SDG Report | November 2022

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Sustainability @ the University of Haifa 

Conscientious Research – Meaningful Education

The University of Haifa is a research-intensive university in the north of Israel and the most pluralistic institution of higher education in the country. A preeminent example of a mixed city, Haifa is home to Jews, Muslims, Christians, Baha’I, and Druze. Founded in 1963, it received full accreditation in 1972, and today offers all degrees, undergraduate and graduate, in seven faculties: Education, Humanities, Law, Social Sciences, Social Welfare and Health Sciences, Natural Sciences and Marine Sciences.

First in higher education in Israel to place the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as its roadmap, the faculty and administration continue to extend the institution’s commitment to human, societal, and environmental well-being. The geographic location affords the campus body a unique blend of educational and scientific opportunities within the Carmel mountaintop natural reserve, urban scape of downtown Haifa, and along the Mediterranean shore.

This past year, the University launched 3 multi-disciplinary hubs focusing on inequalities; brain and behavior; and climate and the environment. The hubs will promote research, training, and policy that relate to the profound complexities of sustainable development.

To orchestrate the advancement of university sustainability efforts, the Division of Innovation and Sustainability was established, fostering cross-organizational communication, decision-making, and collaborative implementation of the University’s Sustainability Plan.  In coordination with academic units, administration, operational divisions, and student organizations, the division ventures to integrate sustainability across research, teaching, public engagement, and onsite operations.

Over the past year, the University undertook the following notable, cross-organizational initiatives:

  • established the Sustainability Council, creating multi-stakeholder teams of administrative staff, researchers and students, which work to address issues related to onsite operations (transportation, waste, renewable energy, and green construction);
  • stimulated sustainability-focused research by seed-funding 18 research projects;
  • promoted sustainability-related learning by funding the development of 13 new/redesigned courses within existing academic programs, as well as a 6-credit Sustainability and Environment cluster that meets undergraduate general studies requirements;
  • encouraged public engagement by supporting faculty and student ‘Impact Projects,’ such as the Age Friendly University program (SDG 10), the Climate Crisis Hackathon (SDG 13), and the Coastal Trail (SDG 15);
  • accelerated University efforts toward carbon neutrality through various initiatives, including reducing public transport emissions with the new 4 Km cable car system, calculating carbon footprint (Scope 1, Scope 2, Scope 3), and new pilots aimed at greening campus conferences and integrating a more comprehensive dorm recycling program
  • raised awareness both on and off campus for UofH’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for example by redesigning the UofH spokesperson’s weekly newsletter around the SDGs, posting large displays across campus and inside 90% of classes, and launching a new, comprehensive guide to SDG activities (research, learning, public engagement, operations);
  • constructed SDG measurement and reporting process and participated in the Times Higher Education yearly University Impact Ranking. This past year, the university was ranked #240 among the 1500 universities around the globe, and ranked within the top 100 worldwide in SDG3, SDG4, SDG5, SDG8, SDG10, SDG14, and SDG16.

At the University of Haifa, we will continue to strive towards an impactful and inclusive academia to create a more socially and environmentally sustainable reality!

UofH New Cable Car System

A comparative analysis of research output in the area of Sustainable Development positions the University of Haifa as first among Israeli Universities, with over 7000 related publications in the past decade (2013-2022)!