environmental Chemistry Escape Room game, and the development of an Innovation Lab. Staff can access further details on the annual scheme here.

Sustainability Ambassadors & Student Training Module

There are many opportunities for students to advance their skills and knowledge for sustainability beyond their chosen programme. Our Sustainability Ambassadors Programme supports learning about the UN Sustainable Development Goals and putting this learning into practice. Information on this and other student opportunities can be found on our Student Sustainability Opportunities web pages.


Our Business School is a PRME Champion School (Principles for Responsible Management Education), acting as an exemplar of incorporating issues including ethics and sustainability in its education, knowledge transfer and business engagement activities. It champions this activity to other business schools and universities around the world to drive forward the ESD agenda.


If you have any questions or want to find out more about how you can help support ESD at Northumbria (whether you are a staff or student member), please contact the Sustainability Manager.

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