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A strategic think tank for the UN and its agencies
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What We Do
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Meeting the challenges of sustainable development, today and tomorrow

The challenges of making sustainable development a reality have never been as acute. Although considerable resources have been invested to improve human wellbeing in sustainable ways, we are still looking for workable solutions to achieve this. These solutions must reconcile technological advances with environmental protection, human wellbeing with economic development, and sound policy-making with good governance.

At the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), we believe that such solutions exist. We are here to identify them, to develop them and to put them into practice.

What is UNU-IAS?

UNU-IAS is part of the United Nations University (UNU) system, comprised of a network of Research and Training Centres and Programmes (RTC/Ps) which are assisted by associated and cooperating institutions and scholars from around the globe.

Our mission is to “advance knowledge and promote learning for policy-making to meet the challenges of sustainable development.”

How We Work

We use advanced research methodologies and approaches to challenge conventional thinking and contribute creative solutions to key emerging issues of global concern. In particular, we focus on issues that are high on the United Nations agenda.

Our research is advanced in that it looks ahead into the future to identify strategic areas of research related to sustainable development, particularly for governments and decision makers in developing countries.

The Institute applies a strong policy-oriented research programme designed to promote strategic approaches to sustainable development. Research consists of advanced and multidisciplinary methodologies accompanied by postgraduate education and capacity development activities, particularly for developing countries.

UNU-IAS, a world of experts

UNU-IAS engages experts from many disciplines in the natural, social, and life sciences for the development of informed policy-making that meets sustainable development challenges.

The Institute's research programme is carried out by an academic community made up of faculty and administrative personnel, visiting professors, PhD and postdoctoral fellows, augmented by a global network of scholars and academic institutions.

Addressing the impacts of science and technology

UNU-IAS research revolves around sustainable development themes on advances in science and technology, and their impact on society; multilateralism and governance; urbanization, and reflections on human values and ethics. Our work is divided into five main areas:

  • Environmental Sustainability and Governance
  • Education, Sustainability and Ecosystem Assessment
  • Science and Technology for Sustainable Societies
  • Sustainable Urban Futures
  • Traditional Knowledge Initiative

UNU-IAS also hosts two International Operating Units:

     Download the UNU-IAS Brochure


The brochure is available in PDF format only. Please visit the Adobe web site to download the software needed for viewing PDF files.

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