Children in school
Decent work for all starts with education. One of our thematic groups has focus on no child labour.
Photo: Ismail Salad Osman Hajji dirir, Unsplash

The SDG 8 Initiative

The University of Gothenburg leads a global network of universities working together to develop expertise and share knowledge addressing the Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) of the Agenda 2030. The aim is to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. The SDG 8 Initiative is part of a larger cluster where around 70 universities globally are coming together to work with all of the 17 SDGs.


In 2019, the International Association of Universities (IAU) launched an initiative referred to as the IAU Global Cluster on HESD (Higher Education for Sustainable Development), with the purpose of accelerating and increasing collaboration regarding higher education institutions’ work for sustainable development. The Cluster is composed of 17 "subclusters", each championing and working on one specific sustainable development goal (SDG) of Agenda 2030. Each subcluster has its lead Institution as well additional Institutions invited on board as ‘Satellites’, resulting in a global network of universities working together to share knowledge, develop expertise, and joint projects to address the global goals set in Agenda 2030. Around 70 universities (leads and subclusters) are engaged in the Cluster. The Cluster is supported, monitored, and steered by the IAU.

The University of Gothenburg leads the subcluster on SDG 8, referred to as the SDG 8 Initiative. The work is coordinated by a small secretariat at the University of Gothenburg. Two working groups are formed – one consisting of committed researchers at different faculties at the University of Gothenburg, and one consisting of the focal points at the nine satellite universities of the subcluster. The ’Satellites’ of the SDG 8 Initiative are located in the Global South. The nine satellite universities are located in Africa, South America as well as in Asia.

Read more about the IAU Global Cluster on HESD at the IAU website.

SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

SDG 8 is referred to as a ”super goal” which spans over a wide range of issues related to economic growth, resource efficiency, innovation, work conditions and labour rights, job creation, youth employment, and tourism. SDG 8 comprises 12 targets in a complex mixture with 17 indicators to measure development. All of these are connected to each other as well as to other SDGs. In other words, to achieve SDG 8, a wide set of challenges need to be addressed.

To the UN official SDG 8 webpage

Strategic focus

The strategic goal of the SDG 8 Initiative is to engage a global community of researchers and practitioners to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. This is done by applied action research and policy interaction that focus on solutions to growth and work related challenges through collaboration among researchers and practitioners in local and global contexts.

The ambition is to mobilize academic work and policy interaction in support of sustainable economic growth with good conditions for employees. In particular, the focal areas will be related to the SDG 8 targets, i.e. economic growth, resource efficiency, innovation, work environment and labour markets, and sustainable tourism.

The twelve targets of SDG 8

The aim of this project is to develop a global research network that contributes to knowledge and solutions for sustainable economic development, work-related challenges, as well as sustainable tourism. Through challenge-driven research and policy interaction, collaboration, and education, we want to act so that knowledge is used and thereby come closer to realizing SDG 8.

The starting point is that interdisciplinary approaches are a prerequisite for realizing the 2030 Agenda. A critical approach, in an academic spirit, to the 2030 Agenda, the global goals in general and SDG 8 specifically, as well as problematization around sub-goals, concepts, and formulations must also permeate the SDG 8 initiative.


What we do 

We mobilize academic work and policy interaction in support of sustainable economic growth and decent work for all. We organize our work in thematic groups, revolving around each of the targets under SDG 8. Currently, we are compiling a book, aiming to provide a comprehensive overview of how research can support the attainment of the SDG 8 targets.

Collaborate with us

Contact us if you are interested in collaborating. 

Beata Berg Malmborg
Project Coordinator of the SDG 8 Initiative, Environment for Development

Gunnar Köhlin
Director, Environment for Development (EfD)

Lotta Dellve
Professor in work science, Department of Sociology and Work Science, Faculty of Social Sciences

Eddi Omrcen
Sustainability strategist, University of Gothenburg

Max Petzold
Head of Department, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Institute of Medicine Sahlgrenska Academy