Portfolio plan Global Development and International Relations

The Sustainable Development Goals and other priorities

The thematic priorities of this Portfolio are aligned with and well suited to secure research that will contribute to achieving the SDGs.


It can be challenging to ensure a holistic approach that prudently negotiates the complexity of the goals and specific multiple targets and indicators.

The Global Sustainable Development Report (2019) identifies six entry points that offer the most promise for achieving the desired transformations at the necessary scale and speed, taking into account the urgency, the forward-looking expectations about a growing global population seeking higher levels of well-being, and the consideration of 'Leaving no one behind'. These are entry points into the underlying systems, and not to any specific SDG. Attending to the interlinkages that are intrinsic to these entry points, and cut across them, is crucial to achieve progress across several elements of the 2030-Agenda.

Each of the levers can contribute individually to systemic change, however, the UN-Report argues that it is only through their context-dependent combinations that it will be possible to bring about the transformations necessary for balancing across the dimensions of sustainable development. Innovative and powerful partnerships can result from collaborations between traditional stakeholders and emerging actors. The success of the 2030-Agenda thus depends on the cooperation of governments, institutions, agencies, the private sector and civil society across various sectors, locations, borders and levels.

From the Global sustainable development report 2019: The future is now. Science for achieving sustainable development.


The Research Council expects all researchers to abide by national, European and international standards of research integrity. Researchers must ensure that their research is conducted according to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations and standards. This includes seeking ethical approval for research where appropriate. Researchers are also expected to treat colleagues with integrity, honesty and collegiality, including the fair provision of references and peer review.

Within health and medicine, all research and innovation must conform to basic ethical principles and comply with the Health Research Act. Research in the medical and health sciences is closely regulated in national and international laws, regulations and conventions. Research projects designed to produce new knowledge about health and disease and that involve human subjects must be assessed and approved by the Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REC). The projects must also be ethically approved in the countries where they are implemented, and sometimes in the countries of project partners. These approvals must be obtained to ensure that scientific and medical progress is not achieved at the expense of the rights and integrity of the individual, and to regulate the obligations of researchers.

Research partnerships can create a variety of opportunities and benefits for all parties but also bring with them their own unique set of considerations and challenges. Building and maintaining fair and equitable partnerships can help ensure that research outcomes are mutually beneficial and more likely to achieve the desired development impact.

Gender balance and gender perspectives

The Portfolio follows the Research Council's policy for ‘Gender balance and gender perspectives in research and innovation'. The policy states that the Research Council will work more systematically to promote gender balance within research projects, by striving to achieve the goal to increase the proportion of female project managers and women in senior academic positions.

A gender perspective in research implies that biological and social gender is reflected in research content. A growing number of studies show that diversity, including gender balance and gender perspectives, helps to enhance the scientific quality and social relevance of research. Gender perspectives will be integrated in all research activity funded by the Research Council. Gender perspectives in research are especially relevant to the Portfolio for Global Development and International Relations.

Messages at time of print 12 August 2022, 11:59 CEST

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